Posted tagged ‘robot’

Buzzard Yacks in Barf Bag!

September 22, 2011

Yes Dan H. was right. The Buzzard did make good use of the barf bag! “It’s tough stuff this air travel,” said the Buzzard on his way to the nations capital.

I couldn’t believe how nervous the Buzzard on take off!

Cook a No-Show? No Worries, Automation Saves the Day

May 27, 2009

You’re the manager of the Waffle House out on the Interstate. Your short-order chef landed in the pokey after a hard night of clubbing and can’t make it in to work. Never fear, Motoman is near.

Now THAT’S What I’m Talking About

August 21, 2008

Want one. Need one. A students’ automation project, truly innovative and certainly Cool Gadget-worthy.

New robotic arm promises to mind Newton’s third law

August 8, 2008

On Earth you may barely notice Newton’s third law, which famously describes how every force generates an equal and opposite reaction. But in space, with little gravity or friction to resist reaction forces, giving anything a nudge is likely to propel you backwards.

The same problem afflicts robotic arms. Simply moving such an arm produces reaction forces that can shift a spacecraft from its correct orientation.

A new approach that uses gyroscopes to move mechanical joints offers a new way around the problem that uses less energy and can move faster than existing space arms designed to avoid the problem.

Researchers at the Space System Design Studio at Cornell University, New York, have successfully tested a prototype on a microgravity “vomit comet” flight that simulates a space environment.

Gyro power

The established way to control reaction forces on a robotic arm is to use flywheels instead of motors. The speed of a constantly spinning flywheel is altered to generate a force that moves the arm.

But Cornell aerospace engineer Mason Peck and colleagues say they can accomplish the same thing, but expend much less power, using a device called a control-moment gyroscope (CMG).

Each consists of a gyroscope mounted on a powered gimbal that can tilt the spinning device. When this happens, changing the gyroscope’s axis of rotation, the gimbal receives a boost of torque, which twists the joint.

Such gyroscopes are used on some satellites, such as the International Space Station, to control their orientation in space. For a down-to-earth demonstration, see how this person on a moving platform can control themselves by holding a spinning bicycle wheel.


The Cornell arm has three joints. Each is controlled by a pair of gyroscopes that between them can exert forces in two directions to move the joint back and forth.

Each of the joints controls movement along only one 3D axis, so they do not work directly against one another.

“You can get an exchange of momentum and cause motion to occur without much power,” Peck told New Scientist, “it takes a little power, but nowhere near as much as if you were spinning up or down the disc,” Peck says.

Because the system will allow quick movement with little power, it could be especially useful for controlling a camera or telescope that had to quickly track a moving object. But it is equally useful as a basic robotic arm, Peck says.

“It’s a unique idea,” says Vaios Lappas, an aerospace engineer at the University of Surrey. “You can develop a very attractive, advantageous technology for space robotics using CMGs. They could have superior capability with the same or less physical resources, and pretty much the same complexity.”

Journal reference: IEEE Transactions on Robotics (DOI: 10.1109/TRO.2008.924264)

Robotic Donkey Climbs 35 Degrees, Carries 300 Pounds

July 25, 2008

The video of this beast almost is scary.  A fully automated donkey that can’t be kicked over, walks in snow, scales hills and packs 300+ pounds of payload.

The donkey’s control system keeps it balanced, steers, navigates, and regulates energetics as conditions vary. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a laser gyroscope, and a stereo vision system.

Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, battery charge and others.

Can you imagine 1,000 of these working in a military convoy?

Power Rangers, Digimon . . . Crabs

July 21, 2008

Bandai, the people who brought you Digimon and Mighty Power Rangers now has this. They even seek shade. These toys release in August and consumers are buzzing.

Just in time for Christmas: Robotic Inchworm with remote control. I can’t believe what people will spend money on wait.


iPhone Controls Robot

July 15, 2008

This is pretty cool.