There was once a time when robots were limited to science-fiction movies and novels. The man-made beings that carried out tasks, which humans could not was something that people always dreamed to see in their lifetimes. With today’s developments in technology and the field of robotics, we have a wide variety of droids, drones and robots, all available for our service. They may not be the equivalent of RoboCop or the Terminator (yet), but these robots still have the potential to help mankind. Here is a look at 10 examples of where robotics has brought us today:
NASA’s ‘superhero’ robot is 6 feet 2 inches tall and was originally designed for use on the International Space Station. Valkyrie is able to walk by itself, pick up objects and use tools. NASA hopes that one day, it can be used to help humans in danger zones and disaster-stricken areas. The robot is basically a she-bot since it was built with female characteristics. The droid has several built-in cameras, recording and sonar equipment.
This robot, made by a Japanese company (which was later bought by Google), won the recent DARPA robotics competition. The 4 feet 11 inches tall robot uses a high-voltage liquid-cooled motor technology and a capacitor to power itself instead of a battery. This gives it greater movement and mobility since batteries limit how fast the robot can actually perform tasks. Schaft blew the competition away and will be competing in the final round of the 2014 Robo-Olympics.
3. Ian the Invincible
Ian is based on the Atlas robot created by Google-owned, Boston Dynamics. The 6 feet 2 inches tall robot has 28 hydraulically actuated joints and stereo vision which make it the most advanced robot ever created. What makes Ian unique is the software which allows him to drive a car. Ian came second at the Robo-Olympics, but the 330 pound giant still has quite a way to go.
CHIMP (Carnegie Mellon University Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform) moves like a tank by using tracks to move over rough terrain. The robot is still capable of standing up when necessary and can even use its claws for climbing. The robot is 5 feet 2 inches tall and can travel on two tracks only when the other limbs are needed for performing tasks. The arms of the robot have a span of 10 feet which give it its ape-like configuration and hence, its name.
Still under development at Florida International University, Telebot will give injured and disabled police officers an opportunity to go back on patrol. The robot is 180 cm tall, travels on wheels and is remote controlled. Three HD cameras give the Telebot a 360 degree view and along with multiple sensors, these allow cops to monitor the streets or any dangerous situation from a safe distance. The emotive display on the robot’s face will allow to express simple emotions as well.
This small robot can be carried in a backpack and thrown into battle like a hand grenade. This tough little robot is water and dust resistant and is meant to be used by soldiers to monitor areas of the battlefield safely without any risk of being attacked by the enemy. The robot weighs 1.2 pounds and can be thrown 120 feet. Meant for tactical use, the Throwbot XT is equipped with HD camera and infrared sensors which allow it to see in the dark.
7. Alpha Dog
This robot can stand upright, walk continuously for 20 miles and is able to carry 400 pounds. The robot is also able to pick itself up if it falls over. The robot is designed to follow soldiers and carry their weapons through rough terrain and automatically go wherever they go, without having to stop. The Alpha Dog is currently being tested by the Marines.
This drone is unconventional because of its sheer size. The Triton has a wingspan equivalent to that of a Boeing 757 and has been successfully tested by the US Army. The megadrone will be able to fly at high altitudes while providing surveillance and intelligence data in real time. Triton has a wide variety of sensors which give it 360 degree vision and the ability to spot anything and everything within 2,300 miles. The drone is expected to be operational by 2017.
9. Small Drones By Parrot
While the Triton is a giant among drones, French company, Parrot, makes miniature drones for everyday use at home. The MiniDrone and Jumping Sumo are the two models made by the company and both have the ability to give video feedback to your smartphone or tablet. The app-controlled robots are great for use at home for both security and recreational purposes. The robots are said to be available at ‘affordable’ prices in markets within a few months.
10. Smart Tank
The Guardium, designed by two Israeli firms, is a smart tank that is capable of patrolling areas by itself. Onboard weapons can be deployed by operators once the enemy has been found and the vehicle has a wide array of sensors to help it perform drone duties on the ground. The all-terrain vehicle is able to perform in even the toughest areas and can be used in groups to monitor larger areas and locate a hiding enemy.