A recent study into the biomechanics of the necks of ants - a common insect that can amazingly lift objects many times heavier than its own body - might unlock one of nature?s little mysteries and, quite possibly, open the door to advancements in robotic engineering.
By designing assembly-line machines so they can perform on command - not unlike robots that can follow verbal instructions - factories can meet the rapidly changing needs of consumers and industrial customers, while developing high-quality products at lower costs.
Constructions that use not only digital but also analog compact and imprecise circuits are more suitable for building artificial nervous systems, rather than arrangements with only digital or precise but power-demanding analog electronic circuits.
To date, each robot constructed needs to be programmed, or go through its own learning process from scratch. New robots are like newborn babies who need the humans creating them to teach them everything, or learn gradually themselves. However, this could all change. Thanks to ROBOEARTH, robots will soon be able to share knowledge with their peers almost instantly instead of 'living' in a bubble.
Many of us probably picture robots as roughly human-shaped or perhaps as little more than mobile computers. But one EU-funded project is taking inspiration from the smart, efficient strategies of plants in order to develop a new generation of robots and ICT technologies, such as sensing or distributed adaptive intelligence.
DARPA launched the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program with a radical goal: gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for an advanced electromechanical prosthetic upper limb with near-natural control that enhances independence and improves quality of life for amputees. Today, less than eight years after the effort was launched, that dream is a reality; the FDA approved the DEKA Arm System.
To date, no robotics scientist has been able to create ultra-flexible tactile skin. Either the sensor has been too big or the electronics not sufficiently flexible. Now, however, researchers believe they have found a way of incorporating electronics and sensors on bendable silicon-based surfaces that will be 50 micrometers thick.