Robotic Arm to Help in Space
Swiss researchers at the EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) have developed a robot that can see objects thrown at it and reach out and grasp them. The robotic arm is 1.5 meters long. It has seven joints and a four-fingered hand. Its built-in cameras give it “vision,” and its computer produces a mathematical model of the object’s projected course. The robot is able to rapidly change position to grab hold of the object, such as a water bottle or ball. The team, headed by Ashwini Shukla, a researcher at the EPFL, have taught the robot how to reach in several directions and co-ordinate its arm and fingers. They hope that the robot will be of use retrieving debris in space.
The First DIY Cyborg
RoboRoach, from Backyard Brains is the first DIY cyborg kit. Designed for college students, the kit is designed to implant three adult cockroaches. Included in the setup is a printed circuit board with a built-in Bluetooth wireless transmitter/receiver, which allows you to communicate with it via your smartphone. Also included are LED indicator lights, resistors and capacitors, and a small cell battery, and three electrodes to complete the implantation. The three electrodes are intended to be implanted in each antenna and one for the ground (anywhere in the roach’s body). Once the electrodes are implanted in the roach’s antennae, a neural interface is created. As you send signals via the electrodes, you can control the roach’s movement.
‘Iron Man’ Suit Designed for Special Forces
Within just a few years, special operations forces within the United States may be using exoskeleton suits like the one seen in the Iron Man movie. Prototypes of the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) will be shown to commanders at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa this July. The suit is designed to monitor the wearer’s vital signs and battlefield information in real time. It will also give the wearer head-to-toe, bullet-proof protection. One of the biggest hurdles in the suit design so far is to make it light, comfortable and not too hot for the wearer.