KUKA's industrial robots are usually all business. They do things like weld cars and assemble electronics. They don't play tennis or engage in sword play. At least, they didn't until recently. Aaron Rasmussen and his fellow engineers at USMechatronics have transformed a KUKA KR16 into a tennis-playing, sword-wielding robot that features a wireless control system based on a "WiiMote," the motion-sensing controller for Nintendo's Wii game console. "The idea was to take one industrial robot, add a laptop talking to a WiiMote, strap on a tennis racket, have it follow the swings that the user makes, and do it all in a few hours on a Saturday so we could get back to our busy schedules," Rasmussen writes on a web page describing the WiiBot robot's software development and hardware. After a bit of tennis, the WiiBot took up fencing. This video shows the robot in action. But don't think the WiiBot is all fun and games. KUKA plans to demonstrate this new wireless control concept at next week's ATX West Expo in Anaheim, CA. This concept cell was designed to show how robotic technology might trickle down from industrial robots to consumers, according to Kevin Kozuszek, KUKA's director of marketing. Read the full story here.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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