3) Medical robots. A different type of remote-controlled mobile robot is the medical variety. HeartLander Surgical Robot Inches Closer to Reality describes a miniature robot that creeps along the surface of a human heart to take measurements and perform simple surgical tasks. This robot solves two problems by gaining access to the heart without opening the patientís chest and operating on the heart while it is beating. Surgical robots are thought by many to be the wave of the future. This trend heralds miniature devices that will probably become more complex and capable of more functionality as the technologies on which they are based get more powerful and less expensive, following typical price/performance curves.
4) Tracking luggage.
This previous HeartLander prototype uses onboard motors measuring 8.5mm high, 15mm wide, and 46mm long.
In Smarter Baggage Handling
, we learn about a highly complex, interconnected, synchronized, and automated storage and retrieval system being used at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. This huge system conveys and tracks each and every bag at every point in its 21km journey. It integrates the baggage handling system with passenger check-in information and real-time flight information.
It operates six robot cells for automatically loading bags into containers and carts, as well as the redundant storage of the positions of more than 4,200 bags and Destination Coded Vehicles (DCVs). Robots pull bags from storage on demand. To prevent system overload, the robots release bags on the conveyor belt only as needed. Eventually, the airport expects to use robots to handle up to 60 percent of baggage in its south hall to improve working conditions for operators and increase productivity. The systemís mind-numbing complexity orchestrates embedded software in the robots, a scheduling program that handles gate changes, and logistics and communications software.