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Slideshow: Robot Salamanders, Snakes & Bugs; Creepy Defined

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Elizabeth M
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Useful form factors
Elizabeth M   2/4/2014 8:35:20 AM
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Well given my distate for creepy crawlies like snakes and bugs, some of these robots could give me nightmares, Ann. But I think what you show here is how useful the snake- or bug-like form factor is as a basis for robot designs, given the ability to scuttle and wriggle into places that are difficult for humans. If we look at the development of robots as aimed at not replacing humans in their capability but doing things humans can't do, these are interesting examples of using natural influences to create robots that can achieve this goal.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Useful form factors
Ann R. Thryft   2/4/2014 11:50:23 AM
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Elizabeth, that scarab is almost too creepy for me to look at, especially in the video: it's too much like spiders, which totally freak me out. But I like snakes and salamanders and am fascinated by bugs in general, as many of us are.

Daniyal_Ali
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Biobotic Insects
Daniyal_Ali   2/4/2014 11:31:31 PM
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Great Slideshow Ann. I loved the Bio-Cleaner II.
Along the same lines, "Biobotic Insects" is also an interesting topic. These insects can even go to places these robotic insects cannot reach, hence leading to collection of vital information.
Creating a wireless biological interface with the creepy crawlers can help us enhance our data collection and security. As these crawlers can infiltrate very small spaces and help us collect useful information during natural disasters like Earthquake.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Useful form factors
Cadman-LT   2/5/2014 3:37:31 AM
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Ann, great article as always. I agree ever since The Mummy scarabs creep me out. I hate spiders and snakes. Snakes really bother me. I like most reptiles and amphibians...just not snakes. It might be the fact that certain ones can kill me...not sure.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Useful form factors
Cadman-LT   2/5/2014 3:48:14 AM
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Elizabeth, great point. These new robots are designed to do what we can't do. They have been working on the snake ones for years to crawl in and look to check on survivors. It's a good thing. I still remember the one they used on.....was it 3 mile Island? They had to use a remote controlled robot for that. As creepy as they might get...so long as they are used for good things....I'm ok with it.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Useful form factors
Elizabeth M   2/5/2014 5:22:59 AM
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I share your intense dislike of spiders, as any of my friends who have witnessed me scream like a little girl when I come across a particularly big one can attest! The fact that they robots can provide such a visceral reaction is a credit to the designers at how well they have mimicked the real-life model for them. I can't say I share your fascination with snakes, but salamanders and especially Gecko lizards are OK in my book.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Useful form factors
Elizabeth M   2/5/2014 5:33:28 AM
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Thanks, Cadman-LT. This is sort of the argument I use when people start to panic about whether robots will "replace" humans. I think in some cases of course this can be true--that robots can do the jobs humans traditionally have done and therefore act as replacements. But in some ways what I think is more useful is when robots, like many of the ones in this slideshow, do things humans can't do and thus enhance our abilities rather than replace them.

Battar
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Self destruct
Battar   2/5/2014 9:59:17 AM
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If I were asked to design robots whose goal was to get themselves destroyed by human intervention the first time they showed up in a dim light, these robots are what they would look like.

They might be useful for drawing enemy fire and exposing snipers, though.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biobotic Insects
Ann R. Thryft   2/5/2014 11:31:42 AM
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Daniyal_Ali, thanks for that term. I knew wireless biological interfaces had been created for rats and mice, but not for bugs. Is this a WIP or has it already been achieved?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Useful form factors
Ann R. Thryft   2/5/2014 11:36:44 AM
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Elizabeth, I react to big spiders like you do. Don't ever go to the tropics! There are major scenes in some of my favorite movies I can't watch because of this. Interestingly, this common fear of bugs and especially spiders used to be better understood, I think. Once upon a time, only horror movies featured huge bugs. Now it's more commonplace to see pictures of same all over.

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