When Is a Robot Not Mechanical? When It's an Android
Made of silicone and rat heart cells, the Medusoid engineered jellyfish's muscles contract like a real jellyfish when placed in liquid and shocked. (Source: California Institute of Technology/Harvard University)
Since the article mentioned that that the device (maybe not the right word there) using living tissue, I was wondering what they are doing to keep it alive? Is it simply extracting the nutrients it needs out of the solution it is operating in? Taking that thought one step further, what is the life-span of something like this and how are the non-living parts recycled with new heart muscle?
By the way, I was thinking the same thing that naperlou said. From the title, I was wondering about a robotic cell phone.
Rob, as I mentioned, several trends are coming together and interacting to boost robotics development, including open source software and cheaper and better electronics (such as cameras and MEMS gyros and other sensors). No doubt motion control advances figure in there, too. Did you have some specific one sin mind? In addition, the Medusoid is an example of the emergence of biorobotics we're starting to see more of.
What made me curious, Ann, was the growing number of robotic developments that don't seem to be specifically tied to solving problems. Seems like a lot of the developments are raw research -- which I think if great. I would guess that part of it is that working on robots is fun.
Thanks for explaining, Rob. From what I've seen, most of the new, exploding research is aimed at solving very specific problems, and much of it is being funded by the military. A considerably smaller amount, such as Medusoid, is aimed at fundamental, or "raw", research, but a lot of that looks applicable to some the purpose-driven work.
Interesting that the military has such a large role in robotics developments, Ann. I would imagine it's like an iceberg -- what the militrary reveals is probably a small portion of the overall work in this area. A good portion of it is probably secret.
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Two small, wheeled robots can "see" through a concrete wall using nothing but WiFi wireless communication. They can detect and measure everything on the other side: people and objects, their positions and geometry, whether they're moving, and what materials they're made of.
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