There are unsung heroes out there who have saved countless lives. Like a true superhero, their only response to those saved is a simple "I'm only doing my job."
They are the men and women of the Joint Robotics Repair Detachment (JRRD), and they keep the US military's robot armada up and running. These bots are almost exclusively tasked with handling IEDs, improvised explosive devices, and other traps and explosives.
The JRRD handles robots ranging from the single digit pound range to several tons. Repairs are not always for the IED-damaged robots. Normal wear-and-tear finds that the bots need replacement treads or wheels, cameras, motors, and faulty electronics. More extreme cases have the repair technicians replacing major portions of the bots, such as arms and other mutilated components.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.