Waltham, MA —Hod Lipson, a mechanical engineer, and Jordan Pollack, a computer scientist, want to make robots so affordable that an average person could own 100 of them. The two Brandeis University researchers believe that they are a step closer to their goal because they developed an experimental robot that designed and constructed another robot.
"If we eliminate the human engineers, we can do for disposable robots what Bill Gates did for software releases," says Pollack. He and Lipson believe that the solution to the high cost of robotics is removing the human costs.
The researchers' work included developing software that simulated and designed truss structures. "Trusses are well understood engineering structures," says Lipson. "We replace fixed points with ball joints and added variable length motors driven by artificial neurons to act as the muscles and brains."
The motor used in the application is a 20 mm Z-Series bi-polar motor from Hayden Switch & Instrument, Inc. (Waterbury, CT). It uses rare earth neodymium magnets for making the motor more efficient without putting more voltage into it.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
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.