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.