The use of remotely controlled mobile robots to offer a therapeutic experience to autistic children is wonderful idea. Further research in this area and more sophisticated AI routines could give rise to even better treatment programs for such children.
I agree, Greg - a good reminder of how power requirements often drive design strategies. It will be very interesting to watch the progress of mobile robots and the types of capabilities that will be integrated into their design as the constraints of current technology are pushed further and further out.
I think this is a wonderful application – Doornik's statement makes perfect sense to me: "In the robot's presence, a magical change occurs where intellect, physical appearance, abilities, or handicaps suddenly become unimportant. Such a therapeutic experience is made possible by the non-human attributes of the robot. His interlocutors are never placed in a situation where the children feel obliged to 'compare' themselves to the robot or be concerned with how the robot may perceive them."
We use our horses in therapeutic horse ministry for the very same reasons – with often miraculous results. I applaud any type of technology that can work to enhance the lives of these children!
There have been a few applications with a fairly standard robot on a platform able to move along a single linear axis of any length. That was for a robot that could follow the production line. Sort of a compromise between fixed and totally free. Power was from a hanging cable, 3-phase & about 8 amps. Way cheaper and simpler than a battery supply, and it was simple to program as one more axis. "Free range" robots are a whole different story, with a totally different set of applications. So the other important thing is that "free" robots probably would need to be made for those different applications, since the standard six-axis robot is simply not suitable for a large portion of what the fixed anchor robots would be doing.
Good point about how going mobile changes the design strategies for drives, power supplies, motors, etc. due to the use of low voltage DC components. This should produce advances in these areas as more low power mobile robots are designed.
Earlier this year paralyzed IndyCar drive Sam Schmidt did the seemingly impossible -- opening the qualifying rounds at Indy by driving a modified Corvette C7 Stingray around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Wearables are changing the way we see ourselves. With onboard sensors that have access to our bodies, we are starting to know our physical selves like never before, quantifying our activity, our heart rate, breathing, and even our muscle effort.
Last week, the bill for reforming chemical regulation, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, passed the House. If it or a similar bill becomes law, the effects on cost and availability of adhesives and plastics incorporating these substances are not yet clear.
This year, Design News is getting a head start on the Fourth of July celebration. In honor of our country and its legacy of engineering innovation -- in all of its forms -- we are taking you on an alphabetical tour through all 50 states to showcase interesting engineering breakthroughs and historically significant events.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.