Every living being that moves on the earth’s surface happens due to millions of years of evolution. However, Robots have gone a long way and have passed the pioneer stage. They are now becoming ubiquitous, with applications in nearly every element of our lives and undoubtedly taking over the world.
Roboticists today are focused on creating robots with extended capabilities to walk like humans and perform complex tasks. Fixed robots or robotic arms have been utilized for a while now to improve industrial efficiency. However, the flexibility and movement of robots have been vigorously experimented with for achieving human-like behavior.
Why is Robot Locomotion a Necessity?
Every daily task involves movements. It is essential to create robots that are mobile and have a high locomotive power that can assist humans in complex and tedious tasks. There are several locomotive robots like legged robots, wheeled robots, and soft robots that commute underground.
Locomotive robots could be beneficial in various ways, mainly by performing activities that are potentially risky to humans, such as assisting in natural catastrophes. Some of the critical variables in determining a task-specific locomotive configuration for a mobile robot include working environment, stability, system complexity, and cost.
Utilizing multiple locomotion modes in diverse field situations can enhance the performance of mobile robots. Some researchers worldwide have adapted complex techniques to make the robots commute from one edge to another.
Here are five incredible techniques robots are using to commute:
A Robot that moves using alcohol
The Robeetle, an 88-milligram quadruped robot operated via liquid methanol, was created by a team of researchers at the University of Southern California. The Robeetle can walk approximately two hours without needing a battery, covering a distance of about 7,068 meters. So, the robot removes the dependency on electrical batteries.
The Robeetle is a crawling micro-bot that uses methanol for movement and can carry objects up to 2.6 times its weight. It traverses over complex surfaces and climbs inclined regions. Inspired by an actual beetle, this robot is unique as its artificial muscles resemble the real ones.
The Robeetle developed by Néstor O. Pérez-Arancibia has also booked itself as the “lightest crawling Robot” in the books of “Guinness World Record.” The Robeetle can be used in tasks like intricate surgeries, artificial pollination, aerial locomotion, and more innovations and technicalities.
Robot Modules that can move objects
RoomBots or modular robots are robotic modules that self-assemble and transform into different shapes like chairs, tables, and other furniture. These modules can attach with ease and detach with the least effort. The RoomBots move furniture in the direction of humans to use it freely whenever needed; it can also transport furniture on slopes. It is a bang-on assistive furniture robot.
The researchers concede that the whole idea sounds a little insane. They created the RoomBots from the Biorobotics Laboratory in Switzerland placed at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EFPL). They aimed to produce mechanisms that, over time, would alter their shape to meet the needs of the person who used them. A table could become a chair and the other way around.
Such assistive furniture technology can benefit elderly and differently-abled individuals if they fall, help them switch positions, and observe their health. Also, these robots can manipulate and transform objects according to their surroundings which can be highly effective in daily use.
A Robot that swims like an eel
AgnathaX is an intelligent swimming robot that resembles and depicts movements like an actual eel. The robot uses sensory feedback and Central Pattern Generators (CPG), a chain of neural circuits to generate rhythmic movements to swim in the water. Researchers and developers were able to reproduce these neural circuits using new electronic circuits and software.
AgnathaX was created together with Roboticists from France (Institut Mines-Télécom Atlantique in Nantes), Canada (Université de Sherbrooke), and Japan (Tohoku University) at EPFL’s BioRobotics Laboratory. AgnathaX is a robust robot as it authorizes the power of its skin sensors for swimming rather than relying on centralized programming. Therefore, it manages to regulate its movement at the time of swimming even without any central control.
AgnathaX can be applicable in today’s environment. It helps us by utilizing its problem-solving approach in combating engineering-related issues ultimately, like how stable underwater automobiles or submarines are during unsteady watercourses. AgnathaX comprises segmented sensors that help the oscillatory Robot swimming react to any disturbances of flow.
The Robot that gets back to flying after a crash
Super Drone Buggy, inspired by the functioning of ladybugs, is a drone that self-rights itself within a second. This super drone can flip 180 degrees backward and forward using its pair of forewings with the help of artificial elytra implanted by the developers, just like ladybugs.
The Super Drone Buggy was developed and created by scientists at Switzerland’s Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the public research university Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. Along with the self-righting technique, it also maintains aerodynamic efficiency for maximum output.
Drones find themselves falling on humanless areas, making it vitally important that they return to flight without external assistance. This kind of technology has a varied range of applications and can be outfitted in aerial, terrestrial, and marine robots that can change the process and working of drones today. It can be employed in various fields like agriculture, military, delivery, emergency rescues, and many more.
The Robot that moves inside your gut
PILLSID or Pill-refilled implanted System is a capsule robot used for complete intraperitoneal delivery functions inside your gut without any intrusion for supplying insulin. It works like a dock system, where the capsule robot first delivers the insulin with the help of a robotic dispenser inserted surgically into the small intestine walls connected to the stomach. Then, it resupplies insulin once the robot is low on it using the swallowable magnetic capsules that carry the insulin.
Researchers from Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy, have developed the PILLSID robot to ease the intraperitoneal method for treating type 1 diabetes patients who have to take insulin syringes regularly.
Researchers are confident that the device may be utilized in the future to treat patients with gastric, colorectal, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer, especially in chemotherapies. Implantable medical devices are being used more commercially during the last few days, while insulin robots are still preclinical.
Though Robots are introduced to all mundane factory tasks to make manufacturing quicker and cheaper, researchers and inventors aren’t thrilled yet, and the race for perfecting a robot with human movements will continue.