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Bacteria Are Models Of Efficiency

news>october 08 (27)

Dean Kamen's 'Luke Arm' Prosthesis Readies for Clinical Trials



Submitted by on Wednesday Oct 29, 2008 10:12 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

Dean Kamen's “Luke arm”—a prosthesis named for the remarkably lifelike prosthetic worn by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars—came to the end of its two-year funding last month. Its fate now rests in the hands of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which funded the project. If DARPA gives the project the green light—and some greenbacks—the state-of-the-art bionic arm will go into clinical trials. If all goes well, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives its approval, returning veterans could be wearing the new artificial limb by next year.


A picture is worth a thousand passwords



Submitted by on Monday Oct 27, 2008 01:46 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(2)

Data security is a hard enough problem to solve on even a heavily regulated corporate network, but it becomes even more difficult when users are out in the wild with PDAs, cell phones and other portable communications devices. A recent PhD project at the University of Twente in the Netherlands has described a user-friendly solution to cryptography for ad-hoc network transfers, such as sending files over infrared or Bluetooth between two PDAs, and it's as easy as taking a picture.


Single Incision Robotic Kidney Removal



Submitted by on Thursday Oct 23, 2008 05:10 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(2)

For the first time in Michigan, a diseased kidney has been surgically removed at Henry Ford Hospital using highly sophisticated 3D robotics through a single incision.

“We made several improvements in the technique that could allow us to perform this type of procedure routinely,” says Craig Rogers, M.D., Henry Ford’s director of robotic renal surgery. He performed the delicate operation last week using the da Vinci Surgical System, which has already been used in thousands of successful surgeries for complete and partial removal of diseased prostates.


The Cutting Edge of Haptic Research



Submitted by on Thursday Oct 23, 2008 04:36 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

Using tools such as graphical system design, reserachers are developing new, safer ways of interacting with machines that also permit more efficient operation. Have you ever played a car racing video game that shakes when you go off-road? If so, you have interacted with a haptic interface. The word haptic comes from the Greek haptikos, which means to touch, grasp, or perceive.

With haptic robotics, a user can feel a remote or virtual environment. A haptic interface provides sensory feedback — typically in the form of pressure or physical resistance — so users feel as if they are physically interacting with something, even though they are not. For example, a haptic interface may be used to provide a feeling of resistance in the rudder controls of a flight simulator. The feedback would help the pilot know when to apply more or less force to the instruments.


Robot Mimics a Canine Helper



Submitted by on Thursday Oct 23, 2008 07:57 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

Service dogs that open doors, switch on lights, and perform other useful tasks offer a much needed lifeline to people with disabilities. Now researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are developing robots that mimic the relationship between humans and their canine helpers.

Robotics researchers have long sought to create robots that can help out around the home. But while robots are good at carrying out preprogrammed tasks and following a clear trajectory, navigating a complex home environment and interacting with real people remains a formidable challenge.


Georgia Tech Wins the 4th Mission of the International Aerial Robotics Competition



Submitted by on Thursday Oct 23, 2008 12:08 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

At the 18th annual International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC), Georgia Tech came away as the winner, with prize money of $27,000. The event, which was held on July 28th - Aug. 1st, 2008, marked the conclusion of the 4th Mission of the IARC, with a new mission being released for the 2009 competition. The competition, which as been existance since 1991 (the creator of the competition, Robert Michelson, coined the term ‘Aerial Robotics’), and has long been known as a grueling, and nearly impossible, robotics competition.


Robots to teach math, science to children



Submitted by on Wednesday Oct 22, 2008 11:16 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

Math and science will look more like fun and games at some Pittsburgh area schools where those subjects will soon be taught using robots.

A partnership between Carnegie Mellon University and LEGO Education has put robots in about a dozen grade schools in Pittsburgh and 50 schools throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. "The goal here is using the motivational effects of robots to excite more children to pursue careers in science and technology," said Robin Shoop, director of the Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon.


Medical robot mimics obscure conditions



Submitted by on Wednesday Oct 22, 2008 10:51 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

A “sick” robot developed by researchers at Gifu University’s Graduate School of Medicine is providing hands-on educational assistance to future medical practitioners. When students touch its head and abdomen in places it feels pain, the robot says, “That hurts.”

With 24 sensors embedded in its head and body under a layer of soft, warm (near body temperature) silicone skin, the robot can detect the hand pressure applied by the examiner. And depending on which of the 8 pre-programmed medical conditions — which range from acute gastroenteritis to appendicitis — it is suffering from, the robot provides a vocal response to the examiner’s questions and manual pressure.


Micro Robots, From Cell Manipulation To Micro Assembly



Submitted by on Wednesday Oct 22, 2008 10:28 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

From cell manipulation to micro assembly, micro robots devised by an international team of researchers offer a glimpse of the future.

The MICRON project team, led by the Institute for Process Control and Robotics (IPR), Karlsruhe, Germany, brought together eight international partners. Funded under the European Commission's FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) initiative of the IST programme, MICRON set out to build a total of five to ten micro robots, just cubic centimetres in size.


VEXplorer Robot Brings Robotics to the Younger Set



Submitted by on Wednesday Oct 22, 2008 08:28 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

Marie Planchard, director of worldwide education markets for SolidWorks and a former teacher, discussed the new education program offered by SolidWorks in a recent podcast. In the current program any time a customer purchases a VEXplorer Robot, a free copy of SolidWorks will be included with the educational toy. The VEXplorer itself was also designed with SolidWorks.

The VEXplorer Robot is a fairly complex model kit featuring over 300 parts. Planchard said assembling the robot should take an early teenager about an hour and a half to assemble. The process requires technical feats as complex as wiring a camera component and connecting a gripping tool to the main body of the robot. Planchard emphasized that the toy was designed to help students understand how robots really work.


DARPA Contract Description Hints at Advanced Video Spying



Submitted by on Tuesday Oct 21, 2008 11:25 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(9)

Real-time streaming video of Iraqi and Afghan battle areas taken from thousands of feet in the air can follow actions of people on the ground as they dig, shake hands, exchange objects and kiss each other goodbye.

The video is sent from unmanned and manned aircraft to intelligence analysts at ground stations in the United States and abroad. They watch video in real time of people getting in and out of cars, loading trunks, dropping things or picking them up. They can even see vehicles accelerate, slow down, move together or make U-turns.


A Toast to the Bionic Man



Submitted by on Tuesday Oct 21, 2008 01:52 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

The plotline is classic Marvel Comics fare: An electrician grabs a high-tension wire carrying 7,000 volts of electricity, loses both arms at the shoulder, undergoes an experimental surgery, and emerges bionic. Sci-fi as it sounds, this is the story of Jesse Sullivan, 58, a real-life retired linesman from Dayton, Tennessee.

In July, Sullivan demonstrated the world's most advanced robotic arm, using his thoughts alone to maneuver it. Before an audience at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago he picked up a water bottle, took a swig, and set it back down. "Jesse was awesome," says Todd Kuiken, director of RIC's amputee program, who pioneered the radical nerve-transfer surgery that allows Sullivan to communicate with the limb. Kuiken also engineered the new limb's design.


Clever artificial hand developed



Submitted by on Tuesday Oct 21, 2008 01:46 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

Scientists have developed an ultra-light limb that they claim can mimic the movement in a real hand better than any currently available. At present, prosthetic hands either do not move at all or have a simple single-motor grip. But the University of Southampton team has designed a prototype that uses six sets of motors and gears so each of the five fingers can move independently.


Jesse Sullivan, the world's first Bionic Man



Submitted by on Tuesday Oct 21, 2008 01:42 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

JESSE Sullivan has two prosthetic arms, but he can climb a ladder at his house and roll on a fresh coat of paint.

He's also good with a weed cutter, bending his elbow and rotating his forearm to guide the machine. He's even mastered a more sensitive maneuver – hugging his grandchildren. The motions are coordinated and smooth because his left arm is a bionic device controlled by his brain.


'Bionic' limb breakthrough made



Submitted by on Tuesday Oct 21, 2008 01:36 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

UK scientists have developed technology that enables artificial limbs to be directly attached to a human skeleton. The breakthrough, developed by researchers at University College London, allows the prosthesis to breach the skin without risk of infection.

The team says early clinical trials have been "very promising". It hopes the work - which is to be published in the Journal of Anatomy - may help survivors of the 7 July bombings, as well as other amputees.


Helicopters Teach Themselves To Perform Aerial Maneuvers



Submitted by on Monday Oct 20, 2008 10:03 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

While pursuing the goal of having autonomous helicopters perform extreme aerial aerobatics under computer control, Stanford University scientists discovered that writing command and control code from scratch was unsuitable for all but the most basic aerial routines. Their solution… have the helicopters ‘learn’ directly from experts.


Robot snakes slither forward



Submitted by on Monday Oct 20, 2008 09:46 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

There's no doubt that many scientists are looking to nature for mechanical inspiration. This past spring we have seen robotic bugs, robo-fish, and perhaps even the promise of a robotic dolphin.

For its design of a robot for use inside pipes, the SINTEF ICT part of the SINTEF Group, a Norway-based technology research company, was inspired by snakes.


Monkeys Consciously Control A Robot Arm Using Only Brain Signals



Submitted by on Sunday Oct 19, 2008 10:26 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(4)

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have taught rhesus monkeys to consciously control the movement of a robot arm in real time, using only signals from their brains and visual feedback on a video screen. The scientists said that the animals appeared to operate the robot arm as if it were their own limb.


Revolutionary New Robot Helps People Learn to Walk Again After Stroke or Disability



Submitted by on Sunday Oct 19, 2008 10:23 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill., Sept 24, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Patients learning to walk again after a stroke and neurological injuries are benefiting from a revolutionary new device in the KineAssist(TM) Robot, which represents a giant leap forward in effectiveness for people learning to walk again after a stroke or neurological injuries.


Robot Has Human-like Hand Controlled By 'Brain' Modeled After Human Cerebellum



Submitted by on Sunday Oct 19, 2008 07:00 PM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

A European research project has brought the dream of human-like robots closer to reality by creating a human-like arm and hand controlled by an electronic ‘brain’ modeled on the human cerebellum. “Hollywood did a bad job for us,” says Patrick van der Smagt, the coordinator of SENSOPAC, an EU-funded project whose goal is to create a robotic arm, hand and brain with human-like physical and cognitive capabilities. While the movies have convinced many people that humanoid robots, such as C-3PO or WALL-E are realistic, van der Smagt knows all too well how difficult it is to build robots with even basic human abilities.


Rat-brain controlled robot aids memory research



Submitted by on Saturday Oct 18, 2008 11:53 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(1)

A robot using biological brain matter from rodents to control its movements is helping researchers learn more about human neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, according to University of Reading researchers in the U.K.

The robot represents a multidisciplinary effort within the University of Reading, whose team includes Kevin Warwick, head of Cybernetics in the School of Systems Engineering, and Ben Whalley, pharmacist and professor in the School of Pharmacy.


Space-rugged robot put to volcano test



Submitted by on Saturday Oct 18, 2008 11:53 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

Scarab, a robot developed by Carnegie Mellon University with support from NASA, is about to be tested at Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano to prove its fitness for the extreme conditions of space.

The robot was developed by the Lunar Rover Initiative, a group of scientists from the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute. The test mission, intended to mimic a lunar rover mission, will have Scarab climb, drill, extract, and analyze samples, CMU announced Tuesday.


Snake-arm robot works in tight quarters



Submitted by on Saturday Oct 18, 2008 11:52 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

A U.K. company has developed what it calls the smallest snake-arm robot ever, one that is flexible and compliant, like an endoscope, but fully controllable and, like a robot, can be precisely positioned.

The unit will be tested by the U.S. Department of Defense in conducting inspections and work inside confined or cluttered spaces.


Researchers create wirelessly-powered robot swarm



Submitted by on Saturday Oct 18, 2008 11:52 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

Wireless power has come a long way from Nikola Tesla's early ruminations on the matter, and it looks like some researchers from Duke and Georgia Tech are now taking the idea to its logical, robot-powering conclusion. While their setup (thankfully) isn't yet able to power robots beyond the confines of the Q L-C resonator-equipped table, it does appear to work remarkably well in that limited proof-of-concept, with five bots each equipped with a non-resonant pickup coil able to follow a path around the table, or simply sit still to recharge their batteries.


MIT wheelchair steers clear with Wi-Fi



Submitted by on Saturday Oct 18, 2008 11:51 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

A group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has invented a wheelchair with all the self-navigating abilities of a GPS device. Only instead of being inhibited by the need for a satellite signal like a GPS device, MIT said Friday, the location-aware wheelchair uses Wi-Fi and can work indoors.


IMPASS Wheel-Leg Hybrid Robot



Submitted by on Saturday Oct 18, 2008 11:51 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(0)

IMPASS is a wheel-leg hybrid robot that can walk in unstructured environments by independently extending, or retracting, three actuated spokes on each wheel. IMPASS stands for Intelligent Mobility Platform with Actuated Spoke System. The robot has been under development by the Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory at Virginia Tech, a facility for graduate and undergraduate robotics research and education with an emphasis on studying novel mobile robot locomotion strategies.


Military father gets robotics contract



Submitted by on Saturday Oct 18, 2008 11:49 AM | ( Permalink) | Comments(7)

A robotics company founded by a father who lost his son to the Iraq war has garnered an $800,000 contract with the U.S. military.

Black-I Robotics makes an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) called the LandShark that can be used as a platform to disable bombs, provide reconnaissance, and carry wounded soldiers from the battlefield. The LandShark robot can also be used at home in the U.S. as an aid to first responders for search-and-rescue, firefighting, Hazmat, and SWAT efforts, and even in agriculture, according to a company statement.


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