Robotics

How to fall gracefully, if you’re a robot

Miss Georgia tripped in the final round of the 2015 Miss America Pageant. Jennifer Lawrence stumbled on her way to accept an Oscar. Even rock stars, world leaders and presidential candidates have fallen in front of the crowd or completely off stage.

And robots can too.

Researchers at Georgia Tech have identified a way to teach robots how to fall with grace and without serious damage. The work is important as costly robots become more common in manufacturing alongside humans. The skill becomes especially important, too, as robots are sought for health care or domestic tasks — working near the elderly, injured, children or pets. Continue reading

Advertisements

Artificial foam heart created

Cornell University researchers have developed a new lightweight and stretchable material with the consistency of memory foam that has potential for use in prosthetic body parts, artificial organs and soft robotics. The foam is unique because it can be formed and has connected pores that allow fluids to be pumped through it.

The polymer foam starts as a liquid that can be poured into a mold to create shapes, and because of the pathways for fluids, when air or liquid is pumped through it, the material moves and can change its length by 300 percent. Continue reading