Wednesday, 1 June 2016

This Tiny Robobee Could one day Save Your Life


Tiny Robo-Bee Utilised for Exploration Mission

Robobee

Tiny robot has been created by a team at Harvard University that can land on ceilings, settle on dangerous objects as well as assist out in search and rescue mission. The robot has been inspired by the biology of the bee and the hive behaviour of the insect. The team had mentioned on the website of the project that they `aim to push advances in miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources, spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic smart sensors and refine coordination algorithms to manage independent machines’.

The Robobee tends to have various uses, pollinating a field of crops, for instance or in search and rescue missions. Due to its tiny size and the potential to land as well as settle on ceilings and walls, it can be possibly be utilised for exploration missions at the time of natural calamities and as `hazardous environment exploration`, military surveillance or climate mapping. Likewise robots had been developed in a different place, particularly the robot cockroach developed at the University of California at Berkeley though the Harvard team had stated that by modelling a robot’s `physical and behavioural strength’on insects, they could carry out difficult tasks much faster, reliably and efficiently.

Robot Settle on Walls/Ceilings Utilising `Electrostatic Adhesion’


Bee colonies also seem to be intelligent which the team expect to duplicate, with a complex nervous system which can skilfully sense and familiarize to changing environments. Moritz Graule, who worked on the system stated that the robot tends to settle on ceilings and walls utilising `electrostatic adhesion’ a similar type of energy which tends to make a `static sock stick to a pants leg or a balloon to the wall.

With regards to the balloon, though the charges disperse over a period of time, where the balloon ultimately tends to fall down and that in the system, a small amount of energy is continuously provided to maintain the attraction’. The structure seems to be extremely light, the same weight as a real bee, around 100mg. Now the team would be working on enhancing their model by altering the mechanical design in order that the robot can settle on any surface besides just ceilings.

Micro Aerial Vehicles


Graule has mentioned that `there are more challenges in making a robust, robotic landing system though this experimental result demonstrates a very versatile solution to the problem of keeping flying micro-robots, operating longer without quickly draining power. The small thin robot, flapping its two tiny wings, sways its way to the underside of a leaf, crashes into the surface and latches on, settling motionless above the ground. Seconds later, it tends to flap its wings once more and wiggles off on its way.

Such robots, known as micro aerial vehicles can be invaluable in exploration of disaster zones or in the forming of unprepared communication networks. However there is a snag wherein flying needs energy and so the time these robots can spend in the air seems to be limited by the size of the battery pack they tend to carry. The scientist state that the little flying vehicle known as RoboBee has been designed to settle on a mass of various surfaces, thereby opening new prospects for the utilisation of drones in offering a bird’s eye vision of the world.


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