Sunday, July 5, 2009
Robot Rescue 'Rat' Feels Its Way Through Rubble
From New Scientist:
A new robot with artificial whiskers could one day be used to locate survivors of natural disasters, or people trapped in burning buildings.
Developed by a team led by Tony Prescott from the University of Sheffield and Anthony Pipe from the University of Bristol, both in the UK, SCRATCHbot mimics the way a rat senses its environment.
Long plastic whiskers at the side of the robot's head move back and forth up to 5 times per second to detect nearby objects. If a whisker touches something, control software determines the location of the obstacle and orients the robot's head and body so that shorter bristles on its nose can make contact with it.
While many robots use touch sensors to supplement cameras, SCRATCHbot relies solely on its whiskers to feel its way around.
Read more ....