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Friday, May 31, 2013

Some jobs even the toughest of people can’t do, while some others are just unpleasant. Increasingly, this is where robots come in. With modern advances, robots can go further and do more than ever before.


This dynamically stable four-legged robot was created in 2005 by the Boston Dynamics robotics team, in partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Harvard University Concord Field Station. This buzzing ‘bot rights itself when pushed and can move quickly, carrying heavy loads, across a variety of terrains, autonomously adjusting to the surface it's walking on. It’s just under a metre long and weighs a hefty 110 kilograms. Its intended use hasn’t been officially announced, but it has been described as a military robot mule, designed to reduce the loads that soldiers have to carry. 


Developed by the Tokyo Fire Department, this robot is tasked with the important and difficult job of pulling bodies from rubble, as well as removing people at risk of asphyxiation from burning buildings. The robot also spares humans the emotionally traumatising process of removing corpses from rubble and debris. The robot, which is radio-controlled, uses two robotic arms to pinch and haul bodies and drag them into a mouth-like hole below two eye-like headlights.

Robot Prison Guard

As if prison couldn’t be a bleaker and drearier place, South Korea has discovered a way to take the inhumanity of being caged up even more painful. No longer will you receive human contact from prison guards, because they’re now robots. These robots are used to monitor cells for suspicious activity. They’re billed as semi-autonomous and mood-sensing, and are able to form ideas of patterns of behaviour for individual inmates so that they can detect any abnormalities, being particularly useful in preventing attempts at inmate suicide.

Industrial Robots

Industrial robots are the burly machines used in heavy-duty factory tasks such as welding, large-scale packaging and palletizing, assembly and product testing. They provide unmatchable speed, endurance and precision. Depending on its purpose, each of these industrial behemoths is fitted with a specific “end effector”, or end-of-arm tooling, which may be anything from a welding gun, spray gun, grinding surface or gripping tool.

Sentry Machine-Gun ‘Bots

Developed by the Apple's arch nemsis in the smartphone market, Samsung Techwin Co, these robots were developed to monitor the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. They use low-light cameras and pattern recognition technology to distinguish people from animals and other moving objects. If a robot deems it necessary, it will aim and fire the machine mounted to it, a Daewoo K3.

Hydronalix’s EMILY

Every year, hundreds of people drown due to rip tides and other types of dangerous sea currents, which may sweep even the strongest of swimmers out to sea. EMILY, the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, steps in in these situations. The four-foot-long rescue buoy zips across choppy waters at speeds as high as 40 kilometres per hour, using a jet-ski type impellor and pushing out the sea-water to propel itself across the surf.

Author Bio:
This post was provided courtesy of Jeff, a fan of all things robotic who works for HVDH, a South African industrial engineering company.

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