Tag Archives: robotics

Bird Buggy Amuses a Parrot



This unique little robot is exactly what every parrot owner needs! The Bird Buggy was created by Andrew Gray, who is a student at the University of Florida’s College of Engineering. He is the owner of an African Grey parrot named Pepper. The primary purpose of the Bird Buggy was to give Pepper something to do other than squawk loudly all day. Bird Buggy was built in the University of Florida’s Intelligent Machines Design Lab.

The Bird Buggy has a joystick that Pepper has learned to control with his beak. The parrot can make its robotic “ride” go forward, backward, and turn from side to side. There is an IR sensor that prevents Pepper from ramming into things to hard, and bumpers that respond to collisions by backing up. The Bird Buggy is equipped with a camera that enables it to return to a docking station when Pepper is done using it.

I don’t have a parrot, but I do have several cockatiels. They are smaller than an African Grey, (and not quite as intelligent). My little birds would probably have one reaction to the Bird Buggy – fear. They dislike things that are new. They also would be too small to use the joystick in the way that Pepper can. There are some similarities between cockatiels and African Greys, though, so I can tell from watching the video that Pepper is greatly amused by, and enjoying, the Bird Buggy.


MIT Duo Creates Algorithm To Power Replicating “Smart Sand”



Inanimate matter programmed to spontaneously create duplicates of any object. That’s what MIT student Kyle Gilpin and computer science and engineering professor Daniela Rus have figured out how to do (in theory, of course). The duo’s research project and subsequent paper they co-authored (to be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May) details an algorithm by which “smart pebbles” or “smart sand” could be programmed to form duplicate three-dimensional shapes based on the original item.

From MIT News, the best way to imagine how this would work is to think of immersing a small item (they use a footstool as an example) in this smart sand. The grains of sand read and effectively learn the shape by passing information back and forth via electric pulses sent through magnets (the magnets act to connect grains, as well as pass power and information). More accurately, the smart sand mimics shape, but through learning the space occupied by the item (specifically the border created by the item), rather than the item itself.

Hang on a second. You know who can explain this better? Paper co-author and PhD Kyle Gilpin himself:

The implications for scaling this technology are pretty amazing. Smart sand technology could theoretically be used to re-create broken mechanical parts; manufacture new tools or other items; or to take smaller items and make larger, identical replicas.

You think copyright and patent laws are complicated now? Imagine the hurricane of litigation that would surround the commercial or private use of smart sand.


Robotic Hair Restoration – Your Head on an Assembly Line.



ARTAS
ARTAS

Hair. Long Flowing hair. Unless you lose it on top, then you go to a company that will put hair back on top of your head. You love the idea so much, you end up buying the company.

Now there are robots that help transplant hair. Recently, the FDA approved robotic hair transplant technology. These Restoration Robotics – Also called ARTAS – make the art of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) a lot easier for the physician.

Sara Wasserbauer M.D. has performed a two-year study, collecting data on the effectiveness of the ARTAS. She has found shorter healing times, less invasive surgery and a cut in transplant time – 5 hours as opposed to 10 without the robot.

“It’s quite amazing to think how far technology has come,” said Dr. Wasserbauer. “The use of robotics is already used in many fields of medicine – especially in surgical procedures. I’ve been very excited about this particular study and am enjoying being part of the research team to determine the pros and cons of using robotics in hair restoration.”

The device looks pretty scary, but it looks to advance the technology of hair restoration. The physician uses software to help guide the robot in placing the hair.

I personally chose the opposite – I can grow a full head of hair, but would rather not. However, I know that some of you want to reverse your baldness and don’t want to have a bad experience. With this robot cutting down the out-patient process and possibly creating a more successful hair restoration process, would you prefer this system over regular hair restoration?