iMobot Can Go Wherever and Do Whatever You Need
It seems like there's a robot for everything these days. Robots for teaching, robots for cleaning, even robots for feeding people. But instead of a designing a robot for one specific task, engineers from UC Davis have created a single intelligent, reconfigurable, mobile robot designed for nearly any possible task.
The iMobot, as it is called, is a modular robot, a machine made up of durable subunits that can function alone or be configured for a specific task.
An individual module of the iMobot can drive on its wheels, crawl like an inchworm, or raise one end of its body and pan around as a camera platform. In addition, individual modules could be assembled into larger robots for particular tasks, such as a snakelike robot that has the ability to get into confined spaces, or a larger, wheeled robot for smoother terrain.
Designers Graham Ryland and Harry Cheng hope that the iMobot, will be a useful research and teaching tool . The technology can also be used in industrial applications for rapidly prototyping complex robotics, and may eventually form the basis of robots for search-and-rescue operations in difficult terrain.
"We wanted to create a robot that was modular and could be assembled together, but was also mobile and useful by itself. We feel this hardware platform could drastically speed up university and industry research in the field of robotics," Ryland said.
The iMobot could be used as a testbed tool for engineers studying control systems for individual robots or groups of robots. Commercial robots are usually built for a specific application, but by using an off-the-shelf commercial robot like iMobot, researchers can focus on solving problems in areas such as artificial intelligence , robot collaboration, and reconfigurable and adaptive systems, without having to first develop the hardware part of the robot.
Ryland and Cheng have started a company to design and build the robots, they hope to have the iMobot on the market by the end of this year.
This article was provided by InnovationNewsDaily, a sister site of TechNewsDaily.
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