10 Amazing Robotics Technologies

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The article describes 10 technologies and developments in the field of robotics, ranging from original research that can significantly affect the future of robotics, to finished commercial products that will find applications in basic science and will stimulate industrial and medical technologies.

The Atlas robot, which weighs 75 kg and is 1.5 m high, developed by Boston Dynamics, has demonstrated in numerous promotional videos the ability to detect and cope with obstacles thanks to a computer vision system, as well as excellent balance.

Atlas is able to move over rough terrain while maintaining balance; while running, jump over a log and jump onto several boxes quite easily; lift various object and manipulate them. And also perform elements of parkour: somersaults forward and back. Mark Aribert from the development team notes that at the moment the robot does not cope with all the tasks assigned to it. But demonstrations of its capabilities serve as inspiration for further improvement of Atlas.

Intuitive surgical platform da Vinci SP.

Some operations, such as RP (radical prostatectomy) surgery, are increasingly being performed using robotic approaches, which have many advantages. The number of robotic platforms is growing, their widespread use depends on whether issues related to reducing their cost will be resolved in the future.

The da Vinci SP platform leads the global surgical market. The working part of the device is a cannula with a diameter of 2.5 cm with three surgical instruments and an endoscope located on flexible holders. They move out of the tube and are designed to operate on deep lesions of the body.

A soft robot that moves by increasing its length.

A soft robot that moves in space by increasing its length is a new direction in robotics. It is made of a soft material twisted inside, which, when air is injected into it, unfolds – “grows” in length and moves in the required direction.

The robot is designed on the basis of the growth of vines and mushroom mycelium. This invention can deviate from obstacles in its path, move in confined spaces, in horizontal and vertical planes. Thus, the robot will find wide application for navigation in pipes of various diameters, in rescue operations with hard-to-reach bottlenecks, and in medicine.

One of the main challenges facing robotics is the study of new materials and production schemes to develop energy efficient, versatile and compatible drives. In 2018, a lot of new developments appeared in this booming field.

Previously, universal liquid crystal drives made of elastomers were used, capable of changing their shape. But then liquid crystal elastomers were developed for soft robotics, which are made using 3D printing.

Muscle-like actuators with hydraulic boost

The developers introduced the HASEL soft drive, which uses electrostatic and hydraulic principles in its work when it is linearly compressed without the need to pre-stretch the material. The drive is quite durable and relatively inexpensive material to manufacture. HASEL is capable of lifting over 200 times its own weight. Also fragile items.

Self-organizing DNA nanorobot.

“DNA origami” is a technology of intentionally constructing DNA molecules into predetermined and modeled objects at the nanoscale. They can have a simple or complex shape, be flat or voluminous. The structure and movement of the nanorobot is controlled by electric fields. The nanorobot can be programmed to synthesize and assemble materials in a bottom-up direction.

Maneuverable bionic robot Del Fly Nimble.

Bioinspired robots are insect-like flying robots. They are developed for two reasons: firstly, for practical application, and secondly, to study natural aerodynamics, which is then used to program living organisms. A new Nimble model with four wings has recently been released. Which is able not only to fly smoothly, but also to change direction at any time.

The Nimble model does not have a tail, thanks to which it has become more maneuverable and faster: it flies at speeds up to 25 km per hour. Although Nimble is 50 times the size of a fruit fly and does not mimic the morphology and kinematics of its wings, it can nevertheless serve as a physical model for understanding the flight characteristics of flying organisms.

Lightweight and comfortable robotic exposit

Many people, when it comes to the issue of using exoskeletons in everyday life, are embarrassed to wear it: they do not want to look awkward and resemble Iron Man in it. Lightweight and stretchy exposit for personal use does not hinder movement. And also, thanks to new developments, it is much more convenient than the classic exoskeleton.

It includes robotic devices that help walking. Its potential application is to increase the stamina, mobility and independence of the elderly. And for the rehabilitation of children and adults with movement disorders as a result of an illness.

Universal robotic manipulators Universal Robots e-Series Cabot’s.

The use of universal robotic arms from Universal Robots, despite their discreet appearance, is becoming more and more widespread: they are used as a tool in research laboratories and on assembly lines, in logistics and in surgery. Universal Robots released a new collaborative robot e-Series in 2018, reducing the setup time for a single robot by several times.

Thanks to an intuitive 3D visualization system, even inexperienced operators can set up and control robots. The new e-Series robotic arms have become safe for humans, minimizing the risk of injury from working with them.