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Cyro – Large Robot Jellyfish

cyro

Source: Virginia Tech

 

A robotic jellyfish. Go figure.

Cyro is a human-sized jellyfish robot developed by team of researchers at Virginia Tech College of Engineering, headed by Shashank Priya. They modeled it on one of the world’s largest jellyfish, Cyanea capillata (AKA lion’s mane jellyfish). Cyro is a larger version of Virginia Tech’s human hand sized RoboJelly.

“Jellyfish make great models for self-powered and autonomous bots partly because of their relatively low metabolic rate, meaning they can move through the sea on little energy. They also come in various sizes and inhabit a range of aquatic habitats from shallow coastal areas to the deep-sea, meaning engineers have plenty to work with when looking for a mimic for particular uses” (source: LiveScience).

Specifications:

Weight
170 lbs. (77 kg)
Length
5.6 ft. (1.7 m)
Operating Environment
Oceans
Function Prototype for self-powered, autonomous robots that monitor the seas, map the seafloor and even reveal secrets of marine life
Development Stage Second generation prototype developed at the university level.
Unique Features SubmersibleVertical lift: moves from 8-feet-deep (2.4 m) to the surface with five complete pulsing motions.

Cyro uses an upward swimming motion for propulsion. Linear actuators move radially from an outward position in toward the center that create pulsing motions of the artificial mesoglea, or the gelatinous substance that makes up the jellyfish’s skin.

Jumping Robot

SandFlea“Soldier, I want you to take this video camera, jump onto the roof that building, take images of the enemy, and come back.  Oh, and they’ll be shooting at you.”

“Or you can use the SandFlea.”

The SandFlea looks like the RC car most kids would love to play with because, in addition to cruising around the yard, it can jump 30 feet into the air, high enough to clear a wall, on to a roof of a house, up the stairs, or though a second story window.  An onboard stabilization system keeps it oriented during flight to improve the view from the video uplink and to control landings.

Sand Flea is funded by the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force and scheduled to undergo safety and reliability checks at the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC).  If it passes evaluation, several will be field tested in Afghanistan, where US military currently uses more than 2,000 robots.

Specifications:

Weight
11 lbs. (5 kg)
Speed
3.4 mph (5.5 km/h)
Jump Height
3-30 ft. (1-8 m)
Camera resolution
1280 x 960
Battery life
2 Hours
Kinetic energy
25 Jumps
Operating Environment
Tolerant of humidity, salt, oil, and sand
Intended use
Ruggedized reconnaissance robot
Unique Features
It is equipped with
 
Onboard gyro stabilization system to assist in-flight
(a) orientation,
(b) video quality, and
(c) controlled landings,
 
Laser guided the launching,
 
Launching piston used for the jump fires out the back of the robot and is powered by CO2,
 
Wheels designed to cushion the shock of landing.

For more information visit http://www.bostondynamics.com/robot_sandflea.html.

See Death Has No Shadow for fictional acrobatic-mechs in action.

iCheetah

Created by Boston Dynamics, Cheetah is now the fastest legged robot on the planet.  The video below was released by DARPA today.

OK.  So it looks like it’s running backwards, but a top speed of 18 mph is pretty good.  It doesn’t match a cheetah’s 70 mph, but it could probably outrun you.  The fastest human currently on record, Usain St. Leo Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter, can run 23.35 mph … for 100 meters.

Why not use wheels?  It could go a lot faster than 18 mph.  Legged robots handle some off-road terrain better. Research into making four-legged robots faster has the potential of developing better prosthetics for amputees, right?  Well, prosthetics for canines.

But it’s built by DARPA.  (Somebody commented, “Built by people who never saw The Matrix nor Terminator.”)  DARPA… they don’t make toys.  This isn’t the next contender for “Tickle Me Elmo” and you won’t find it next to the Barbie doll isle.  And DARPA isn’t a branch of the Veteran’s Administration researching better prosthetics.  Ever see the Boston Dynamics BigDog robot? Creepy.  It still gives me nightmares.  This is war craft.

Part of me says “cool!”  Another part says, “yikes!”

See Death Has No Shadow for more scary-cool-military-mechs in action.