Of Droids, Zoids, and Mecha…

C-3PO and R2-D2 are becoming more and more plausible the more mankind explores robotics. While I would prefer to avoid a future full of Terminators, HK-47s, and Eagle Eyes, I have to admit that the U.S. Army’s interest in building two or four-legged tanks has me almost as excited as Brian Niemeier.

Does that mean I expect the Army to start producing Shield Ligers and Zaber Fangs? A girl can dream, but even a fantasist eventually has to acknowledge that the world has limits. We are a long way from having living mechanical animals we can pilot for battle or play fights. And until someone figures out how to fuel or power these mechanical units for more than two to four hours, the exo-suits and AT-ATs we dream of utilizing are likely to remain just out of our reach for some time.

Still, every step forward is worth noting. Check up on this centaur droid the writers over at Popular Mechanics are so excited about:

This Robot Centaur May Be the Future of Search-and-Rescues

A centaur like robot brings both arms and wheels to rescue missions.

By Laura Yan

Jul 28, 2018

Researchers from the IstitutoItaliano di Tecnologia a created a hybrid, centaur robot with four wheeled legs and two front-facing arms that can aid in future search-and-rescue missions (it’s also very fun to watch). The robot can pick up blocks, navigate through rubble, climb stairs or karate chop wood with its powerful arms. The Centauro stands at 1.5 meters tall, and weighs 93 kilograms. Its hybrid body structure means it’s both adaptable and tough, which is essential in search-and-rescue missions.

The Centauro is designed to be a “human-robot symbiotic system where a human operator is telepresent with its whole body in a Centaur-like robot, [capable] of robust locomotion and dexterous manipulation in the rough terrain and austere conditions characteristic of disasters.” The robot is made out of a number of light-weight metals, with skins of 3D-printed plastic and a trio of computers inside to help it navigate, with a 2.5 hour battery life.

Read more….

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