The image that comes to mind when you hear Professor John Leonard describe his dream of developing a robot that is what he calls “a lifelong learner” is so cinematic it’s almost hard to believe.
HERMES, a quadruped humanoid robot built for disaster response and rescue by Associate Professor Sangbae Kim’s Biomimetics Robotics Lab.
It’s an introduction to robotics – for some students, that’s all they need to know to get excited about the popular class that goes by the number 2.12.
Uncomfortable shoes. Awkward crutches. Painful artificial limbs. When technology meets biology, the interface is rarely flawless – and the devices often hinder the bodies they are supposed to help.
In the movie “Terminator 2,” the shape-shifting T-1000 robot morphs into a liquid state to squeeze through tight spaces or to repair itself when harmed.Now a phase-changing material built from wax and foam, and capable of switching between hard and soft states, could allow even low-cost robots to perform the same feat.
All you have to do is think about it. Or at least that’s what it would look like to someone watching you use the robotic finger system that PhD student Faye Wu is designing in Professor Harry Asada’s lab.
Assistant Professor Alberto Rodriguez led a team in this past May’s Amazon Picking Challenge, winning second place out of 28 entrants for their dexterous robot.