Security and safety are concerns felt by most people of the world. A number of years ago there was a science fiction movie titled “RoboCop” with a robotic crime fighter as a central character. While it was far-fetched, it gave viewers ideas about the potential robotic crime fighting units of the future. Today, it’s becoming a reality with the latest entry of a Chinese robotic crime fighter called the AnBot.
The AnBot was developed by the National Defense University in China. Weighing 78-kg, the 1.5-m tall robot can move at speeds of up to 18-km/h. Designed to help enhance China’s anti-terrorism and anti-riot practices, the unit has sensors that mimic eyes, ears, and brains – communicating with control personnel who direct the robot and can also remotely activate an electrically charge riot tool. There is even an “SOS” mutton that can be used by the public to alert police.
The unit can patrol and avoid obstacles. But, what happens if it has to climb stairs?
Robots have always fascinated us; no matter if it’s a simple Roomba vacuum, a more sophisticated toy, or a science fiction future. But the ultimate in robotic technology today undoubtedly comes from Boston Robotics, a subsidiary of Google. The company has a variety of robots with two legs, four legs, and wheels. They can run, leap, fly, walk, and climb buildings.
The newest robot is a version of Atlas, designed to operate both outdoors as well as inside of buildings. It is an electric-powered, hydraulically-actuated robot capable of mobile manipulation of objects. Atlas has advanced sensors in its body and legs for balance, and stereo sensors in its head that enable it to avoid obstacles, assess terrain, help with navigation, and manipulate objects. It stands just under six-feet high and weighs 180 pounds. Knock it over, it gets right back up.
And, did we mention that video clips of Atlas have also been seen on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon? Robots are getting more humanoid-appearing with each version.
Technology seems to be advancing by leaps and bounds. And we mean this literally. Boston Dynamics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google, has robots that can leap tall buildings, scale walls, navigate tough terrain, and more. The company has both wheeled and four-legged robots for indoor and outdoor operations. The robots are electric-powered, hydraulically activated, and with advanced sensors for navigating rough terrain.
These robots are amazing. One is Cheetah – the fastest robot in the world that travels at 29 miles per hour. Another robot – Sand Flea – weighs only 11 pounds and can jump 30 feet in the air. There are also anthropomorphic robots that can test chemical and protection wear to be worn by humans in hazardous conditions. And let’s not forget about Spot – a 160 pound robot that moves like a dog with a sensor head that lets it navigate and negotiate rough terrain.
Consider the business applications of robotic technology.