The Science And Art Of Things That Move

I watched this fascinating talk on bionics given at TED by Hugh Herr who heads the Biomechatronics research group at MIT Media Lab.

Now I'm wanting some spring jumping stilts. Strap on a pair and you'll be running 20 mph and jumping over objects 6 feet high.


Robotics Unlimited's OutRunner remote controlled running robot gets 20 mph as well. Just remember, robots that run can chase.

Robots that can chase call to mind perhaps one of the coolest of all - Boston Dynamic's Cheetah will overtake you and your jumping stilts by at least 9 mph.

Syd Mead's illustration of huge robot dogs visualizes a future with very large running robots.
"Running of the Six Drgxx"
Swedish House Mafia's Greyhound video appears to have been inspired by Mead's well known illustration - these mechanical hounds appear much smaller than the 120 foot tall "drgxx."

Ray Bradbury's mechanical hounds were punishers programmed to enforce societal rules by violence, having been outfitted with poison-injecting four inch steel needles projecting from the snout.
glenn kim's depiction of Brandbury's mechanical hounds

Cross breeding various weapon systems with any one of today's real-world autonomous robots conjures up some mighty fearsome combinations:

Imagine the Boston Dynamics Cheetah saddled with an MK19 grenade machine gun

Something very similar (though fitted on a track-based robot) has been around since at least 2005 in the Talon robot with a Metal Storm grenade machine gun.

How about a Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System plopped on top of a Big Dog?


While we're at it, might as well integrate TrackingPoint style precision firepower technology into something like Atlas





For as much destructive potential as this stuff has, the productive potential of autonomous moving robots is at least as awesome!

Flight Assembled Architecture
Quadrotor drones are building a tower of bricks!
For a thought experiement, scale the size of these machines up or down to extremes and imagine what could happen! Apply the concept to space and underwater.

Speaking of extreme scale robots, the people that brought us Siri (and a ton more - SRI International) are working on Magnetically Actuated Micro-robots - watch them construct nano-tube structures:

Seeing these micro robots actuated by novel means of locomotion brings to mind another robot called Cubli, which achieves locomotion through a combination of jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling.

A conceptual cousin to Cubli is our favorite ball of commercially available robo-sweetness Sphero

To be continued...
Todd Hopkinson