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EP.13 FLAMETHROWING ROBOTS
Grain-diving machine, ChatGPT developing a robot, a robot dog with a flamethrower and much more...
Robot with a flamethrower on its back ☄️
Throwflame, a company known for its unique flamethrowers, is now offering preorders for its latest creation: the Thermonator. This quadruped robot combines a robotic dog with a flamethrower mounted on its back. If you've ever dreamed of owning a flamethrower-wielding robotic dog, now is your chance.
While robotic dogs have showcased various capabilities like obstacle avoidance and herding sheep, the idea of a flamethrower attachment has apparently intrigued some individuals. Throwflame has answered their call by introducing the Thermonator, equipped with its modular, electric-powered ARC Flamethrower. This allows the robot to emit a jet of flame reaching about 30 feet (10 meters) for a duration of 30 seconds.
The specific model of the robotic dog used in the Thermonator hasn't been officially disclosed, but it appears to be the Unitree GO1 by Unitree Robotics. This agile robot boasts four legs with 12 degrees of freedom, enabling it to walk, run, climb stairs, overcome obstacles, sit, lie down, and even employ artificial intelligence for navigation and tracking humans.
While the Thermonator may seem cool, it serves practical purposes as well. Flamethrowers have applications in weed control, crop burning, forest management, and other tasks that can be hazardous or unpleasant. By entrusting these tasks to a robot, safety can be improved.
A robot that flies and drives 🥏
Engineers at Caltech have created a remarkable robot called the Multi-Modal Mobility Morphobot (M4). This versatile machine can adapt to different modes of transportation depending on the situation. In its basic form, it looks like a rectangular robot with four wheels. It can smoothly drive around or transform into a flying machine by flipping its wheels into rotors.
M4 has more tricks up its sleeves. In its four-wheeled mode, it can lower its body to crouch or move its wheels in pairs, imitating a walking motion. It can even climb steep slopes with two wheels and two propellers or stand upright to scout ahead. From this position, it can either roll on two wheels or tumble end over end.
The idea behind M4 is that it is prepared for any situation it encounters. It can drive efficiently on four wheels and then switch to flight mode to cross obstacles like ravines. It can tackle boulders, slopes, and narrow passages with ease using its various locomotion modes.
These capabilities make M4 robot an excellent candidate for autonomous exploration of unfamiliar environments, such as searching for survivors in collapsed buildings or venturing into other planets. The engineers behind the project are pleased with the results, stating that M4 has achieved its objectives of pushing the boundaries of robot locomotion.
Diving in the grain! 🌾
Farmers face numerous challenging tasks, and managing the grain stored inside grain bins is one of them. To address the difficulties and dangers associated with this job, the Grain Weevil grain bin management robot has been developed.
Why do farmers have to enter the bins in the first place? Well, the piled-up grain needs to be leveled periodically to ensure proper airflow. Crusts and bridges on the surface must be broken up, and grain that accumulates along the walls needs to be pulled down. When removing the grain, it also needs to be pushed into an extraction auger.
Manual shoveling of the grain inside the bins is not only physically demanding, but it also poses risks such as getting trapped, buried, or caught in the auger. Inhaling grain dust can also lead to lung diseases.
In response to a challenge from a farmer friend, Chad and Ben Johnson, a father-and-son duo based in Aurora, Nebraska, developed the Grain Weevil robot to perform these tasks. Chad is a science educator, while Ben is an electrical engineer.
The Grain Weevil is a square-shaped robot measuring around 20 by 20 inches (508 mm) and weighing 50 lbs (23 kg). It redistributes the stored grain by moving through it using two motorized augers. A single 20-minute battery charge reportedly provides 90 minutes to two hours of operation.
Currently, the robot operates at a similar speed to a person with a shovel and is remotely controlled with human-initiated autonomy. This means it can execute movement patterns independently, but a human operator still makes the primary decisions. The goal is to achieve Level 2 autonomy by the end of the summer, enabling the robot to perform all tasks while the farmer supervises.
The team plans to have a soft release of the Grain Weevil in late fall, pending compliance with product safety regulations. Grain bins are classified as hazardous locations due to dust explosion risks, so the robot must pass rigorous safety tests. The final price of the product will be determined after completing all safety certifications to ensure a quality and safe product.
Robot seeds plants and saves the Amazon 🌴
The Amazon rainforest is facing significant degradation, with approximately one-third already lost or degraded. To aid reforestation efforts, a dual-armed robotic gardener called YuMi, developed by ABB Robotics, has joined a pocket of resistance in Peru.
With remote programming and operation, YuMi plants seeds in containers, allowing human volunteers to focus on tasks like protecting against illegal loggers and educating locals. The pilot project not only automates repetitive tasks but also frees up rangers for more impactful work.
The collaboration between ABB Robotics and Junglekeepers demonstrates the potential of robotics and cloud technology in combating deforestation and preserving valuable land. By leveraging technology, they aim to advance conservation efforts and protect the Amazon rainforest, often considered the "lungs of the planet
🚨 BREAKING NEWS
ChatGPT helped to develop a robot 🍅
Researchers at the Technical University in Delft and EPFL used ChatGPT to assist in developing a tomato-picking robot. ChatGPT's insights guided the researchers in choosing a robot that would address future challenges, focusing on food supply.
The decision to pick tomatoes was driven by ChatGPT's indication that automating tomato harvesting would be economically valuable. The language model provided suggestions, such as using a silicone gripper to prevent crushing tomatoes, and the researchers validated and implemented the AI's knowledge.
While this collaboration falls short of the extreme scenario where the model provides all design input, concerns about misinformation, bias, and intellectual property hinder its realization. Nonetheless, the team plans to utilize the tomato-harvesting robot for further research and explore the potential of large language models like ChatGPT.
Source: The Robot Report (https://www.therobotreport.com/researchers-use-chatgpt-to-make-a-tomato-picking-robot/)