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This Novel Flying Robot can Clean Glass Curtain Walls in High-Rise Buildings

The new robot represents a major advance in safety and efficiency

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Robot, Glass, Curtain
mportantly, it has been designed so that the whole system's contact force can be controlled precisely without any force sensors, said the team from the Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Pixabay

Chinese researchers have designed a novel flying robot that not only climbs wall like you have seen in sci-fi movies but is also capable of avoiding obstacles and even jumping over grooves on wall surfaces.

It can also conduct interactive operations while in flight to clean glass curtain walls in high-rise buildings.

Importantly, it has been designed so that the whole system’s contact force can be controlled precisely without any force sensors, said the team from the Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The new robot represents a major advance in safety and efficiency. It comprises a single-degree-of-freedom manipulator cube-frame end effector and a hex-rotor UAV system.

Robot, Glass, Curtain
It can also conduct interactive operations while in flight to clean glass curtain walls in high-rise buildings. Pixabay

“In the near future, we might see an extensive use of this new system in large infrastructure maintenance, and other special applications, such as scientific sampling.” said Meng Xiangdong, the robot’s designer.

The team reported the development of a contact aerial manipulator system that shows high flexibility and strong mission adaptability at the 2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2019) in Macao last week.

How to control the force is considered the most difficult problem, since flying robots usually are sensitive to external force.

According to Meng, realizing this objective required first making a flying robot with closed loop control behave like a regular spring system.

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The elastic coefficient could then be easily changed by altering the control parameters.

“It means that we can take the robot as a spring system so that the contact process can be safe enough,” said Meng. (IANS)

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Robot Equipped with Emotion-Sensing Heads to International Space Station

Emotion-sensing Robot Heads to Space Station to Help Astronauts

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Robot
Bret Greenstein, IBM Global Vice President of Watson Internet of Things Offerings, holds a clone of an artificial intelligence bot named CIMON, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. VOA

An intelligent robot equipped with emotion-sensing voice detectors was headed to the International Space Station after launching from Florida on Thursday, becoming the latest artificial intelligence-powered astronaut workmate in orbit.

The Crew Interactive Mobile Companion 2, or CIMON 2, is a spherical droid with microphones, cameras and a slew of software to enable emotion recognition.

The droid was among 5,700 pounds (2,585 kg) of supplies and experiments aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, whose midday launch had been delayed from Wednesday because of high winds.

Create a companion

“The overall goal is to really create a true companion. The relationship between an astronaut and CIMON is really important,” Matthias Biniok, the lead architect for CIMON 2, told Reuters. “It’s trying to understand if the astronaut is sad, is he angry, joyful and so on.”

Based on algorithms built by information technology giant IBM Corp and data from CIMON 1, a nearly identical prototype that launched in 2018, CIMON 2 will be more sociable with crew members. It will test technologies that could prove crucial for future crewed missions in deep space, where long-term isolation and communication lags to Earth pose risks to astronauts’ mental health.

Robot companion
The overall goal of creating this robot is to create a true companion. (Representational Image). Lifetime Stock

While designed to help astronauts conduct scientific experiments, the English-speaking robot is also being trained to help mitigate groupthink — a behavioral phenomenon in which isolated groups of humans can be driven to make irrational decisions.

“Group-thinking is really dangerous,” Biniok said. In times of conflict or disagreement among astronauts, one of CIMON’s most important purposes would be to serve as “an objective outsider that you can talk to if you’re alone, or could actually help let the group collaborate again,” he said.

Inspired by Professor Simon, HAL

Engineers have said CIMON’s concept was inspired by a 1940s science fiction comic series set in space, where a sentient, brain-shaped robot named Professor Simon mentors an astronaut named Captain Future. CIMON 2 also parallels HAL, the sentient computer in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” film.

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SpaceX is the first private company to fly to the space station, a $100 billion project of 15 nations. Along with CIMON 2, the cargo aboard its 19th resupply mission to the orbital research lab included 40 live mice that will show scientists how muscles change in the microgravity of space. (VOA)