Nonstop robot.In some of the scariest science fiction scenarios, evil robots refuse to die, no matter how fiercely people fight back.
Now, science fiction has edged into science fact. For the first time, researchers have created a robotic machine that can take a beating and keep on trucking. Developed by scientists from Cornell University Cornell University, mainly at Ithaca, N.Y.; with land-grant, state, and private support; coeducational; chartered 1865, opened 1868. It was named for Ezra Cornell, who donated $500,000 and a tract of land. With the help of state senator Andrew D. and the University of Vermont, the new robot looks like a spider with four legs.
Until now, even the most advanced robot was almost certain to break down when damaged. That's because its internal computer simply doesn't know how to operate the machine after its shape has changed.
To get around this problem, the spidery robot's developers equipped their invention with eight motors and two sensors that read how the machine is tilting tilt 1
v. tilt·ed, tilt·ing, tilts
1. To cause to slope, as by raising one end; incline: tilt a soup bowl; tilt a chair backward.
2. . The motors and sensors all provide electrical signals to the machine's software.
Using this information, the system follows a new procedure to figure out the machine's shape at any given moment. The program chooses from among 100,000 possible arrangements of parts.
From there, the computer considers a wide variety of possible next steps, and it calculates how best to move the robot forward the longest possible distance, before trying to move again.
The new strategy is a major advance in robotics robotics, science and technology of general purpose, programmable machine systems. Contrary to the popular fiction image of robots as ambulatory machines of human appearance capable of performing almost any task, most robotic systems are anchored to fixed positions , scientists say, and it's far from scary. The technology may someday some·day
At an indefinite time in the future.
Usage Note: The adverbs someday and sometime express future time indefinitely: We'll succeed someday. Come sometime. help researchers create better artificial limbs artificial limb, mechanical replacement for a missing limb. An artificial limb, called a prosthesis, must be light and flexible to permit easy movement, but must also be sufficiently sturdy to support the weight of the body or to manipulate objects. that give new freedom to people who lack arms and legs. The new knowledge might also help scientists understand how people and animals figure out their own sense of place in space.
"Designing robots that can adapt to changing environments and can compensate for damage has been a difficult problem," says neuroscientist neuroscientist A researcher, often with an advanced degree–MD, MS, PhD–who investigates neural and brain-related phenomena OlafSporns of Indiana University Indiana University, main campus at Bloomington; state supported; coeducational; chartered 1820 as a seminary, opened 1824. It became a college in 1828 and a university in 1838. The medical center (run jointly with Purdue Univ. in Bloomington. "This work provides a new way toward solving this important problem."--E. Sohn
From Science News for Kids Nov. 29, 2006.
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