Inflatable Ant-Roach Robot is Big Enough to Ride

This big blue robot with its giant nose can be blown up just like a balloon

2 min read
Inflatable Ant-Roach Robot is Big Enough to Ride

This robot is called Ant-Roach. Ant-Roach is called Ant-Roach because to those with a fanciful imagination it looks a bit like a cross between an anteater and a cockroach, although it'll take an even more fanciful imagination to figure out a way that that could ever naturally come to pass. Imagination or no imagination, this thing exists, it moves, and you can ride it (AWESOME).

And, it's completely inflatable, muscles and all.

Is that not one of the greatest things ever? Just look at his nose!

Ant-Roach weighs only 70 pounds (seeing as it's hollow and made of fabric), which means that one reasonably in-shape person can carry it around (as long as it's been deflated first). As you can see from the pic, though, the robot is capable of supporting a lot of weight: as much as 1,000 pounds.

To move, Ant-Roach uses what looks to be four independently controllable pneumatic bags that have been designed to contract when inflated. By attaching these bags to the legs and torso of the robot and inflating and deflating them in sequence, Ant-Roach can be made to walk, turn, and even swim (sort of). 

This robot is a project of Otherlab, which is also working on a pneumatic arm and hand:

It's hard to tell from the vid, but this two pound arm is capable of lifting several hundred pounds all by itself, and it can kick your ass any day of the week when it comes to arm wrestling.

So why the focus on inflatable robots? There are lots of reasons: they're cheap, they're (relatively) easy to build, they're (also relatively) easy to fix, and they have very high strength to weight ratios. Perhaps most importantly, being full of air, inflatable robots tend to be much more compliant than their metallic brethren, meaning that they're inherently safer to have operating around humans

[ Otherlab ] via [ Hizook ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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