Truss-Climbing Robot Can Build Structures, Take Them Apart

Cornell's climbing robot can assemble and disassemble truss structures as it goes

1 min read
Truss-Climbing Robot Can Build Structures, Take Them Apart

Next time you need a new house, Cornell's Creative Machines Lab is betting that robots might have a hand (or lack of hands) in helping you build it. Like otherclimbing bots we've seen before, their "autonomous truss-structure modifying robot" is capable of clambering around three-dimensional structures, but with a twist: The robot can add and remove bits and pieces as it goes.

This is one of those things where the vid more or less explains it all, although I'm a little bit curious whether the robot is smart enough to know not to disassemble a structural component that's keeping it from plummeting to its own death. The video description suggests that at some point, the robot (and a bunch of its friends) might be controlled by a system that would allow them to build (and reconfigure) structures that would otherwise be too expensive or dangerous for humans to put together, but until that happens, we can at least admire the clever combinations of 3D printed bidirectional gearing that lets this little guy do what he does.

Via [ Cornell Creative Machines Lab ]

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How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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