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Swinging Robot Excels At Wall-Climbing

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the creepy-in-the-good-sense dept.

Robotics 54

Zothecula writes "Engineers have used a variety of techniques to create robots that can scale walls — the Climber uses a rolling seal, while the insect-like robots from SRI have caterpillar tracks with electro-adhesive properties. While such robots generally focus on speed, adhering to the wall and deciding how and when to move, the creators of a small robot named ROCR say it is the first wall-climbing robot to focus on climbing efficiently. And it does so by using the momentum of a tail that swings like a grandfather clock's pendulum."

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54 comments

Frosty Piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33158564)

Frosty Piss!!

Swinging Robot Good at Wall Climing??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33158566)

What is this? Everyone knows if a nigger gets almost caught within a moment
of a husband arriving home to his wife a little early, that robot is always
good at jumping out the window and scaling them walls.

Speaking of which, does anyone know why 4chan /new/ has been al JIDF and Nigger
recentley? I miss the Stormfront crown that usually placates that forum.

Inb4 jews.

Re:Swinging Robot Good at Wall Climing??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33158610)

What is this? Everyone knows if a nigger gets almost caught within a moment of a husband arriving home to his wife a little early, that robot is always good at jumping out the window and scaling them walls.

But they ain't no good at swimmin'. Dat why you gotta dig a moat around your house.

Roboticus Superioritis (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33158658)

Pardon my Latin (I actually don't know any). Anyway, those of you familiar with Ray Kurzweil's writings know well his predictions of when robots (A.I.) will surpass then vastly outperform humans in intellectual powers.

Well here's something that people may have overlooked. Robots may well surpass us sooner (a lot sooner?) in physical tasks. There was a demo of a small UAV that could fly up and "stick" to a wall using a maneuver impossible for a human controller to emulate (this is not the same as the MIT UAVs that can perch). Also, there were the Stanford (?) micro-helicopters which "learned" acrobatic stunts from their controllers and surpassed them. I heard of a unmanned car that could perform on of those crazy slide sideways into a parking space maneuvers. And then of course there is "Big Dog" which can take a flying kick and keep walking.

It is interesting that most sci-fi movies portray robots as powerful, even indestructible but slow and sometimes clumsy. I can think of only one movie where they had a robot that was clearly Man's physical (as well as mental) superior ; the panther like military robot in "Red Planet". It stalked and "played" with its human prey, wounding but not killing in order to slow the group down (I seem to remember).

Of course what's really going on is that this is just a side effect of Kurzweil's predictions. Motors and metals aren't getting much better but the processors and algorithms that run on them are. A good example might be from one of William Gibson's novels where ordinary drones and shrubbery sheering robots become tools of murder in the hands of the A.I.

I no longer login because I feel that while attacking a company's products is fair game (specifically Apple), having stories singling out their users as "selfish" and unkind is not "news for nerds stuff that matters". Am I an Apple fanboi? Let's just say I've used NIX for decades (yes I'm old) and I'm not talking OS X.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (4, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#33158700)

And then of course there is "Big Dog" which can take a flying kick and keep walking.

But not from Chuck Norris, and that's humanity's trump card.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (2, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 3 years ago | (#33159044)

Maybe we should build an army of Chuck Norris clones off-planet just in case of Big Dog becoming self-aware, Chancellor?

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33160700)

Maybe we should build an army of Chuck Norris clones off-planet just in case of Big Dog becoming self-aware, Chancellor?

We'll only be needing the one.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33163602)

No need. Chuck Norris is equivalent to an Army of Chuck Norris.

Also, Chuck Norris cannot be cloned. I seem to recall Something Bad happening when someone attempted to do so, but virtually all memory and history of the event has been erased... by Chuck Norris!

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (1)

xenapan (1012909) | more than 3 years ago | (#33164234)

Not quite true. Scientists predict that if Chuck Norris was ever cloned, the universe as a whole would implode from the awesomeness.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33173034)

In theory, yes. But without empirical proof we'll never know. Of course there's only one man who could perform the experiment...

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (4, Insightful)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33158720)

We are seeing robots that can beat humans in certain tasks that they have been specifically designed for, but we have not yet even begun to have any robots that can adapt to different tasks on their own without being told. Also robots have a long way to go towards having the ability to survive without logistical support such as repairs, parts, or energy supplies. They are still just fancy complex tools which humans can use as they see fit.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33159000)

Also robots have a long way to go towards having the ability to survive without logistical support such as repairs, parts, or energy supplies

So do most humans..

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (2, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33159428)

Actually humans are to a quite large degree self-repairing. For quite a long time they also managed to survive without replacement parts (the survival rate is much higher now that we have the ability to repair beyond self-repair, and to make replacement parts of certain body parts, though). You've got a point with energy supplies, although humans are quite flexible in what they can use as energy supply (basically, most living things will do), and can survive quite some time between energy refills. On the other hand, a few days without water will kill a human. And without air, the survival time is measured in minutes.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33160596)

Also robots have a long way to go towards having the ability to survive without logistical support such as repairs, parts, or energy supplies.

When I hear about printers that can make parts with flexible and rigid components I think that time must not be very far off.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33164896)

Also humans have a long way to go towards having the ability to survive without logistical support such as healthcare, or food.

FTFY

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171050)

Food is different than energy supplies. If humans needed direct injections of ATP to function you might have a point. Also many trillions of people have gotten through their lives without any healthcare through the course of history.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33173244)

> ability to survive without logistical support such as repairs, parts, or energy supplies

To be fair, you probably like to visit the doc and eat food every once in a while, too.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:Roboticus Superioritis (3, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33158844)

most sci-fi movies portray robots as powerful, even indestructible but slow and sometimes clumsy

I think the trend decreases as the ability to produce special effects increases ; clunky slow robots in movies appear to be caused by clunky slow SFX.

Other notable exceptions to the clunky and slow law, excepting robots / cyborgs played by human actors ; the NX 6 class robot bodies in I, Robot, any robot in the Matrix trilogy, the robot spiders in Minority Report.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 3 years ago | (#33160452)

I'd said you're probably correct. Robots in cartoons and animated film never really suffered from poor SFX, and since they made the perfect bad guy (no blood etc) there's plenty of examples of threading/ badass ones.
Robots in any of the sci-fi books I've read have also tend to be superior to humans in most regards.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (2, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33158900)

Motors and metals aren't getting much better but the processors and algorithms that run on them are.

Micro-controllers are great for prototyping, but couldn't this particular example be made purely out of something that resembles the mechanism inside a wooden grandfather's clock (without any sort of processor whatsoever). There would still be the question of making the claws of course, but I'm leaving this question for someone else who's smarter than me. From the video, I'm not even sure how the claws work currently. Does anyone else think that the wall they're using is probably gritty? and that the robot is barely hanging on by the very tip of its fingernails/little claws?

Of course, even if I'm right, which I'm not even sure I am, it wouldn't negate the rest of your thesis, especially with the many other types of robots that absolutely need processors to maintain their balance/movements.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (2, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33159424)

"I can think of only one movie where they had a robot that was clearly Man's physical (as well as mental) superior ; the panther like military robot in "Red Planet""

Apparently never watched the Terminator movies then. Those robots were vastly superior to a human physical form, and only fail because of their vulnerability to large explosions, liquid nitrogen, liquid metal, multiple huge weapons and/or human intellect outwitting them.

Robots are already, and have been for many years, physically superior to a human. That's why we use them for everything from packing sweets to building cars, to disabling bombs, to exploring other planets - they can do things we can never do as a species, and that's why we use them. Their advantages have ALWAYS come from absolute precision, perfect timing and movement, tireless working and the ability to do things quicker than any human ever could. If they were faster, stronger, more accurate, more consistent etc. than us, we'd never bother to use them at all. This is why you have "robots" in your kitchen - your blender, for instance. If I give you dough to mix, or something to chop you cannot ever do it faster than one of those could.

Robots, by nature of their construction and engineering, have always and will always be "better" at a physical task they are designed for. That it's taken this long for a simple wall-climbing robot to catch up is kinda embarrassing because they aren't limited by muscle-strength, can be constructed of very strong but extremely light materials, don't need to keep themselves "alive" as well, and there's enormous tactile and sensor-based response to work from - most wall-climbing robots don't have to do much computer-vision work, if any. When I say to you "learn to climb this wall", ingenuity gets you so far but if you're lacking in muscle and holding a lot of weight, that's your biggest obstacle. With a robot, it's only a matter of cost and construction time. And our ingenuity applied to robots is only ever "make it work like a human" (so *WE* can understand how it does it), "make it work like some animal adapted for that task", or "that's not a robot, it's just a giant wheel that goes up the wall".

Robots in a physical form have always and will always crush us, purely because of the materials they are made of. The beauty is, though, that they are only ever order-followers. They can only do what they are explicitly told to do, only sense what they are explicitly told to sense, and only react how they are explicitly told to react. They may "appear" human but they can't "think outside the box" even when the box is very simple. Otherwise, we'd already be dead.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33159606)

You're right, especially about the shape shifting metal creature (is it a robot? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt).

I think I overlooked the Terminator because although very powerful and hard to kill, it didn't seem very agile, quick or responsive. Maybe that was just Arnold's acting ability though. ;)

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33168954)

Terminator was inconsistent really, at some times super-humanly responsive and at other times incredibly slow to react. The two antagonist terminators in T2 and T3 (T-1000 and TX) were a little bit better, but sometimes not. Sarah Connor Chronicles was much the same way, except for one scene that I felt was more accurate: A terminator sighted and killed with a perfect head-shot the character Derek as he turned a corner... all in under half a second, way faster than any human could ever respond.

So I guess my ultimate judgement is that the terminators were portrayed as too slow, except for some brief moments of exceptionalism.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33160052)

It is interesting that most sci-fi movies portray robots as powerful, even indestructible but slow and sometimes clumsy.

This always bugged me, why the hell every movie robot pauses for couple of seconds before it tries to kill human, or while using minigun / gatling gun always fires half a meter behind person running. Phalangs (sp?) CIWS can kill targets at mach speeds but human running 10 m/s is impossible to kill ? wtf ?

One movie robot I liked was the orb with tentacles thing from The Incredibles - fast and deadly.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33160556)

That's Phalanx [wikipedia.org] , a word borrowed from the Greek language. It means "a group of people standing, or moving forward closely together" - certainly an apt description of the cloud of projectiles from the Phalanx CIWS.

Re:Roboticus Superioritis (1)

MathiasRav (1210872) | more than 3 years ago | (#33162406)

I no longer login because I feel that while attacking a company's products is fair game (specifically Apple), having stories singling out their users as "selfish" and unkind is not "news for nerds stuff that matters". Am I an Apple fanboi? Let's just say I've used NIX for decades (yes I'm old) and I'm not talking OS X.

You know, registered users can have signatures. [slashdot.org]

Automatonum Superioris Maximus Magnus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33167910)

Suggested alternative, feel free to correct.

Invisible wire (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33158680)

There is a wire, you can see it for a frame or two during the video, it pull the thing up. It's not really a climbing robot, it is not autonomous.

Re:Invisible wire (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33158746)

Yeah looks like you are right about the wire. That could just be a failsafe to keep it from dropping, and damaging itself.

Re:Invisible wire (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33158944)

I suspect most people climbing Everest use ropes too. Does that mean homo sapiens is not autonomous, or just sensible enough not to take undue risks.

Re:Invisible wire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33159074)

Sure, but the rope isn't attached to the top of Everest before they start climbing.

Re:Invisible wire (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33164304)

The rope doesn't have to be attached at the top though, it can be attached below you.

Re:Invisible wire (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33159582)

Everest is... an exceptional climb, with its cold, snow, constantly shifting icy surfaces, and poor oxygen at altitude. If you've got a robot that can climb that all the way from the base, or even a crew of robots that can climb it with even 10 times the total mass of support gear and expendable supplies like fuel and oxygen that humans use, I'll be quite empressed.

Swinger (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33158704)

Swinging Robot

Does it try to sleep with my wife?

Re:Swinger (4, Funny)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33158732)

Your wife? Of course not. You might want to hide your smoke detectors though.

We have a slight problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33161836)

I don't know of anyone who carpets their walls

Re:Swinger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33158736)

If you had one, yes.

Re:Swinger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33158750)

Yes I do.

So you have a wife huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33158792)

Is she portable and requires the use of only 1-hand?

No, that's Adam West's wife and if he found out you were cheating with his wife
then he will show-up with the matching rubber glove.

Re:So you have a wife huh? (1)

2phar (137027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33158828)

Is she portable and requires the use of only 1-hand?

No, that's Adam West's wife and if he found out you were cheating with his wife then he will show-up with the matching rubber glove.

WTF comment of the week.

Re:Swinger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33160824)

Swinging Robot

Does it try to sleep with my wife?

Try? No...no try. Swinging robot has succeed!

Gibbons (5, Informative)

Olli_Niemitalo (1626637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33158870)

Gibbon monkeys are probably the fastest climbers, and they keep their momentum by swinging their bodies around their wrists that have ball and socket joints. This robot uses a similar principle.

Re:Gibbons (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33159228)

I was curious to see them, so I searched for Gibbons climbing and ended up watching about an hour of National Geographic videos on various monkeys, starting with Gibbons [nationalgeographic.com] (video continues to other monkeys).

What's so special about a Grandfather clock? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33159474)

And it does so by using the momentum of a tail that swings like a grandfather clock's pendulum."

As opposed to some other kind of pendulum?

Re:What's so special about a Grandfather clock? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#33159718)

Well, it wouldn't work with a torsion pendulum, for instance. There are lots of kinds of pendulums. (pendula?)

Re:What's so special about a Grandfather clock? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33160792)

Well, yes. Other kinds of pendulums would be torsion pendulums, or orbital pendulums, and so on.

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ptdybj (1857594) | more than 3 years ago | (#33159764)

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Swinging robuts?! (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#33161018)

Does this mean we have already jumped to the conclusion that they'll have a propensity for open relationships?

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