How To: Build a Six-Axis Positioning Platform From Stuff You Can Buy at the Hardware Store

OK, quick physics review: There are six elementary movements a solid object can make in space—one straight-line movement back and forth along each of the three spatial dimensions, and one rotating movement back and forth around each of those lines. More complex motions (like orbiting while spinning) can always be […]

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New soft robots really suck: Vacuum-powered systems empower diverse capabilities

We introduce a vacuum-powered soft pneumatic actuator (V-SPA) that leverages a single, shared vacuum power supply and enables complex soft robotic systems with multiple degrees of freedom (DoFs) and diverse functions. In addition to actuation, other utilities enabled by vacuum pressure include gripping and stiffening through granular media jamming, as well as direct suction adhesion to smooth surfaces, for manipulation or vertical fixation. We investigate the performance of the new actuator through direct characterization of a 3-DoF, plug-and-play V-SPA Module built from multiple V-SPAs and demonstrate the integration of different vacuum-enabled capabilities with a continuum-style robot platform outfitted with modular peripheral mechanisms. We show that these different vacuum-powered modules can be combined to achieve a variety of tasks—including multimodal locomotion, object manipulation, and stiffness tuning—to illustrate … Read the rest

You Can Make Pretty Much Anything an Instrument Using This DIY Robotics Kit

There’s a long tradition of robotic music production, from player pianos and glitchy electronic music of Felix’s Machines to the steam-driven “power trio” Z-Machines. Much of the electro-mechanical process, however, remains quite esoteric to most. With dadamachines, a DIY robot music toolkit, Berlin-based creative technologist Johannes Lohbihler wants to make this type of musical creation accessible to just about everyone. A plug-and-play MIDI-controller and accessories kit, which Lohbihler is now crowdfunding, dadamachines allows users to build live automatic shows as well as musical setups for recording.

Lohbihler tells Creators that his passion for building music robots grew out of an interest in combining interaction design with tangible interfaces, specifically for music. For him, dadamachines—which the band joasihno recently took on tour—is a way of … Read the rest

Build a Simple Cocktail Drinkbot with Arduino

Big parties need a conversation piece, and what’s better than a drink-making robot? Not only is it a good conversation starter, it also frees up the party host who would normally be the bartender. It turned out that the drink robot was a really good idea. The Mai Tai recipe presented here […]

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Instrument flight to the inner ear

Surgical robot systems can work beyond the limits of human perception, dexterity, and scale, making them inherently suitable for use in microsurgical procedures. However, despite extensive research, image-guided robotics applications for microsurgery have seen limited introduction into clinical care to date. Among others, challenges are geometric scale and haptic resolution at which the surgeon cannot sufficiently control a device outside the range of human faculties. Mechanisms are required to ascertain redundant control on process variables that ensure safety of the device, much like instrument flight in avionics. Cochlear implantation surgery is a microsurgical procedure, in which specific tasks are at submillimetric scale and exceed reliable visuo-tactile feedback. Cochlear implantation is subject to intra- and interoperative variations, leading to potentially inconsistent clinical and audiological outcomes for patients. … Read the rest