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

A Parisian Artist Draws Where’s Waldo-esque Labyrinths Full of Robots

Whether he’s drawing a suburban neighborhood, a day at the zoo, or an industrial robot assembly line, French artist Theo Guignard’s illustrations are easy to get lost in. His drawings are dense, often packed with characters Where’s Waldo-style or maze-like geometric shapes. Guignard pulls in work for magazines like Usbek & Rica, and created a short animated film for Lyft last year. His true fascination seems to lie with robots, including multiple sci-fi worlds in his 2015 book Labyrinths, and tiny androids in several Adventure Time-esque commissions. He also released intricate illustrations of giant robots to tease a new book called Titans, out later this year. Check out his work in the Instagrams below.

Follow Theo Guignard’s work … Read the rest

Automated, Tablet-Heavy Restaurant Sued For Being Inaccessible to the Blind

Eatsa, a fully automated San Francisco-based restaurant chain, serves an assortment of quinoa bowls with a twist—and that twist is that customers don’t have to speak to, interact with, or even make eye contact with any other humans. All of the orders are placed either on touchscreens or through an iPhone app, and its signature quinoa bowls appear in an illuminated cubby, usually in three minutes or less. That’s great news for those of us who love both efficiency and our robot overlords, but—according to a new lawsuit—it’s discriminatory to the blind.

On Thursday, the American Council for the Blind and Michael Godino, a legally blind New York resident, filed a suit against the seven-location chain, alleging that the restaurant’s kiosks violated civil-rights laws. According to … Read the rest

This Week in Making: A Zelda Ocarina, Robotic Darts, and Pi…Pie?

The 2017 Hackaday Project started just last Monday. The event is divided into five different challenges spread throughout the year with over $250K in cash prizes. The first challenge, Design Your Concept, continues through May 1. Those who wish to participate are tasked with creating something that will assist with exploring the unexplored. Creators need […]

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The post This Week in Making: A Zelda Ocarina, Robotic Darts, and Pi…Pie? appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.… Read the rest

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