The Department of Defense wants you to design a pack of robots that would hunt humans. Or, as they put it, “search for and detect a non-cooperative human subject”. While the project brings to mind Terminators, there are also non-terrifying uses for these robots, including search and rescue missions. The robots should be about 100 kilograms or less, provide immediate feedback, and defer to a human operator in the event of a difficult decision. This project presents some interesting challenges for robot designers. They’ll need to consider several key issues, like robot cooperation and decision-making abilities. We knew it was only a matter of time before the DoD turned the Grand Challenge into Death Race.
[via Warren Ellis]
European researchers in the I-SWARM project are hard at work developing small, autonomous robots that can work together and communicate to perform different functions. They successfully built two types of robots: the I-SWARM, and the Jasmine robots. The I-SWARM robots are three millimeters in size, are powered by a solar cell, and move by vibration. The Jasmine robots are the size of two-Euro coins, have small wheels, and are powered by battery. These tiny robots have several advantages over their bulky predecessors, such as high redundancy, greater flexibility, and the ability to manage tough terrain. They could even be used to repair larger robots. They also come with distinct challenges. Because of their minuscule size, programming memory is necessarily limited, and the team had to come up with special algorithms to manage and control the machines. Though they haven’t been able to meet their goal of making a thousand of them, the researchers are hopeful and confident about their abilities to mass produce the robots cheaply.
[Colin] sent in his prototype for the Defcon bot contest. The performance of the bot in the video is impressive. Hit it after the break. His build looks clean and simple – he even managed to score some sponsorship in the form of pololu servo controllers. Targeting the moving white sensor reminds me of the old MacGuyver episode with the lethal heat seeking robots.
If you’re working on any attack bots, feel free to let us know via the tips line.
Update: I woke up to realize that I forgot to embed the video. It should work now.
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