Robot Revolution

“When it comes to robots, we’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities!”

I entered the Museum of Science and Industry this morning with wide eyes and a childlike curiosity.  As soon as we pulled up outside, we were greeted by a large banner of a robot.  I exclaimed, “Okay, I don’t care how much it costs we have to go see that exhibit!”

The exhibit, coined “Robot Revolution”, features over a dozen robots, each manufactured for different tasks and abilities.  When you first enter the exhibit, you’ll be greeted by RoboThespian.

RoboThespian:

RoboThespian is a life-sized humanoid robot designed for human interaction.  He is made of steel and plastic but moves just like a human.  I noticed he fidgets his fingers and moves his eyes around while singing and acting.  He is fully interactive, multilingual, and user-friendly, making it the perfect companion to communicate and entertain.

Click here to learn more about RoboThespian.

EKSO:

Next, I saw an exoskeleton in real life!  Even though I have written about them before, it was interesting to see one in person.  In case you’re unfamiliar, exoskeletons are designed to benefit persons who are unable to walk such as those with:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • And more

Exoskeletons can provide mobility once they’re attached to the user.  In other words, they can help people with different mobility impairments learn to walk!

Click here to learn more about EKSO Bionics.

FANUC Delta Robot:

Remember that hilarious episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel get jobs at an assembly line?  Everything ended up going too quickly and they weren’t able to keep up.  This is where the FANUC Delta Robot comes into play.  The FANUC robot is one of the more common robots found in today’s society.  It is commonly used in factory assembly lines due to its ability to select and sort items with precision and speed.

Click here to learn more about FANUC Robotics.

VERSABALL:

The VERSABALL was one of my favorites from today’s exhibit as I could see myself using it multiple times daily.  Every single day I find myself dropping medicine, money, pens, and other small objects.  The VERSABALL is a highly adaptable squishy gripper.  To use, simply drop the inflated ball on the object, and the particles inside the gripper surround the item to pick it up!  Amazing!

Click here to learn more about VERSABALL.

EMYS:

Humans have dozens of muscles in their faces that express a few basic emotions and communicate subtle messages.  EMYS’ design was inspired by these facts.  In sum, it is a robotic head with a friendly appearance and outstanding interactive capabilities.  He is able to move, speak, and express emotions.

What’s fascinating about EMYS is how his developers chose to design him.  He is very expressive and emotional but doesn’t look too humanlike.  “Three independent discs move when he speaks, and his eyes effectively express a wide range of emotions.  At the exhibit, however, EMYS was limited to showing the following emotions:

  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Afraid
  • Surprised
  • Happy

Click here to learn more about EMYS.

LiDAR:

Have you heard about self-driving cars yet?  There are many prototypes available, but the Google Car in this particular exhibit used sensors called LiDAR (“light” + “radar”).  The description on the LiDAR reads as follows:

“The Google self-driving car’s software combines GPS data and sensor information to tell the car where it’s located.  Sensors also give 360-degree information about other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and random hazards that run into the road.  The software predicts what is likely to happen next based on learning from past experience. It takes all the information and chooses a safe speed and route, taking care of the driving so riders can enjoy the journey.”

Click here to learn more about LiDAR.

The exhibit will be at the Museum of Science and Industry until February 4, 2018.  Click here to learn more!