Category Archives: Robotics

3D Printing & its Application

3d printing

3D printing is based on methods of applying a 2D image on a 3D surface, a system for generating three-dimensional objects by creating a cross-sectional pattern of the object to be formed. 3D scanning is the process of analyzing and collecting data of real object; its shape and appearance and builds digital, three dimensional models.

3D Printing employs additive layer processes, where successive layers of materials are laid down in different shapes. Some companies offer on-line 3D printing services open to both consumers and industries. Such services require people to upload their 3D designs to the company website. Designs are then 3D printed using industrial 3D printers and either shipped to the customer or in some cases; the consumer can pick the object up at the store.

3D printing works under computer control and is a limited type of industrial robotics that is capable of carrying out an additive process. The 3D printer can print with anything that can be dispensed from a syringe as liquid or paste.

The 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military engineering, civil engineering, dental and medical industries, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, footwear, jewellery, eyewear, education, geographic information systems, food, and many other fields. Even the first working blueprint to produce a plastic gun with a 3D printer was available on a website in May 2013 (removed later on from the site)!

China has committed around $500 million towards the establishment of national 3-D printing development institutes. In 2013, Chinese scientists began printing ears, livers and kidneys, with living tissue instead of plastic successfully using specialized 3D bio print.

[Credit – G. Kesavan Nair (Thiruvananthapuram)]

Robots to Find Victims Trapped under Debris

earthquake debris

A city-based organisation Hyderabad Science Society (HSS) has developed prototype of a robot, which can help in finding victims trapped under debris after earthquakes or building-collapse incidents.

This one feet long robot can be sent inside the debris to collect information about trapped victims. It is attached with two cameras, speakers and a microphone, will capture images and send the data back to personnel supervising the rescue operations.

The field trials of this prototype are going at HSS lab and reserachers expect this work to complete over the next 6-8 months.

Established in 1948, HSS is a non-profit organisation with objectives among promotion of science and technology by establishing laboratories for undertaking experimental work and applied sciences.

First Bionic Hand feels Touch

Bionic_arm

The world’s first bionic hand which feels a real human touch have been created. A Danish man who lost his left hand in an accident nearly a decade ago has become the first to receive a bionic hand that feels in real time.

This neuro-prosthetics hand was wired to the nerves in his upper arm. It has helped the man grasp objects intuitively and identify what he was touching while being blind folded. This is the first sensory-enhanced artificial limb, created by Silvestro Micera and his team at EPFL (Switzerland) and SSSA (Italy).

The electrodes of this neuro-prosthetics were removed from arm after one month due to safety restrictions imposed on clinical trials, although the scientists are optimistic that they could remain implanted and functional without damage to the nervous system for many years.

World’s First Bionic Man

rex

The world’s first bionic man Rex, created using nearly $1 million-worth of state-of-the-art limbs and organs was unveiled at London’s Science Museum on Feb 7, 2013. Rex, which stands for “robotic exoskeleton”, is the work of by UK roboticists Richard Walker and Matthew Godden with the support of the Wellcome Trust.

The idea of Bionic robot was conceved by Bertolt Meyer, a social psychologist from Switzerland who has a bionic hand himself. This robot is a joint effort of over 18 companies and universities and for the first time gives tangible hope that replacing body parts with man-made alternatives can finally be possible.

The science behind Rex’s limbs and organs has already made an impact in the real world. Rex has arms, a battery-powered heart, eyes and ears, plastic blood, weight-balanced feet and ankles, artificial pancreas, spleen, trachea, and kidney. The bionic man successfully simulates about two-thirds of the human body. But he lacks a few major organs, including a liver, stomach and intestines, which are still too complex to replicate in a lab.

The bionic man brings up some ethical and philosophical questions: Does creating something so human-like threaten notions of what it means to be human? What amount of body enhancement is acceptable? And is it wrong that only some people have access to these life-extending technologies?