The most unusual animal robots.

The most unusual animal robots.

The robot fauna is not limited to dogs from Boston Dynamics. We tell you which other animals inspire developers and what tasks people solve with the help of such robots.

MetaBird is a biomimetic drone from Bionic Bird. Its flight is almost indistinguishable from the flight of real birds.

The drone weighs less than 10 grams and has no propellers, making it maneuverable and safe for others. The device is equipped with flexible wings made of carbon fiber and liquid crystal polymers, and the body itself is made of durable foam, so it is not afraid of drops and bumps.

MetaBird has a built-in miniature lithium-polymer battery that allows the toy to fly autonomously for 10 minutes. You can control the drone from your smartphone through the application: just tilt your phone to the right or left.

Autonomous robot – a bat. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have recreated key bat flight mechanisms in the Bat Bot robot. It weighs 93 grams and flies with easily expandable silicone membrane wings. The robot can change the shape of the wings, bend and unbend them, twist the shoulders, elbows, wrists and legs.

A computer and sensors are built into the head of the Bat Bot, and five micromotors are located along the spine. Thanks to this, the robot imitates the flight of mammals well and does not need remote control. In the air, it moves autonomously: it can glide smoothly, perform bank turns and steep dives.

The researchers suggest that thanks to flexible wings, robotic bats are more energy efficient than other flying robots. Lightweight and agile, Bat Bots are useful where traditional quadcopters can collide with objects or people causing damage or injury, such as on construction sites.

Bats use over 40 joints during flight, the Bat Bot design has nine. However, its flight is almost indistinguishable from that of an animal.

Salamander robot Pleurobot. Pleurobot, created by researchers at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL), can walk on land, swim underwater and navigate between the two with equal success. To develop the robot, scientists used x-rays of the salamander and studied how its skeleton works during movement.

The low center of gravity, which allows the robot to move over rough terrain without losing balance, and the ability to swim can make it a useful tool for search and rescue operations. With this robot, the researchers also plan to study the interaction between the spinal cord, the body and the environment. According to project leader Auke Eispeert, understanding the basis of this interaction will help develop therapies and neuroprosthetic devices for paraplegics and amputees.

The design of Pleurobot allows the robot to perform more complex movements that a real salamander cannot do.

Underwater snake-robot Eelume. The snake-like body allows you to effectively move not only on land, but also in water. Acne is a direct proof of this. Norwegian robotics company Eelume borrowed this mold to create a self-propelled, autonomous robot. Thanks to its thin and flexible body, it can function in confined spaces where conventional underwater vehicles cannot cope.

The Eelume robot snake is well suited for inspections and light repairs of underwater structures such as offshore wind farms, fish farms, oil and gas facilities and pipelines. The device consists of modules that can be interconnected in various combinations depending on the task. The device is charged from the docking station, which is located on the seabed, so it can be constantly under water and not depend on weather conditions.

Robot cockroach CRAM. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a prototype CRAM robot that looks like a cockroach. Scientists were inspired by the unique way of movement of insects and their immunity to damage. CRAM has an exoskeleton made up of strong plates and a soft shell that allows it to change shape and fit into very narrow crevices.
Such a cockroach robot can help in the search and rescue of people from the rubble formed as a result of tornadoes, earthquakes and explosions.

To develop the robot, the researchers studied how the cockroach’s body reacts to different environmental conditions.
CRAM is not the only robot whose creators have inspired.
Another group of researchers from the University of Berkeley has developed a similar robot called VelociRoACH.

Sony AIBO Puppy Robot. AIBO is a robot dog from Sony. The first consumer model was introduced in 1999, and in 2007 the robot was discontinued. In 2018, Sony revived the robot pup using advanced mechatronics and artificial intelligence. The new AIBO has become smarter and more realistic than its predecessors: it can recognize facial expressions and voice commands of its owner and respond to them. The bot learns tricks through the My AIBO app, which can also be used to customize the puppy’s gender, eyes, color, and voice.

AIBO behaves like a normal puppy: shows curiosity to unfamiliar things, barks to get attention. But unlike a live dog, you can simply turn it off.

Joy for All companion cats and puppies look like plush toys and sound like real pets. Cats have soft fur, soothing purrs and meows. Puppies react to the sound of the owner’s voice, caresses, hugs and movements in the same way as real ones, but do not require special care and feeding.

The possibility of interactive communication with a companion robot improves the quality of life of the elderly
Robodog is also produced by Tombot. This robot looks almost like a real Labrador puppy and, as conceived by the developers, should solve the problem of elderly people who need a friend, but they are not able to care for a live dog. The founder of the company was inspired to create such a companion by his mother. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and could no longer pay attention to her golden retriever, to whom she was very attached. The dog became aggressive towards the owner, and this aggravated the woman’s depression and feelings of loneliness.

Tombot is one of the most realistic examples of robotic emotional support animals.
Companion robots can solve the problem of loneliness and social isolation in the elderly and people with cognitive impairments. As part of a study funded by the US insurance company UnitedHealthcare, robots were distributed free of charge to 271 elderly people. According to a pre-study survey, they all suffered from loneliness. The results showed that after 30 and 60 days spent with robotic pets, the participants in the study had improved mental well-being. They have become more optimistic and purposeful.

Therapeutic robot seal PARO. PARO is a therapeutic companion robot developed by Dr. Takanori Shibata of the Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The robot looks like a baby harp seal, only it has sound, light, temperature, position, and tactile sensors. PARO can move its tail and flippers, open its eyes when petted, and mimic the sounds of a real baby seal. It reacts to words its wearer frequently uses and can express emotions such as surprise, happiness, and anger.

Communication with PARO has the same effect as therapy with real animals. Patients showed an improvement in psychological and physiological parameters, as well as social activity.
The therapeutic effect of PARO is confirmed by studies. Japanese scientists found that older people with dementia showed more positive emotions and laughed more when interacting with an interactive robotic animal than with a simple plush toy. Dutch scientists concluded that the introduction of PARO into the practice of daily face-to-face psychogeriatric care can improve the quality of life of older people. A team of scientists from Israel and Germany studied the impact of human-robot interaction on happiness, oxytocin levels in saliva, and pain perception on a group of men and women. The results showed that touching PARO improved mood, reduced the perception of pain and, surprisingly, lowered levels of the “cuddle
hormone” oxytocin in saliva.

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