Cool video on the uBot-5 from UMass Amherst.The uBot-5 is dynamically stable, using two wheels in a differential drive configuration for mobility. Dynamically stable robots are well suited to environments designed for humans where both a high center of mass and a small footprint are often required.
Baby boomers are set to retire, and robots are ready to help, providing elder care and improving the quality of life for those in need. … The uBOT-5 carries a Web cam, a microphone, and a touch-sensitive LCD display that acts as an interface for communication with the outside world. ?Grandma can take the robot?s hand, lead it out into the garden and have a virtual visit with a grandchild who is living on the opposite coast,? says Grupen, who notes that isolation can lead to depression in the elderly.
Grupen studied developmental neurology in his quest to create a robot that could do a variety of tasks in different environments. The uBot-5?s arm motors are analogous to the muscles and joints in our own arms, and it can push itself up to a vertical position if it falls over. It has a “spinal cord” and the equivalent of an inner ear to keep it balanced on its Segway-like wheels.
Such robots have a huge market waiting for them if engineers can provide models that can be useful at the right price. The future of such efforts looks very promising.