Frugal robotics: Sweeping change

Discussion in 'Internal Security' started by Virendra, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    An unsung innovation story with huge potential in domestic application scenarios.

    Frugal robotics: Sweeping change | The Economist

    ... ON SEPTEMBER 18th, 2005, a week after the fourth anniversary of the deadly September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, Fahad Azad, a 23-year-old from India, was detained at Dubai airport. His metal briefcase had set off a security alarm during a routine baggage inspection. Mr Azad, an automobile-engineering student, must have seen this coming. The briefcase, a potpourri of electronic items included a gadget which had an uncanny resemblance to PackBot, a military robot used by American ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In reality, it was a harmless device designed to sneak into hard-to-reach air-conditioning ducts and clean them. An amused security team at the airport let him off but not before a thorough (verbal) demonstration of how the device works.

    “They couldn’t believe that the robot was an Indian creation,” recalls Mr Azad who later christened the contraption DuctBot. After countless revisions, the 2.5kg unit now resembles a miniature Buick Bug from 1910. Mr Azad chose to mount the DuctBot on wheels rather than mechanical limbs because they offer more energy-efficient locomotion and are easier to steer. This is done using a wireless Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2) joystick over the 2.45GHz radio-frequency band used in remote-controlled toys. The PS2 joystick is much easier to use than industrial devices, which are also five times more expensive. (The robot also responds to Nintendo Wii’s motion-control interface, but the Wii has not yet found any takers. “People here find it funny to move their arms and legs to drive the robot,” explains Mr Azad.) .....

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