AI News, Video Friday: Mini Surgical Robot, Precision Drones, and Bioinspired Robotics at Harvard

Video Friday: Mini Surgical Robot, Precision Drones, and Bioinspired Robotics at Harvard

When you have a brand new robot to show the world, it’s not always easy to come up with a demo that will attract attention, especially if your robot does stuff that’s (and forgive us for saying this) inherently kind of boring.

PRENAV (which I’m going to call Prenav so that I don’t get a headache) is introducing an aerial robot that can inspect tall structures, and what’s impressive about it is that it can (through the assistance of another robot on the ground) localize itself withcentimeter-level accuracy.

If I’m reading this right, the entire robot gets stuck inside your abdomen for the procedure: In contrast to today’s large mainframe-like robots that reach into the body from outside thepatient, Virtual Incision’s less-invasive robot platform design features a small, self-containedsurgical device that is inserted in its entirety through a single incision in the patient’s abdomen.Designed to utilize existing tools and techniques familiar to surgeons, Virtual Incision’s robot willnot require a dedicated operating room or specialized infrastructure, and, because of its much smaller size, is expected to be significantly less expensive than existing robotic alternatives forlaparoscopic surgery.

The custom-built miniature receiver and antenna provide real-time information on radio-tracked wildlife, which are mapped live on a laptop.Lead researcher Dr Debbie Saunders from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society said the drones have successfully detected tiny radio transmitters weighing as little as one gram.

Baxter was designed for manufacturing, but as a research robot, it’s so easy to program and use that places like CMU are getting very creative with teaching the robot to help people: CMU researchers are experimenting with Baxter for several applications, with visions of a smart city future in mind.

By looking at natural intelligence, collective behavior, biomechanics, and material properties not found in manmade systems, scientists at the Wyss Institute and around the world are building new kinds of robots that can co-exist and coordinate with humans.

She gave a talk at TEDWomen 2015 back in May on “robots that fly, tunnel, swim and crawl through disaster scenes, helping firefighters and rescue workers save more lives safely — and help communities return to normal up to three years faster.”