WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD
Fancy testing a nuclear zone for radioactivity? How about crawling between cracks and defusing bombs? No? Scanning roadworks for damage and simultaneously repairing it? Some jobs simply aren’t meant for humans and that’s where the robots come in.
Today, #BusinessFest welcomed scores of the most advanced robotics being developed across the UK. We spoke to their creators to find out what they do and how their technology is being used to help mankind.
This bot stands for Continuous, Automated, Radiation, Monitoring, Assistance. It’s designed to map radioactive contamination in 3D for eventual use in the nuclear industry. Arron Griffiths, Research Associate at the University of Manchester, created the machine to protect people. “Dangerous levels of radioactivity can cause cancer, deformities in unborn children and even death. CARMA 2 can help to prevent this by getting in there first and telling people if it’s safe or not to go back.”
Corin, as you might have guessed, is a spider robot. Its six legs get into all kinds of dangerous nooks and crannies, inspecting crevices and ‘manipulating’ objects. The mobile hexapod bot moves autonomously, adapting to its surroundings, delivering ‘pay-loads’ like tools, work packages and data. It can even carry out decommissioning tasks like removing dangerous weapons or devices. Picture yourself trapped in a cave, with a bomb about to go off. This is the bot you want to see.
Discover more at http://www.uomrobotics.com/
Magnetic Utility System (MagnUS) is the smallest bot here, by design. The miniature magnetic, wall-climbing robot’s job is to navigate through networks upon networks of pipes and report any damage.
This might sound fairly simple. But when you take into account the numerous obstacles it will face (such as low-radius bends, vertical piping, T-sections, valve and diameter changes) you realise what a nifty little bot this is.
Andy Barber, Experimental Officer at the University of Leeds, explained: “Magnus can detect a small fault before it becomes a big one. Investment in bots like this can protect services for millions of people and save millions of pounds in repairs. These little things are the future.”
ROAD REPAIR DRONE
You’re going to love this one. This drone not only finds minor faults in the road, its inbuilt 3D printer actually repairs them before they become head-bumping, suspension-busting potholes.
Part of Leeds University’s ‘Self-Repairing Cities Project’ this drone’s impact could also reduce those dreaded traffic jams. Andy explained: “Think about it, roads repaired in time don’t need major roadworks; that’s what I love about this technology. It can be so much more responsive than man ever could.”
Today we met scores of robotic engineers and experts, each with a clear vision of the many applications this advanced technology could have. They were talking to each other, enthusiastically sharing ideas and in the process taking the industry further, through passion commitment and most importantly, collaboration.
The robots above each have practical jobs to do. But one little (super-cute) ‘dog’ bot we met (pictured) was designed to offer companionship to elderly people. Another helped sensory-deprived children better experience the world around them.
It struck us that these robots can help mankind in all sorts of ways, in business, but also in our daily lives. Don’t think of robots as cold, emotionless job takers; think of them as smart, capable sidekicks, ready to help, wherever they can.