MacDirectory Magazine

Spring-Summer 2012

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 78 of 115

COVER STORY THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF ROBOTS WITH THE HELP OF APPLE INTERVIEW BY MARKIN ABRAS WORDS BY CLAUDIA PAREDES ROBOTICS IN ACTION DARwIn-OP The future has arrived. We now live in a world where robots think and move by themselves. At RoMeLa, the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at Virginia Tech, director Dr. Dennis Hong is working together with students to create robots that are only depicted in the movies. There are currently several ongoing projects at RoMeLa, such as DARwin, the Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence, which is actually designed to be a soccer player. There is STriDER, a 6-foot-tall robot that walks on its three legs. But in addition to entertaining us, these robots are also developing technology to help people. "Most of our robots with unique mobility are used for traversing difficult terrain, for search and rescue or scientific exploration," said Hong. For example, the RAPHAeL robotic hand is an extremely low-cost mechanism for prosthetics application. The new SAFFiR robot is a humanoid robot for fighting fires on Navy ships. Also, HyDRAS , an expert at climbing scaffoldings at construction sites, which help alleviate the dangers of construction workers. There are hundreds of workers who are injured or killed at construction sites every year for inspection tasks, with HyDRAS's help, workers would not have to do such tasks themselves anymore. In addition, the soccer-playing robots have a larger duty than just fun and games, because to make a robot play a game of soccer autonomously, the team needs to solve all the grand challenges in robotics. If a robot cannot even play a game of soccer, how would we be able HyDRAS (climbing snake robot) 77 MacDirectory

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