Today In Robotics

Fold-Up Unmanned Vehicles, Biomedical Micro-Robot, The Weird-7 DIY, and ESA's Mars Rover...

Following-up on Monday's Gizmodo Ink, The National Forest Service in Utah is testing a fleet of robotic fire-fighting planes. "Some of the aircrafts can be carried in a backpack, unfolded, then dispatched day or night to spy on a fire." They are also equipped with cameras and infrared night vision (the benefit of flying by night is that these bots would not interfere with the manned planes that drop fire retardant). The planes communicate with one another and beam back real-time monitoring of the fire's spread.

These planes have a wingspan of 5 feet, weigh only 15 pounds, and can fly for up to six hours. An experiment with larger drones will begin next spring in California.
Fold-Up Robot Planes Could Help Fight Fires [KSL.com]
Fighting Wildfires with Robotic Planes [Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends]
MLB BAT UAV [MLB Company]

A team of scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland have successfully tested a microscopic robot that could be injected into the human body with a syringe. Unlike other micro-surgical robotic creations, this one is not battery or electric cable powered. Instead, the bot is guided by an external magnetic field. The minimally invasive robot, which is about four hair-widths long, was successfully demonstrated using a watery maze but would eventually be targeted to blood vessels in the heart, eyes and ears.

"The application we're actively considering is eye surgery in which these devices are guided inside the eye toward the retina by a surgeon to inject drugs in retinal veins that are about the size of a human hair," said team leader Brad Nelson, professor of robotics and intelligent systems.
Microscopic Robots Head For Surgery [Discovery Channel]

Today In Robotics


The folks who brought you the Weird-72 are back with a sequel: The Weird-7. This walking, googley-eyed, 14-inch high dipping bird DIY robot kit sells for $350 US. Functionality? No idea.
The Weird-7 DIY Robot Kit [Probotics]

The European Space Agency has scrapped the mission plan from the team behind Beagle 2 and is now pinning its Mars aspirations on a single rover robot. The craft is scheduled to blast off in June 2011, and reach Mars in June 2013.
Europe Ponders On Mars Robot [Sofia News Agency]