This Robot Jedi Will Literally Blow Your Mind

Jesusrollerbladinginspandexchrist-alive. I've watched this video of a robot jedi—making all kinds of objects float across complex paths in midair—about ten times, and I still can't believe what I'm seeing. But it's 100% real, and as impressive as BigDog.


The Airbot doesn't use any magic, just a computer-controlled gimbaled air jet, "powered by a 620kPa using a direct current motor-controlled valve." Which to me sounds like magic, but whatever.

It has been developed at the University of Illinois by Aaron Becker and Robert Sandheinrich, helped by professor Timothy Bretl. The air-stream can lift any spherical and non-spherical object up to 188 grams and 97mm in radius. That includes a ping-pong ball, a bottle of water, an apple, an orange, or an onion—which will get peeled too.

It seems like an April's Fool, but the "Automated Manipulation of Spherical Objects in Three Dimensions Using a Gimbaled Air Jet" was officially presented at IROS 2009, The 2009 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent RObots and Systems. According to their research paper, it could be used to sort small parts or handle delicate objects in production lines. [University of Illinois via IEEE via BotJunkie]

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