In a robot uprising, humanity still should have one slim hope: if we flee to the beaches, our robot overlords might fall over on the soft, shifting sand dunes. Now roboticists have solved that one robotic flaw. Gee, thanks, guys.
At the moment, robots aren't really capable of navigating deserts or beaches. The sand particles don't provide a stable enough surface, and oftentimes the robot's feet will sink into the sand. Robotic balancing systems are designed with hard, stable surfaces in mind, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what sand has to offer. What's more, the balance system gets into conflict with the robot's built-in accelerometers, which send it messages that its feet aren't steady.
Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have set out to solve this problem. Shunsuke Komizunai and his team created a human-sized robot foot and then made pressed it into a box of sand. By applying different amounts of force, the team could simulate robots of different weights walking. By collecting data from these experiments, they can create new software that can compensate for loose, uneven terrain like sand. They presented their findings at the recent eighth international conference on flow dynamics, and they say they are now ready to move forward.
And, just like that, another one of humanity's dwindling advantages over robots is taken away. Honestly, it's like these roboticists aren't even considering the robot uprising thing at all.
Via New Scientist.