These 8 Technologies Could Make Robots Better - InformationWeek

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4/10/2015
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David Wagner
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These 8 Technologies Could Make Robots Better

Robots are collections of technologies. Which technologies meant for other industries will find their way into robots soon?
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Tricorder, Part One

Robots need to see. But unlike you and me, seeing the visual spectrum is the least of their worries. During the week of April 6, two different technologies were announced at two different universities on two separate continents that both bring the Star Trek Tricorder closer to reality. The University of Tel Aviv created a smartphone camera-sized sensor (larger prototype pictured) that allows them to analyze the chemical compounds of an object from a distance. They can 'scan' the object and compare it to an existing database to see what the object is made of. The researchers see major uses in the consumer electronics, and automotive industry. I assume that if it can fit into a smartphone, it can easily fit into the sensor array of all robots allowing them to help in all sorts of industrial applications, mining, and inspection. 

(Image: Tel Aviv University)

Tricorder, Part One

Robots need to see. But unlike you and me, seeing the visual spectrum is the least of their worries. During the week of April 6, two different technologies were announced at two different universities on two separate continents that both bring the Star Trek Tricorder closer to reality. The University of Tel Aviv created a smartphone camera-sized sensor (larger prototype pictured) that allows them to analyze the chemical compounds of an object from a distance. They can "scan" the object and compare it to an existing database to see what the object is made of. The researchers see major uses in the consumer electronics, and automotive industry. I assume that if it can fit into a smartphone, it can easily fit into the sensor array of all robots allowing them to help in all sorts of industrial applications, mining, and inspection.

(Image: Tel Aviv University)

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Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2015 | 7:32:36 AM
Batteries and Storing Energy
The battery is an important component of many industries. The starter battery was developed because a mass automotive industry continued to evolve and expand, creating the demand and economies of scale at a point where research was feasible. Similarly, the automotive, datacenters and power distribution companies, etc., created the demand that allowed research into deep-cycle batteries and the handheld consumer device market has helped advance the Lithium-ion battery to its current state of efficiency.

Robotics is yet another industry in which the battery is a major component. It will be interesting to see if this industry adopts the Lithium-ion battery that has a specific energy of 175 Wh/Kg or the Aluminum air battery that has a specific energy of 1300 Wh/Kg -- Aluminum is around 7 times better!

Or maybe, Flywheel batteries could be used. These have a specific energy of 120 Wh/Kg. I am assuming that it is easier to discharge/drain a mechanical battery from a distance than, it is to discharge a chemical battery -- a feature that is extremely useful in a revolutionary i,Robot type revolt.
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