Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Live Turtle Bot Maneuvered With Remote Control - via Herp Digest

Megan Gannon, News Editor, Live Science, 4/22/13 

Video at 

This video still shows a red-eared slider being guided along a set path. The half-cylinder device on the animal's back swings around to simulate obstacles, causing it to turn. 

Instead of making a robot from scratch, why not start with a turtle? With a simple, non-invasive device attached to its shell, a live red-eared slider could be steered like a remote-controlled toy car — a slow one at least, new research shows. 

While some robot-makers have drawn inspiration from the animal kingdom, others have quite literally used animals as starter kits, exploiting their natural intelligence and mechanics that have taken millions of years to evolve. Engineers have previously created part-robot insects like cockroaches, moths, beetles with electrical implants that poke at the critters' neural circuits or muscles to control them. There were even murmurings a few years ago about military researchers being interested in making a cyborg shark with neural implants to remotely manipulate its brain signals. 

But the new study on turtles took a less invasive approach. The team of researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) showed they could direct a turtle's voluntary movements with a remote-controlled prosthetic that would simulate objects in its way.

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