A new kind of National Geographic

Posted: Jun 09, 2015 01:34 pm EDT

(Tina Sjogren) Brainchild of an inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, for over a century National Geographic brought the world tales of new lands and creatures.


Most of the ground now discovered, Graham Bell - had he lived today - may have turned his attention to greater horizons: Space of course, and new species created by man himself.


Take the new cheetah: Built by MIT it is the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.


The robot uses LIDAR and path-planing algorithm (think Google self-driving cars) to estimate an obstacle’s height and distance and adjusts its stride and jumping force as it runs. Thus far the cheetah cleared obstacles more than half of the robot’s own height — while maintaining an average running speed of 5 miles per hour.


Robot riders


Over in the middle East, artisan engineers are building a new kind of racing jockeys.


Camel racing, part of Arabian culture for centuries,  has been much criticized lately for using (often trafficked) children to ride animals much bigger than their size. 


The new jockeys, weighing only a few pounds each, are handmade out of shops in the U.A.E.


Drilled in bulk, complete with rechargeable batteries, remote clickers and a spinning silk whip; the robots fetch a price of around $500 bucks each.


The robots sit on molded metal saddles when they race and owners activate them over handheld radios from trailing cars. The radios are also used to speak remotely to the camels themselves.


Put a robot jockey on a robot cheetah and there's your cover for NatGeo anno 2000+.









Camel Racing with robot jockeys
courtesy Ingulfed.com, SOURCE
MIT cheetah robot lands the running jump
courtesy MIT, SOURCE
One of the older, bigger robots used for camel racing.
courtesy AFP, SOURCE
Robots that can adapt like animals (Nature cover article)

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