Recent developments in the field of robotics includes insect robots. Robotic ants and butterflies as well as two major companies working together on robotic surgery advances are on the move. The group of robotic animals created by robotics company Festo is growing. Recently, German robotics company introduced a hoard of ants as well as a butterfly robot.
The extraordinary animal robots are part of the company’s Bionic Learning Network. According to CNET, the BionicANTS can operate as a team the way real ants do. They communicate and coordinate movements and actions in an impressive collaboration. The ants have a light construction that enables them to fly together. The robots were inspired by the ant’s swam intelligence and physical body. Swarm behavior, or swarming, is a collective behavior exhibited by animals of similar size. They collect and move together, perhaps milling about the same spot or perhaps moving or migrating in some direction. eMotionButterflies are also capable of collaborative behavior. These robotic insects are lightweight and will help researchers and developers fuel robot development in the future.
On another front, according to the Wall Street Journal blog, Google is pooling intellectual property and resources with Ethicon, a part of Johnson & Johnson, to develop robotics to assist surgeons. The deal is anticipated to close in the second quarter. The focus will be minimally-invasive surgery. For example, the da Vinci robotics surgical system for minimally-invasive procedures, including gynecological and prostate surgeries is well known.
Exciting robotic advances and collaborations promise to make the future more efficient and productive. Someday they could even handle the routine daily tasks people dread. After all, the iRobot Roomba is already keeping carpets clean without all the manual labor. As far as insects go, the continues study of their adaptive abilities, mechanical structure and physical movements and responses are essential to the continued success of the robotics industry.