Fun video showing how scientists use Lego Mindstorm robots to aid research into creating artificial bones. Lego Mindstorm robots are useful at a very reasonable price.
The webcast also includes this practical quote from Michelle Oyen, lecturer in the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University: “without your bones you would be a pile of goo lying on the floor.”
The thinking discussed in the webcast echos the lean manufacturing principles discussed in the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog: finding good solutions to aid people in doing their jobs. The type of custom solutions they discuss here are great.
This type of use of technology is great. One of the problems we often see with technology solutions though is when they are imposed on the workplace in a way that doesn’t aid people. There is a big difference between what Toyota does (using robots to make people’s jobs easier) and what others do in trying to copy Toyota (using robots to eliminate jobs). Lean manufacturing stressed the importance of using brainpower people bring to work every day. You want to use technology to enable people. These scientists understand that. Unfortunately many managers don’t.