Awesome Robot: uBot-5

Posted on July 22, 2008  Comments (5)

Cool video on the uBot-5 from UMass Amherst.

The uBot-5 is dynamically stable, using two wheels in a differential drive configuration for mobility. Dynamically stable robots are well suited to environments designed for humans where both a high center of mass and a small footprint are often required.

via: Pop Culture and Engineering Intersect

Toyota has long been interested in personal robot assistants. And the uBot-5, under development at UMass-Amherst, is also looking to meeting that need: Robot developed by computer scientists to assist with elder care:

Baby boomers are set to retire, and robots are ready to help, providing elder care and improving the quality of life for those in need.

The uBOT-5 carries a Web cam, a microphone, and a touch-sensitive LCD display that acts as an interface for communication with the outside world. “Grandma can take the robot’s hand, lead it out into the garden and have a virtual visit with a grandchild who is living on the opposite coast,” says Grupen, who notes that isolation can lead to depression in the elderly.

Grupen studied developmental neurology in his quest to create a robot that could do a variety of tasks in different environments. The uBot-5’s arm motors are analogous to the muscles and joints in our own arms, and it can push itself up to a vertical position if it falls over. It has a “spinal cord” and the equivalent of an inner ear to keep it balanced on its Segway-like wheels.

Such robots have a huge market waiting for them if engineers can provide models that can be useful at the right price. The future of such efforts looks very promising.

Related: WALL-E Robots Coming into Massachusetts HomesRobot NurseToyota iUnitAnother Humanoid Robot

5 Responses to “Awesome Robot: uBot-5”

  1. Robots will eat your (elderly) loved ones! | Thomas David Wright
    July 23rd, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

    […] thanks to Curious Cat for warning me of the latest tactic of the evil robot insurgency – penetration of the homes of our […]

  2. Michael
    July 25th, 2008 @ 11:34 am

    Didn’t Rosie (the robot on Jetsons) have one wheel she balanced on? We have nearly advanced to the technology of the Jetsons!

  3. Anonymous
    June 16th, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

    UMass Lowell also has a great engineering program. They actually play host to the New England Botball tournament annually… some smart high school kids participate

  4. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » NASA to Launch GM Co-Developed Robot to International Space Station
    June 12th, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    […] Awesome Robot: uBot-5 – RoboCup German Open 2008 – Toyota Develops Thought-controlled Wheelchair – The […]

  5. Laurie
    August 6th, 2010 @ 8:39 am

    I recently had a discussion with a government policy student about ‘community care’ which here is a label for the institutionalised provision (state provision mostly) of care for the needy and vulnerable which consists mainly of children and the elderly. In the UK, by 2030 it is predicted that over half of the population will be over fifty and right now there are more over 60s here than there are under 16s. I know this sounds like ‘do gooder’ speak but it’s not about that, but having compassion for those around us.

    I care for a few elderly residents in my town and it gives me such satisfaction to make then more comfortable and happy. It makes me happy you could say.

    In short (and forgive me the rant) robots cannot replace human contact that older people need when they can no longer do for themselves. In some tough I think it could prevent some older people having to go into a care home as they will have a robotic device to do some fetching, carrying etc..

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