In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Dr. Lei Cui from Curtin University about his team’s work on 3D printable hand orthosis for rehabilitation, a task-oriented 4-DOF robotic device for upper-limb rehabilitation and a 3-DOF platform providing multi-directional perturbations for research into balance rehabilitation. They also discuss the fastest untethered robotic fish for river monitoring and an amphibious robot for monitoring the Swan-Canning River System.
A 3D Printable Parametric Hand Exoskeleton for Finger Rehabilitation
ComBot: a Compact Robot for Upper-Limb Rehabilitation
A 3-DOF Robotic Platform for Research into Multi-Directional Stance Perturbations
In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks to Russ Angold, co-founder and CTO of Ekso Bionics, about the wearable bionic suit, Ekso. This suit enables individuals with any amount of lower extremity weakness to stand up and walk over ground with a natural, full weight bearing, reciprocal gait. Walking is achieved by the user’s weight shifts to activate sensors in the device which initiate steps. Battery-powered motors drive the legs, replacing deficient neuromuscular function.
Ekso provides functional based rehabilitation, over ground gait training, and upright, weight bearing exercises. It has been designed for the needs of busy therapists treating a wide range of patients in a single day. The suit is strapped over the users´ clothing with easy adjustments to transition between patients in as little as five minutes.
Russ Angold is co-founder and CTO of Ekso Bionics. He works closely with the Lockheed Martin Corporation, licensing Ekso technology to further develop the HULCTMexoskeleton for military use. Formerly Vice President of Engineering, Russ provided many of the concepts that shape today’s current designs as well as those of the ExoHikerTM, ExoClimberTM and HULCTM.
Before Ekso Bionics, Russ held various engineering positions at Rain Bird Corporation, Berkeley Process Control and the Irrigation Training and Research Center in San Luis Obispo, California.
Russ has a bachelor’s degree in BioResource and Agricultural Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He is a California registered Professional Mechanical Engineer and has two granted patents and another seven pending.
Newton Howard is the director of the Mind Machine Project (MMP) started in 2009 to revisit fundamental assumptions about the nature of the brain, cognition, computing, and intelligence. The project focuses on four areas of expertise including Mind, Memory, Body, and Brain/Intent with world renowned experts from a wide range of fields joining forces to create Artificial Intelligence (AI).
In our conversation, we look at mistakes made in the field of AI up to date, smart materials, the importance of understanding the brain to recreate intelligence, and hopes that this understanding will lead to breakthroughs in the medical field.
Over the years, Newton has studied the “physics of cognition”, the “theory of intention awareness” and Psychiatry at universities around the world including the University of Paris 1 – La Sorbonne, Oxford and George Washington University. He currently holds a position at the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms where his research interests include wet computers, brain language and brain interfaces.
Ari Requicha is the founder of the Laboratory for Molecular Robotics (LMR) at the University of Southern California which is a an interdisciplinary center whose ultimate goal is to control the structure of matter at the molecular scale. For the past 20 years, his research has been aimed at pushing the limits of the infinitely small, by developing systems for manipulating and automatically assembling nanoscale objects using Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs). The ultimate goal is to design components such as nanosensors and nanoactuators for the nanoscale robots of the future.
However, a single nanorobot won’t be nearly enough to achieve any real-world application, such as monitoring your body for harmful bacteria. Therefor, Requicha is investigating algorithms for programming self-assembling and self-repairing distributed systems composed of large numbers of nanorobots.
In this interview, he gives us an expert’s overview of the field, from his perspective as editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology and tells us about the future of molecular manufacturing and nanorobots.
Grégory Mermoud is a PhD student at the Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Lab at the EPFL, Switzerland. Mermoud’s research focuses on developing efficient and original methodologies for modeling and engineering self-organization and self-assembly of a broad range of systems from distributed robotics, micro/nanosystems, chemical systems, to intelligent agents.
During his interview, Grégory Mermoud gives us his views on the remaining challenges in the domain. Based on his ongoing research experience, he talks about which specific problems have to be studied in more depth in order to lead to potential breakthrough applications for nanorobotics.
With the holiday season ahead of us and Christmas dinners already started, many of us are starting to feel the pinch at our waistlines and are planning some ambitious weight-loss goals as New Year’s resolutions. To help with those resolutions, today’s show will focus on robotic help for losing weight! We speak with Cory Kidd from Intuitive Automata about his robotic weight-loss coach that can help you take those pounds off and keep them off, and may take your Roomba‘s place as your new robotic best friend.
We’ll also be holding a Christmas contest for a chance to win two kits to build tiny hyperactive bug-like robots offered by Didel SA. For a chance to win, just tell us “who created the giant 6-legged robot” featured in one of our episodes this year at email@example.com.
Photo: Sam Ogden
Cory Kidd is a recent Ph.D graduate from the Personal Robotics Group at MIT’s Media Lab, where he studied human-robot social interaction and the use of robotic interfaces to help people lose weight. He tells us about how his prototype robotic weight-loss coach drastically improved the chance of success of weight loss, as well as his new company Intuitive Automata that will be commercializing the product.
During his Ph.D studies Kidd designed Autom, a sociable robot who’s sole purpose is to help you keep track of your diet, stay motivated and achieve your personal weight-loss goals. Autom is embedded with learning algorithms that adapt to your personality and your progress, as well as years of research in human-machine interaction to help you connect with the robot and take it seriously when it recommends your daily diet!
Kidd tells us about how people react to inanimate objects as soon as you put a set of eyes on them and which aspects of embodiment are important in creating a true bond between a human and a robot which ultimately aids the robot in succeeding in its task. He also speaks about a study he conducted using a prototype version of Autom and how it performed compared to traditional weight-loss techniques such as pen-and-paper or a virtual avatar on a computer screen.
Don’t miss our Christmas contest for a chance to win two robot Kits offered by Didel SA.
With the first kit, you’ll make a tiny “Bimo” robot that runs around like a hyperactive bug using two motors. The kit contains a radio controller and all the electronic components which you’ll need to build your robot. You’ll need your own soldering iron so make sure you have that handy. Once you’ve built your robot, you can reprogram its microcontroller if you’re unhappy with its original behavior.
In the second kit, you’ll be designing legs for a vibrating robot called the Milpat Veloce. Think out of the box and you might be strapping all types of slippery or hairy surfaces under the robot for maximum speed, climbing or hopping.
Two win these two kits just answer to the following question by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be randomly picking a contestant with the correct answer on the 1st of January.