Over the past several decades, society has become particularly interested in robotics. Shows such as The Jetsons have forecasted the future to be a world where robotics plays an everyday role in life. In addition, it has inspired many to work towards this future. Everyday, society is getting closer and closer to this futuristic world. Robotics is a rapidly changing field that has the potential to help society in a positive way.
In 2005, military funded research was carried out by Boston Dynamics in order to develop a robot that could work side by side with soldiers in combat. This robots name was suitably BigDog. Its 240 pound frame, shaped just like a mid-sized dog, is able to carry 340 pounds of gear (“Boston Dynamics”). Sensors provide it with feedback that allows it to walk on slopes of up to thirty five degrees and various terrains such as snow, ice, mud, rubble, and shallow water. It can even absorb impact from a human trying to knock it over (“Boston Dynamics”). However, the primary issue was that BigDog is too noisy and was still not ready to work in unison with military units. This is why Boston Dynamics developed BigDog’s older brother, LS3. LS3 is much quieter, can carry up to 400 pounds, listen to voice commands, follow a soldier, and after falling down can get back up without assistance (“DARPA’s AlphaDog”). It can navigate around obstacles when needed which is especially useful when in an urban environment, and is able to run for 20 miles without refueling (“Boston Dynamics”). This would be an incredibly useful unit for the future as it cannot only carry gear reliably, but it could also carry wounded soldiers that cannot walk under their own power. LS3 is scheduled to deploy with US Marines sometime in 2014 (“DARPA’s AlphaDog”).
The military has also funded Raytheon to develop an Iron-Man-like suit that would give soldiers a super strength ability. This ability would be particularly useful in assisting soldiers carry extremely heavy loads. Exoskeletons are predicted to be used in the military within three to five years (“2nd Gen Exoskeleton”). Robotics does not only benefit those who are in the military. Similar exoskeletons are being used today to assist those who have been paralyzed to walk again in physical therapy. They are particularly useful because they can be used so that those who are learning to walk again get the most out of their physical therapy, and because an exoskeleton would reduce the number of setbacks one might have.
It is often said how more is known about the moon than the ocean. Dr. Stephen Licht, professor of ocean engineering at the University of Rhode Island, is hoping to change that. Licht said how “One of the problems with underwater exploration is the unpredictable and limited maneuverability we have underwater.” This is why Dr. Licht is working on developing fins to mock those of a sea turtles. These fins are being tested in different conditions under water in an attempt to find...