29 May '15, 1am

Self-Healing Actuators Make Breaking Your Robot No Big Deal

Self-Healing Actuators Make Breaking Your Robot No Big Deal

Robots tend to spend a lot of the time broken. This isn’t just because they break a lot (although they do break a lot), but also because they’re usually difficult and often expensive to fix quickly. Electronics in general is also difficult and expensive to fix, which is why we have fuses: sacrificial components that take one for the team when something goes wrong. At ICRA yesterday, we saw a similar idea intended to protect actuators from damage. This mechanical fuse takes things one step further, however, by being able to heal itself, making a broken robot just like new in a matter of hours. The way a fuse of any sort works is that it operates as the weakest component in a system, such that if that system gets subjected to a level of stress beyond what it’s supposed to deal with in normal operation, the fuse blows up first, stopping the system before any other component g...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hard...

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