Robotics technology is on a roll at Georgia Institute of Technology’s Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM). More than 75 researchers from five Georgia Tech colleges and the Georgia Tech Research Institute collaborate on projects and partner with industry and government to pursue transformative robotics research.
An example of the practical application of such R&D is Tarzan, one of several machines that will be field-tested this summer as agricultural crop monitors. The robots will hang over the crops in a four-acre soybean test field established by the University of Georgia, suspended by parallel guy-wires. Fitted with cameras, the troop of Tarzans will swing like gibbons along the cables, taking picture after picture of each plant in each row.
Researchers will be able to get more frequent measurements and to avoid some laborious field work. In the future, they may be able to stay at their laptops miles away, in the air conditioning, scanning a steady stream of images and data sent back from the robots.
Surgical assists represent another focus for robotics development, dedicated toward developing patient-specific, 3D-printed robots that allow physicians to do their jobs better. Two robots are currently being engineered for brain surgery service: these machines can be lowered into the brain, then sweep side to side or rotate to allow a full 360 degrees of rotation to enable a physician to operate out of the line of sight. The advancement of medical robotic devices to better diagnose breast cancer is also covered in this video.
Researchers are also partnering with Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to pioneer efforts in pediatric robotics. This field can be very challenging because what works for adult patients must be scaled down significantly to be applicable for kids and teenagers.
And in the near-term, everyone worldwide will have access to, and be able to run experiments in, the Robotarium. In this video, Magnus Egerstedt, director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, outlines the institute’s strengths, the global future of robotics, and prospects for the Robotarium.