We are excited to have been chosen to work with Microsoft’s Stratpro division in imagining the future — assisting the six.Here are two interesting related items that have turned up in the last week. I decided to post them, because of course, the future (and in this case, the past as well)  includes robots. These videos are interesting to watch to see how kinds of different challenges are solved and how criteria shapes the end result.

TREEBOT
This video of the treebot has been posted at various points around the web, you may have run across it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmqDePXM89Y

“The design of Treebot is fairly unique: it uses a set of flexible linear actuators connecting two gripping claws to allow it to move around like an inchworm. While the back gripper holds on, the front gripper releases and the body extends forward, allowing the robot to literally feel around for a good place to grip.
Keeping to the inchworm theme, the robot doesn’t use much in the way of fancy sensors. Instead, it’s all tactile. You can tell the robot which direction you’d like it to go and how far, and the robot will grope its way to its destination, adaptively navigating from trunk to branches.”

Although the treebot is “blind”, researchers are working on the treebot optimizing its climbing path to enable faster and higher movement.

AUTOMATA
These examples called Karakurihave no actuators but are amongst the first lowtech ‘robotic’ prototypes, a fine craft developed 200- 300 years ago during the Edo period.

http://vimeo.com/24412432

I am reminded ofTheo Jansen’sbrilliant ingenuity in creating family of strandbeests that roam the beaches, completely analog sensing, actuating, and responsive which carries the quality of both – the fine craft and completely lowtech ‘programming’ of the Kamakuri and the real time reactiveness of the treebot.