Nuts and Bolts Meet the Natural World

14781734244_1c6e813bde_z GREEN ECHO™ – “If it has a basis in nature, it just makes sense.”™

One game from this year’s E3 convention that is capturing imaginations is Armature Studios’ “Recore”. Set in a future, post-apocalyptic world, “Recore” follows the story of survival for a thus-far nameless girl. At her disposal are a number of robotic animals, all of which are presumably essential in traversing the world and completing tasks. While these types of autonomous, robotic animals might have once seemed limited to the world of science fiction, technological advances arising from biomimicry are bringing such creatures to “life.”

Recently, researchers at MIT successfully tested a robotic cheetah. Not only was the robot able to leap over objects in its path, it did so without being told where the objects were or when they would arrive; that is to say, the moving robot saw the objects and made the decision to jump.

Other recent examples of robotic animal technology include Oregon State’s ATRIAS, a bipedal movement system that follows the climbing and walking motion of an ostrich, and Virginia Tech’s drone research, which uses a set of bat like ears for autonomous echolocation.

Our imitation of nature is not an entirely new concept. For example, for many years Paralympic amputee athletes have used leg prosthetics with feet shaped liked the hind legs of a cheetah. This feature acts as a shock absorber and a spring for forward movement. Although this type of technology is simpler compared to cutting-edge robotics, it broadens the notion that the natural world has useful information for the advancement of our created world.

BELONGING / GREEN ECHO

WHY IT MATTERS:

Developments in both movement and self-driven technologies may cause some to imagine a dystopian world in which the human species is conquered by its evil, thinking creations. However, these developments will more likely lead to an additional level of control over one’s life. “Recore” furthers a premise that one day we may have self-sufficient, robotic pets with the sustainability to live as long as, or longer than, their owners. This technology also offers the hope of providing locomotion for those who may have lost the ability to move on their own.

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