• Robots

Sheffield/Bristol Whiskered Robots

These robots were developed collaboratively by the ABRG (and, lately, ATL@S) and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL). The following review article gives an outline of the operation and behaviour of all of the robots in this lineage:

This programme of research was initiated in 2003 with the beginning of the Whiskerbot project by Kevin Gurney, Tony Prescott and Peter Redgrave in collaboration with Tony Pipe and Chris Melhuish at BRL. Ben Mitchinson has been the lead developer at the ABRG throughout the programme and continues to represent the group in this ongoing collaboration. Hardware/embedded development has been led by Martin Pearson and (more recently) Charlie Sullivan at BRL with technical support primarily from Jason Welsby.


Shrewbot

Years active: 2010-present

Summary: Shrewbot is our latest embodied model of a small whiskered mammal. Shrewbot is based on a Robotino (TM) platform and sports a 3-DOF neck/head assembly. Eighteen individually-actuated whisker modules (ranging in length from 30 to 100mm) are arrayed around the snout, mimicking the morphology of the Etruscan Shrew (see gallery image).

Funding: Funded by EU FP7 project BIOTACT.

Gallery

Media Reports

14th Aug 2013 Popular Science

http://www.popsci.com [snapshot as PDF]

2nd Aug 2013 The Telegraph (report from Living Machines 2)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

1st Aug 2013 Daily Mail Online

http://www.dailymail.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

19th May 2013 robotnyheter.se (in Swedish)

http://robotnyheter.se [snapshot as PDF]

12th May 2013 Planet Ivy

http://planetivy.com [snapshot as PDF]

9th May 2013 IEEE Spectrum (t-SLAM)

http://spectrum.ieee.org [snapshot as PDF]

10th May 2012 BBC News Website

http://www.bbc.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

25th Apr 2012 New Scientist (issue 2861, News section)

http://www.newscientist.com

25th Jan 2012 golem.de IT News for Professionals (in German)

http://www.golem.de [snapshot as PNG]

24th Jan 2012 IEEE Spectrum (Royal Society review)

http://spectrum.ieee.org [snapshot as PDF]

23rd Jan 2012 The Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com [snapshot as PDF]

23rd Jan 2012 Environmental News Network

http://www.enn.com [snapshot as PDF]

20th Jan 2012 Item in BBC TV magazine program "The One Show"

(web resource not available)

30th Nov 2011 phys.org

http://phys.org [snapshot as PDF]

4th Oct 2011 Item in BBC Television Magazine program "Click" (video report)

http://news.bbc.co.uk

26th Sep 2011 David Willetts (UK Universities Minister) meets Shrewbot

http://www.youtube.com

7th Sep 2011 The Engineer Magazine

http://www.theengineer.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

1st Sep 2011 Item in BBC Television Magazine program "Look North"

(web resource not available)

The BIOTACT Sensor

Years active: 2010-present

Summary: The BIOTACT Sensor was developed as a non-mobile whiskered platform targeted at performing carefully-controlled interactions between an array of actuated whiskers and experimental stimuli (ranging in texture, shape, etc.). The whisker modules used on this robot (see gallery image) are also used for Shrewbot. The image to the left shows the first generation (G1) head - the G2 head has actuated cheeks (see gallery image) mimicking an additional DOF that has recently been observed in the animal.

Funding: Funded by EU FP7 project BIOTACT.

Gallery

Media Reports

2nd Aug 2013 The Telegraph (report from Living Machines 2)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

1st Aug 2013 Daily Mail Online

http://www.dailymail.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

2nd Sep 2012 Science News for KIDS

http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org [snapshot as PDF]

20th Jan 2012 Item in BBC TV magazine program "The One Show"

(web resource not available)

SCRATCHbot

Years active: 2006-2010

Summary: The development of SCRATCHbot (Spatial Cognition and Representation through Active TouCH) was a coming-of-age in whiskered mobile robot technology, both through increasing the size and DOFs of the whisker array itself, but also through mounting the array on a 3-DOF neck and a (bespoke) platform without non-holonomic constraints. The morphology of SCRATCHbot was based on that of the brown rat (see gallery images).

Funding: Funded by EU FP7 project ICEA.

Gallery

Media Reports

In addition to the media listed below, SCRATCHbot was also reported on BBC Local News (Yorkshire), in the Yorkshire Post, in London's "Metro" newspaper, and was featured on BBC's Newsround (31 Jul 2009) and ITV Calendar News (1 July 2009).

30th Jul 2010 SCRATCHbot: A Great Idea (children's science book by Adam Woog)

http://www.amazon.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

28th Nov 2009 Popular Science: "Best of What's New" award, 2009

http://www.popsci.com [snapshot as PDF]

31st Jul 2009 BBC Newsround (Children's News Magazine): Maddy meets a new robotic rat (video report & interview)

http://news.bbc.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

10th Jul 2009 Science Magazine: Robot rat 'sees' with whiskers

http://www.sciencemag.org [snapshot as PDF]

7th Jul 2009 wired.co.uk: Whiskered robot senses like a rat

http://www.wired.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

7th Jul 2009 Electronics Weekly

http://www.electronicsweekly.com [snapshot as PDF]

5th Jul 2009 Science Daily: Researchers unveil whiskered robot rat

http://www.sciencedaily.com [snapshot as PDF]

2nd Jul 2009 New Scientist Tech

http://www.newscientist.com [snapshot as PDF]

1st Jul 2009 The Guardian: Rat's whiskers inspire robot advance

http://www.theguardian.com [snapshot as PDF]

1st Jul 2009 The Telegraph (Science News section)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]

30th Jun 2009 The Scotsman: The robotic rat that could save lives

http://www.scotsman.com [snapshot as PDF]

6th Mar 2008 Material World (BBC Radio 4 Science Magazine): Animal Robots (interview)

http://www.bbc.co.uk

Whiskerbot

Years active: 2003-2006

Summary: Whiskerbot represented our first foray into biomimetic robotics, as well as the then state-of-the-art in artificial whiskered systems. Whiskerbot was based on a simple differential-drive platform, had no additional DOFs in its neck. Nitinol wire was used to protract each of the six composite (glass fibre) whiskers individually. Whiskers were gauged at the base using strain gauges (see gallery images).

Funding: Funded by EPSRC project Whiskerbot.

Gallery

Media Reports

9th Aug 2007 Material World (BBC Radio 4 Science Magazine)

http://www.bbc.co.uk [snapshot as PDF]