…A team of researchers at Oslo University’s Department of Informatics has developed a category of robots that, through simulation programs and 3D printing, adapt to unforeseen obstacles. In turn, these self-improving robots can enter hazardous areas and perform tasks in situations too extreme for human involvement, such as radioactive sites, deep mines, or even distant planets.
The real-world uses for these robots are vast. One possible application, as described ay Associate Professor Kyrre Glette, imagines a robot entering a wrecked power plant and stumbling upon an unforeseen staircase. The robot is able to take a photograph, analyze the situation, and, using its integrated 3D printer, produce a new part, or even a new robot, that can negotiate the stairs. The entire scenario plays out without human interaction and without endangering or delaying the mission.
…However, the transition from simulated design to 3D printed robot is not perfect. The chief obstacle faced by the Informatics team thus far has been closing the so called “reality gap” between what the simulated robots can accomplish, versus their performance in the laboratory.
“Once the robots have been printed, their real-world functionalities quite often prove to be different from those of the simulated versions,” explains researcher Mats Høvin, “We are therefore studying how the robots deteriorate from simulation to laboratory stage.”
In order to close this gap and to create robots that are as good as, or even better than their simulated counterparts, researchers have set up obstacle courses to test how their robots can self-teach and self-adapt when confronted with new obstacles….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the LulzBot TAZ – Open source 3D Printer and the Printrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!