By Sean Sides
When most people think of robots, they think of robots that work in factories. But they actually do much more. Robots are built to save lives, be farmers, replace the driver in a car, collect information for scientists, and more.
Gemini Scout is a search-and -rescue robot that works in mines underground. It is less than two feet tall and has wheels that allow it to make tight turns, and can even ride through water. And wherever it goes, it collects information about the gases and tells the miners when it is safe. This robot may be small, but it is strong and can easily carry food, water, and other supplies. In the biggest emergencies, Gemini-Scout can even drag an injured miner to safety. It can use its thermal camera to locate them. When found, the miners can use Gemini-Scout’s two way radio two communicate with the rescue team.
Dante 2’s job isn’t to save lives like Gemini-Scout, but to climb into volcanoes and gather information for scientists. The robot is built to survive extreme heat, so it could explore where any human can’t. Once Dante 2 is in the volcano, it looks for vents in the crater and collects information about the gases that come out of the vents. This robot allows scientists to study a volcano up close while remaining at a safe distance.
Agribots explain their job in their name. They are robots that pick fruit. Sure, they don’t save any lives, but many farmers find them very useful. Agribots can pick berries, oranges, grapes, or apples. Becuase picking fruit isn’t the same with every type,(like how picking an apple is different from picking a strawberry,) agribots come in different sizes. Some of these robots have giant arms that are towed t trucks, while others are able to move on their own. In Japan, there is a strawberry-picking robot that senses the color of the strawberries. This lets the robot know if the berry is ripe or not. Scientists at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are working to grow tomatoes without any work of humans. The tomatoes are planted in a greenhouse full of small agribots that take care of them. The agribots act like robot farmers. They are very useful bots, but they are not yet widely used.
Lots of people think robots are only used to work. Think again! Some robots today can dance, sing or play music. Another robot in Japan can even play the piano with its two mechanical hands. Many of these “playful” robots are made to copy animals. Some robots impersonate how animals play. Movie makers have even designed huge robotic animals to be in movies, but these kinds of robots can be used for other than movies. You can buy a robotic animal and have it live with you. They have a lot in common with real animals, but there is one difference.You don’t need to take them outside or even feed them.Other robots help people play with live animals. A company called I-Pet Companion has made a robot that enables you to play with kittens, but from a distance. You can control it from far away using the internet. Some robots can play by themselves. College students in Oregon have created robots that can play hockey or shuffleboard without any human control.