US Navy Funds 'MacGyver' Bot

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You remember MacGyver, right? That guy on CBS that could create a life-saving tool out of a paperclip and a rubberband? Or just about anything else lying around? Me neither, I was too young to have ever watched that show, but since I've seen a lot of pop culture references to it in my lifetime, I get the gist. The U.S. Navy is funding a project to build a robot that uses the same turning-scrap-into-tools method as the popular '80s secret agent to help trapped troops.

The robot's brain will be based on software developed by  researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Data gathered from the surrounding environment, will be combined to identify objects and decide whether they can be used to aid in a situation. For example, if the bot is trying to find a way to climb out of an area, and it sees a bunch of debris lying around, it will stack the scraps and build a way out.

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But it won't be easy. Professor Barbra Webb from the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics told the BBC, it's harder than it seems. " Vision alone is not enough to tell you if an object can support your weight or be used as a lever — you need to interact with it physically to understand its physical possibilities."

A robot named Golem Krang is standing by, though, waiting to be the first to try it out. If it works, researchers hope to use this technology to help rescue trapped military personnel without having to endanger any other lives.

via BBC News

Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

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