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Hyundai Outfits Employees with Exoskeletons

Life is going to be easier with a 150-pound boost. Also, drones are opening doors and Seattle is considering a 'mega tent' for the homeless.

Robot Wasps Open Doors for Each Other

Researchers from Stanford University and EPFL in Switzerland have created FlyCroTugs (flying, micro, tugging robots), little drones that work together to move large objects through coordinated actions. For example, in a recent video showcasing their abilities, a pair of drones works together to open a door.

Granted, it takes about 3.5 minutes to achieve the feat, but then you realize that the scheming little robots are actually opening and holding the door so a pair of smaller drones can escape.

According to the researchers, the tiny flying robots can move objects up to 40 times their own weight using a combination of powerful winches, gecko adhesives and microspines.

The door demo shows how a team of drones could be used in a rescue situation to move debris, position a camera or fly water bottles into a remote area.

The researchers found their inspiration in wasps as they looked for something that was small and fast, but strong for its size.

The researchers looked at how wasps capture and transport prey. The ratio of flight-related muscle to total mass determines whether a wasp flies with its prey or drags it.

The researchers also built upon previous bioengineering work that designed feet that mimics a gecko's toes to create a powerful non-sticky adhesive. The robots have 32 microspines, which are fishhook-like metal spines that latch onto the surface.

Next, the researchers hope to enable the robots to operate as an autonomous swarm, working in tandem to complete a specific task, like opening two doors.

Giant Tent Hopes to Solve Problems with Homelessness

The increasing number of homeless people across the nation is a problem.

Last year, a team of 12 teen girls from California were so troubled by the booming homeless population in San Fernando that they designed a solar-powered tent that can be folded into a roll-away back backs.

This week, Seattle had a similar thought, only on a grander scale. The city is considering building a 'mega tent', a $3 million structure that could house up to 100 people. 

Now, these are not the simple structures that immediately popup in your mind. If you recall, Tesla added an entire general assembly line, and then it caught on fire.

The large structures would have showers, storage, restrooms, laundry, open spaces and even pet areas. Social services and mental health professionals would be available as well — which is why it could cost another $2 million to manage.

The structures are easier to build and similar programs have worked in Las Angeles and San Diego.

Hyundai is in to Exoskeletons

Earlier this year, Hyundai selected robot-artificial intelligence as one of five areas of future innovation growth

Like BMW and Ford before them, Hyundai is dipping its toes into the exoskeleton pool. This week, the company announced that its robotics team is currently developing exoskeleton technology in three different areas: wearable robots, service robots and micro-mobility.

The company first tested the Hyundai Chairless Exoskeleton (H-CEX) at a Hyundai-KIA North American factory last August. The test was such a success that the company will begin extensive testing for Hyundai Vest Exoskeleton (H-VEX) wearable industrial robot.

The first H-CEX is designed to assist the joints while a worker is in a sitting position. It only weighs about 3.5 pounds and it can handle up to 330 pounds — it can also also be adjusted to different employee heights. 

The H-VEX is designed to alleviate pressure on the workers’ neck and back by adding about 132 lbs of strength to the user when his/her arms are used overhead. Like it's predecessors, it will likely help prevent injuries and increase work rates.

Hyundai is also developing exoskeletons for other industries. The company is working on the H-MEX medical exoskeleton (H-MEX) which helps paraplegics and the elderly walking and climb staircases. Right now, it is working for FDA approval.

The company is also working on a ‘Hotel Service Robot’ that will take over turn down and concierge services at hotels, a ‘Sales Service Robot’ that can explain car details to customers in retailers; and an ‘Electric Vehicle Charge Manipulator’ that automatically charge electric vehicles.

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