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Newron's Electric Motorcycle Has a Wooden Body

We could see it on the road by next year. Also, the Beetl robot autonomously scoops poop and a robotic jellyfish.

Beetl Robot Uses State-of-the-Art Tech to Address Backyard Poop Problems

Beetl Robotics wants to provide best-in-class robots using its expertise in cloud networking, computer vision and mechanical design. So naturally, they turned to poop scooping. 

According to Beetl, more than 35 million households in the US have dogs and backyards. The team designed a robot that uses computer vision and advanced sensor fusion to clean up after them. And if it works, we'll that's one hell of a market. 

The Beetl seems to work similar to a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. It deploys from a base and patrols a virtual map of the yard. Beetl finds the mess, deploys a clamshell jaw to clasp it, and then a trimmer to cut any grass that's coming along for the ride or otherwise stuck.

It also uses cloud-based AI to adapt and learn from each scoop, because no two scoops are ever going to be the same. 

I don't know, I still say that if you can't clean up after it, you shouldn't have the dog, but maybe I’ve finally aged into common sense. 

Swimming Robot Mimics Moon Jellyfish 

A team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences has created a robotic jellyfish. 

Jellyfish are some of the most efficient swimmers on the planet. While they’re not that fast, they move through the water by creating a natural jet propulsion. 

The researchers developed the robot as a first step towards a bio-inspired underwater vehicle that mimics the propulsion. Specifically, the researchers mimicked Aurelia aurita, commonly called the "moon jellyfish.”

As you can see from the video above, the robot can maneuver vertically and horizontally using similar propulsion created by the cylindrical, bell-shaped bodies.

Jellyfish have been known as inefficient swimmers in the past, but they're more methodical than inefficient or lazy. The use very little energy to get going, and this could be a critical feature for future, untethered underwater vehicles. 

Using a combination of the latest in mechatronic design, materials, electronics, and control methods, the researchers created smart actuators to replicate the jellyfish movement. Previous robot jellyfish have been tethered, and as you can imagine, underwater vehicles are limited when they can't swim freely. 

Like the moon jellyfish, the robot has a large displacement in order to move a large load capacity. The robot is about 5.5” tall, weighs about 18 pounds, and has a similar shape. It has bell-shaped rigid head, a cylindroid main cavity, and a soft rubber skin. The robot can move up and down by adjusting two clump weights in the head. 

Next, the researchers will work on making the robot more maneuverable and autonomous, using AI to learn from it's time in the water.

Electric Motorcycle Concept is Wrapped in Wood

We have seen our share of exotic, interesting and sad motorcycles over the last few years, but French manufacturer Newron has brought something new to the table with an electric motorcycle that has a large cylindrical battery and a wooden body. 

The story of Newron Motors has been one of fits and starts. Sébastien Mahut is an electronic engineer by trade and the man behind the concept motorcycle. He has dreamed of designing an all-electric motorcycle since he was as a child, but until recently, it seemed unlikely that it would ever become a reality. 

Officially, Newron Motors was founded in 2016. Shortly thereafter, the company met the design team at Dassault Systems at an incubator, and used Dassault's 3DExperience platform to collaborate on prototypes, sketching and design validation. The money ran out at the incubator and Newron has now turned to the Advans Group. 

The company is working with ELSYS Design, a division of the ADVANS Group that specializes in embedded systems. ELSYS is working on a test bench for Newron's wood-wrapped electric motorcycle, and also plans to collaborate on the control and communication interface components. 

The company is now on it's second prototype and one interesting feature will allow riders to set their destination in the GPS and allow the motorcycle to configure the most efficient power usage for the trip. The bike will also connect to a smartphone application that will help owners perform predictive maintenance. 

Newron’s plans are ambitions. The company hopes to produce 12 road-certified motorcycles in 2020, before ramping up production to commercialization in 2021.

While the production goals seem aggressive, if not a long shot, it seems that little will prevent Sébastien Mahut for realizing his dream. 

This is Engineering By Design.

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