Saturday, January 20, 2007

Ripsaw Robots #1

Ripsaw Robots will be a new feature that focuses on robotics in a very broad scope. From the useless to the revolutionary to the just plain giant and fantasy, Lish will bring you all the robot fix he can find.

The last couple days has been abuzz with China's new test of an anti-satellite weapon, which threatens to turn our atmosphere from a realm of commerce and research into an active new frontline of diplomacy and militarization. That being the case, news on NASA's new THEMIS project, set to launch next month was largely buried. The five mini-satellite's mission is to probe the elusive magenetosphere and the geomagnetic substorms that bolster the Northern Lights, a system that is poorly understood at the present date. Hopefully the Chinese don't get too triggerhappy with their new toys.

Speaking of toys, have a look at this thing, called an unicycle tank. First described in a 1933 Popular Science magazine, the monowheel device originally was designed for military use, but modern tinkerers have hit upon some more appealing uses. The monowheel rides with what appears to be simple ease, but I doubt folks are going to be trading in their Harleys anytime soon, it just doesn't have the majesty and menace of a motorcycle.

Finally, Disney has up and done it, adding robotic elements to their classic Disney heads. The end result in the context of song and stage is astonishingly realistic, you might catch yourself thinking you're watching some animation.

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