Bat-Bot is a new example of biomimicry in robotics that uses biological information about living creatures to inform new ideas about how to make robots — and information derived from the robots to learn more about the living creatures. This kind of experiment is common enough nowadays that we see new reports every week. Sometimes more than once a week.
There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But the big news about robots tends to focus on robots that can’t actually do anything useful. The Bat-Bot might give us a chance to imagine super cool drones of the future, but you will not see any Bat-Bots delivering your Amazon packages in the near future. Nor will they be dipping and diving through the factory with messages clutched in their mechanical paws.
What’s the point of this kind of robotics research?
As mentioned above, this type of research gives us additional knowledge about possibilities for robotics, as well as a deeper understanding of animal locomotion. A deeper understanding of animal locomotion may not be high on the list of goals for industrial engineering, but it can lead to new innovations from industrial engineering.
Awareness of possibilities
Often, improvements in technologies are incremental. We’ve got a fairly precise servo motor, so we make a more precise one. We have a safer system, so we make an even safer system. Just as Henry Ford said that if he had asked people what they wanted, he’d have worked on a faster horse, we find that end users don’t always see the possibilities for real innovation. Basic research with no obvious practical value tends to be the source of completely new ideas.
Hearts and minds
One of the limitations for robotics in the U.S. is our ambivalence, as a culture, about robots. Sure, some of us love robots. But for many Americans, they are scary creatures with evil plans to take over our world or at least to take away our jobs. The more Americans have the chance to see cool new ideas in robotics, the more we’ll get behind robotic innovation. This may seem like a small, unimportant thing, but the people who give funding for research in industrial automation are — from the point of view of attitudes and knowledge about robots — ordinary citizens.
Bat-Bot may not make a big difference in your daily life, but the research behind it could make a difference in the future. For your current needs, keep in mind that we have the biggest inventory in the nation of factory refurbished Rexroth electric motion control components. Contact us now for immediate assistance.