Home » Uncategorized » Poo, dead flies, rat whiskers, broken bones and creepy faces

Poo, dead flies, rat whiskers, broken bones and creepy faces


It is a bit of a strange combination but the list of nasty stuff in the title are just some of the things that I came across at the new Bristol Robotics Lab (BRL) run by Bristol University and the University of the West of England.
So where does this list of nasties fit in? Well, they are all involved in the research they are doing there. The poo and dead flies are used to generate electricity to drive an Eco robot, the rat whiskers are sensors that can “feel” shapes and textures of objects, the broken bones were in a surgical “robot” that manipulates the bones to be repaired and the creepy face was able to move with realistic expressions…. And that was not all! … Helicopters, quad copters, 3D optical sensors, air muscles, etc, etc.
Getting my head around all of this has been pretty mind blowing and I must thank Dr Martin Pearson from BRL for showing me around and Iain from 3D Systems (Bits from Bytes) for inviting me to accompany him on the visit.
But where does this all fit in with 3D printing? … As the robots are experimental research machines they usually involve mechanical parts that are unique and are therefore produced by RP or 3D Prints. (I spotted a RapMan on one of the students workstations!) And here is where it all links to what we are doing at my school… Our VEX robotics group have 3D printed a claw for their robot (see some of the previous posts on this blog). I’m pretty certain they will be green with envy about my visit when they see my photos! I expect I’ll have to see if one of the guys from BRL can visit us when we meet after school.


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