Clothbot is a strange robot designed to climb up humans by getting a grip on their clothing, hence the name. Watch it in action and cringe. What is this for?
Clothbot made an appearance at the IEEE 2012 International Conference on Robotics and Automation and IEEE Spectrum has posted a video of it in action. The way that it climbs up a human is to grab hold of a crease in any clothing and then using this to pull itself up using gripper wheels.
You can watch as it climbs up a subjects pants and, if you are male at least, shudder slightly. The real question is what is it going to do when it gets to the top?
The researchers, Yuanyuan Liu, Xinyu Wu, Huihuan Qian, Duan Zheng, Jianquan Sun and Yangsheng Xu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who created the robot suggest that it might form the basis for a tiny "pet-like" mechanism that could scamper all over a human host, a sort of Tamagotchi that could sit on its owner's shoulder?
Slightly more practical is the idea that this could be your next mobile phone device, which climbs up and positions itself next to your ear when a call comes in. Equally weird is the suggestion that it could be used for "human body inspection". I think I can see this one, just, but when you watch the video what comes into your head? Assassination? It reminds me of movies where some small deadly creature climbs up an unsuspecting victim ready to sink in its fangs..
We tend to think of robots as something like the Terminator or Marvin, or at least the popular press does. What is not completely understood is that simpler robots are likely to have as big an effect [ ... ]