Head, Tail, knees, and Trees (knees and trees)

There are some fun things to do this week, so let’s first get out of the way of all those relentless business transactions, what do we do? I mean, it’s not annoying to change hands for a few million dollars for future robotics technology, he said, toggling on his collar for a joke effect. Big raise this week Plus One robotics. The San Antonio-based company has raised $33 million in healthy Series B, bringing its total funding to over $40 million.

The company has mostly warehouses and traffic in the logistics space – obviously a department that had a lot of excitement around it after last year’s huge shutdown. As many companies have told me, most clients simply look for a way to help them step into the competition against Amazon. In addition to its huge headcount and seemingly bottomless resources, the e-commerce giant has deployed a huge army of robots in its warehouse. Plus one, as part of it, does not create robots, but rather vision software that works with them.

The company’s product is designed to work on a wide range of robotic weapons and grippers, which can control workers up to 50 systems simultaneously. We’ve talked a bit about exoskeleton in these pages, but Rome offers an interesting alternative to several large, bulky and tough products on the market. I compare the company’s latest device with standard knee braces with AI and robotic capabilities that help with mobility.

In particular it helps with things like walking up stairs and getting up from a sitting position. And here we have a small tree man. Project Kiwi is like Pinocchio if he leans towards the whole wooden thing in the process of becoming a real boy. Apparently Disney has been in favor of Galaxy, Groot (sometimes) smallest guardian, for his latest impressive animatronic.

Matthew was extremely impressed to see the man in the very beautiful tree in action and I must make sure of that by living life in detail through some YouTube videos. The latest bit of biomimicry is a bit surprising. Apparently the cheetah is a big inspiration for a large number of quadrupedal robots (especially the MIT cheetah section running perfectly), especially since, CMU researchers are looking at the tail of the big cat. Per CMU:

The cheetah’s light-weight animal tail is known as the aerodynamic drug tail; this, it kind of works like a parachute. Most robotic tails have high inertia but cheetahs can hold low inertia. Inertia is a physical property that describes the resistance of an object against a change of motion – high tail inertia means that the tail can apply high forces. Instead of aerodynamic tails to achieve higher forces without large inertia, a different principle is used – aerodynamic tension.