Science editor George van Hal discusses coveted inventions from science fiction films and series, and finds out if they could become a reality. Today: Robots that can turn into vehicles, and vice versa. How close are we?
what is he talking about?
Robots that can turn into cars, planes, or sometimes even mechanical dinosaurs.
Where did you see?
In the eighties, cartoon series and modern cinema transformers Championship of giant robots that can transform into all kinds of vehicles.
How close are we?
robots in transformers Not man-made, but aliens from a distant planet Cybertron. And while you can never rule out the possibility that extraterrestrial life might resemble giant robots, the chance is so small that we don’t have to speculate about it any further.
But if we put the alien and timid ones aside for a moment, is what’s left with you possible? Can you build robots that turn into vehicles? The lame answer is: They do exist, and the cartoon was in a sense a longtime advertisement for a game of the same name. Back in the ’80s, all you had to do was walk into the nearest toy store and find Optimus Prime, a toy robot that turns into a truck.
So the main question is: Can it get bigger? The answer is yes to that too. For example, a group of Japanese engineers and scientists working together under the name “Project J-deite” started with a scale model – a quarter the size of the movie – of a Transformer Bumblebee character, which can actually turn into a car that actually drives. And they introduced in that the Caliph, codenamed: J-deite Ride, who is 4 meters tall and can do the same.
And there’s more. Humvee Biuloid For example, it was developed by an engineer at the American University Virgina Tech, who can transform from a Humvee into a robot and then do another jig. Then the same group also developed a so-called “soft drone” at the beginning of this year, which can change shape thanks to a metal alloy that becomes liquid when heated to 60 degrees. In this way, it transforms from a land vehicle to an air vehicle, and even a primitive submarine, the research team wrote earlier this year. in the trade magazine robotics science†
Have fun too M blocks. It was developed by the American University MIT. These are small, block-shaped robots that recognize each other, can cling to each other and thus take on different shapes. And although, of course, it is not easy to make a car from separate blocks, everyone who has ever played with Lego knows: it is possible.
If in the end you prefer something that actually turns into a real car, you can always contact the Turkish company Letrons as well as Japanese and American robots. They built “Antimon”, a real BMW-3 series car that can transform into a robot in half a minute. The opposite is true, of course.
Very impressive, but unfortunately the “Transformers” have not yet been used. For example, you cannot drive a car yourself, although you can control it remotely. It does not go very fast: you can reach a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour. And yes: in the form of a robot, unlike the fighting robots from the cartoon, unfortunately, he cannot walk either. Not to mention flying or shooting big paranoid laser guns.