Caution: Don't start watching this video unless you have 19 minutes and 24 seconds to watch the whole thing through. And then you might want to watch it all over again. Professor Robert Full is Director of the Poly-PEDAL Laboratory in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California at Berkeley. This video, which is now five years old, was always too long to post on the blog, but now it is possible...so here you go. If you like this, you'll enjoy a few more scholarly (but not too scholarly) videos that we've been preparing for you.
Dr. Full may work with cockroaches and crabs and centipedes and geckos, and he may be trying to build a better robot, not fix a lame horse, but this video can make you think about what a foot is and what it can and should do. And what you can add to a foot to achieve different goals, i.e. move across different surfaces.
Many of the concepts will be everyday to you. And maybe some of the exercises that Professor Full reviews will lead you to some brand new thoughts...or a brand new way of thinking.
Happy 19 minutes and 24 seconds!
And thanks to Robert Full and the TED conference for making this clip available! PS The impetus for this research is a robot that would be useful for first responders in emergency and disaster scenarios. Apparently some search-and-rescue robots have been used in Haiti during the earthquake response, but Professor Full might need to add digging to the task list of his robotic feet when it comes to quake rubble. Bare human hands apparently did most of the work, and search dogs were found to be very helpful. Texas A&M University is home to CRASAR, the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue.
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