Don’t forget about the Paralympics – they’re on from Aug 31 – Sep 9

(photo: London 2012 Paralympics)

 

I really enjoyed the Olympics, particularly seeing Oscar Pistorius compete in his carbon fibre Cheetah foot. Now, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the more exciting Paralympic events:

Following his historic appearance at the Olympic Games – where he was the first male athlete with a disability to compete at the able-bodied Games – South African Pistorius will be keen to assert his dominance on the Paralympic stage once more.

He will be participating in his third Paralympic Games and will hope to repeat his success at Beijing 2008, where he won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m events in the T44 category. – London 2012 Paralympics

 

I also want to see the wheelchair racing in the track & field athletics division. There is also a record number of women competing and so I will look forward to seeing some of those events.

The good news is that for the first time NBC will be broadcasting the Paralympics and the International Paralympic Committee will host 580 hours of online coverage.

 

Continue reading Don’t forget about the Paralympics – they’re on from Aug 31 – Sep 9

Robot cheetah sets speed record for legged robots

This video shows a demonstration of the “Cheetah” robot galloping at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour (mph), setting a new land speed record for legged robots. The previous record was 13.1 mph, set in 1989.

The robot’s movements are patterned after those of fast-running animals in nature. The robot increases its stride and running speed by flexing and un-flexing its back on each step, much as an actual cheetah does.

The current version of the Cheetah robot runs on a laboratory treadmill where it is powered by an off-board hydraulic pump, and uses a boom-like device to keep it running in the center of the treadmill. Testing of a free-running prototype is planned for later this year.

 

I can’t explain why but watching this video makes me very scared. I think someone needs to make a horror movie with speedy robot cheetahs to haunt my nightmares.

This description of the robotics program doesn’t help any:

Robots hold great promise for amplifying human effectiveness in Defense operations. Compared to human beings and animals, however, the mobility and manipulation capability of present day robots is poor. In addition, design and manufacturing of current robotic systems are time consuming, and fabrication costs remain high. If these limitations were overcome, robots could assist in the execution of military operations far more effectively across a far greater range of missions.

via DARPA Defense Sciences Office