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A Macgyver robot could help save the day in future disasters


macgyver 1 A Macgyver robot could help save the day in future disasters

For those who may not remember, MacGyver was a popular TV show in the 1980′s. The lead character, handsomely played by Richard Dean Anderson, took mundane things like chewing gum and paper clips and solve complex problems and escape dangerous situations by turning them into useful, lifesaving tools. All this was ostensibly based on theoretical physics.

macgyverrobot1 A Macgyver robot could help save the day in future disasters

Now the Navy is taking a page from that idea. It’s funding a group of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to hopefully create a “Macgyver robot”. With a three-year, $900,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research, researchers hope to create a robot that can go into a disaster area and use whatever it finds lying around as tools to complete its mission. The Macgyver bot will be designed to identify objects and, by using algorithms and a knowledge of basic mechanics, determine what their potential function is. It would then figure out how to use them to complete a task by turning the objects into tools or “simple machines.”

macgyverrobot2 A Macgyver robot could help save the day in future disasters

The Navy’s involved because it wants future robots to have human-like reasoning and the ability to works as teammates with service personnel. It’s an intriguing idea, but a great deal has yet to be worked out before this can become a reality. But, as Walt Disney said, if you can dream it, you can do it!

Debra Atlas is a freelance environmental writer and eco-enthusiast based in Northern California, and is the Red Ferret’s Ecological Editor. Debra looks for the upside of eco-change – what’s positive, making a difference. She hunts down those interesting things cooked up by creative minds, especially if they’re strange and eccentric.

Debra Atlas – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.



  • Les

    “For those who may not remember, MacGyver was a popular TV show in the 1980′s”.

    What do you mean, in the 80′s. It is still showing on TV here in Perth Western Australia……….

    Bugger…. we can win the America’s Cup, but still live in the back waters as far as everything else goes. They have just allowed us a half a day Sunday trading in the shops.

    • John

      Hi Les,

      Yes, at one time here in Mississippi, USA, we had the religious zealots force all stores to close on Sunday except food stores, petrol stations, and drug stores. We called them the "Blue Laws" . There were two stories about how the name Blue Laws came about. One said evgeryone was "Blue" because they only had two days off on the weekend and were blue because they had to rush to get everything done in one day. The other story goes if you opened your stores on Sunday the "boys" in blue would come get you.

  • John

    The Blue Laws came to an end when almost all the merchants in town decided to open on Sunday to challange the law and see how the boys in blue were going to arrest all the merchants. The merchants let it be known that if they arrested any of the merchants, all the rest would go to the Police station and demand to be arrested also.

    It did'nt happen as there were not enough jail cells to hold everyone.

    Sounds to me like the religious "holier than thou" groups are responsible. If you want to be able to trade when you want and not when the zealots want, start a movement with all the merchants in town and suggest they do what we did.

    In America, nothing good has ever come about when you mix religion and Government. That is why we always try to separate Church and State. No one group should be allowed to control everyone else just because of that groups beliefs or principles.

    If you do it, drop me an email, I'd like to heare about how it goes. I am Laser1218 on A, the O, and the L. plus the dot com( I did it this way to stop the spammers).

    Good Luck

    John

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