Over the years science fiction television and movies promised us all sorts of robots and robotic companions. From neurotic house cleaning maid robots to robotic soldiers who would fight our battles, over the years Hollywood has given us plenty of robots to marvel at. According to all of the television, movies, novels and comics the future would be bursting full of robots that would be helping us perform all manner of tasks. And believe it or not, that robot-filled future really has come to pass, just not so much in the exact ways that we were promised.
Most of us probably use a robot of some sort every day and we never even think about it. Do you have a Roomba? That is, of course, a robot. Does your car have an automated parking feature? Robot. Do you work on a manufacturing assembly line? Robot. Do you have a 3D printer? Robot. Do you go through the drive thru at McDonald’s? They even have a robot that fills the soda cups for them. The science of robotics is important to almost every industry in the world in some way or another, and as technology improves they only grow into larger parts of our lives.
The founders of San Francisco-based Transcend Robotics have always had a goal of manufacturing robots that could find themselves in every home, and their new robotic mobility technology could help them reach it. This week the technology startup signed a cooperative research and development agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the largest of the US Department of Energy’s science and energy laboratories. Under the agreement, Transcend Robotics will work together to develop 3D printing technology that can be used to manufacture mission specific tooling and direct part substitution for a wide variety of mobile robotics systems. The technology will be developed at the ORNL manufacturing demonstration facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
“This partnership with Oak Ridge National Lab validates the unique proposition value of the Articulated Traction Control (ARTI) technology and its potential to transform the world of robotics mobility through innovative obstacle traversal and stair-climbing. We are excited to work with the leading experts at ORNL to leverage advanced additive manufacturing to lower the cost of critical ARTI components. This enables applications of mobile robotics across more industries while keeping production in the United States,” said Phil Walker, CEO and co-founder of Transcend Robotics.
Transcend Robotics’ ground-based mobile robotic ARTI platform was designed with a patented mobility systems that is capable of traversing a wide variety of obstacles and terrain. It does this with a simple, self-positioning tread system that allows it to easily climb stairs or over uneven ground without needing to specifically position the robot , it simply works by moving forward and letting the terrain orientate the robot on its own. Future Transcend Robotics technology will benefit from the expertise and experience of the ORNL team, who will work to use additive manufacturing to lower the cost per unit and eliminate the barrier of entry for the adoption of advanced mobile robotic technology.
Here is some video of the ARTI robot easily moving up and down stairs:
“Oak Ridge National Lab is excited to work with innovative new startup companies such as Transcend Robotics. This research fits squarely with ORNL’s goal of delivering transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security,” explained ORNL’s Group Leader of Manufacturing Systems Research, Lonnie Love.
Transcend’s ARTI platform is capable of far more maneuverability and agility than most robotic systems, and their works without the need for complicated and sensitive actuator systems. Their Articulated Traction Control Technology is a versatile robotic system that can be adapted to a wide range of industries and environments. Transcend Robotics technology has been used for manufacturing, construction, mining, and research applications, and can be equipped with everything from cameras to powerful sensors to 3D laser scanners to cargo payloads for medical supplies. You can find out more about the ARTI platform over on the Transcend Robotics website. Discuss further in the Transcend & New 3D Printing Technology forum over at 3DPB.com.