Monthly Archives: November 2006

Da Vinci Robot, Helps Surgeons to Operate Prostate Cancers

Every day we learn how robot technology is used to help us with tasks that are far from trivial.

This robot, named after the famous painter “Leonardo Da Vinci” helps surgeons to reduce the risks of complications to 1/3 to the normal rate.

Da Vinci, has nothing that resembles the humanoid type of robot. Here doctors sit in front of screens and help control the arms of the instruments of the robot that operate the patient.

The difference is in speed and precision that the robot can achieve.

The Times
November 10, 2006
I’ve seen the future of prostate surgery and it works robotically
Dr Thomas Stuttaford
Success rates for operations on cancer of the prostate are vastly improved for
surgeons using a robot called da Vinci.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has an exhibition of the drawings, manuscripts and models of Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian artist and inventor, now on show. Da Vinci drew a flying machine more than 400 years before the Wright brothers took to the air. He also studied the anatomy of the human body and his anatomical pictures have never been surpassed, even though he left out the prostate: one organ that is essential for the continuation of the human

Battlebots, Gladiators of the 21st century

Robots can do a lot of things, so why not put them to fight against each other?

This idea, born in 1994 with the “Robot Wars” competition that was held in August, at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, California. The idea is to put robots into different competitions, like playing football, the tug of war, and obstacle races, and of course to fight each other.

  • Lightweight 27 kg
  • Middleweight 54 kg
  • Heavyweight 100 kg
  • Superheavyweight 154 kg

And in the latest editions new classes where introduced:

  • Fairyweight 150 grams
  • Antweight 450 grams
  • Beetleweight 1,3 kg
  • Hobbyweight 5,4 kg
  • Featherweight 13,6 kg

The house robots are massive pieces and they are not subject to the same limitations as the competing robots, the biggest one, “Mr. Psycho” totaling 750kg of metal gears. That can explain the introduction of much smaller categories into the competitions.

Mr Phyco, in the arena

Combat rules:

Each combat will last 3 minutes.
During that time each robot will try to put the opponent out of combat (unable to operate).

The first robot that is unable to move for 30 seconds, because it’s damaged or blocked it is declared KO.
To protect the robots from being heavily damaged the driver can call a “tap-out” to forfeit the match. Once the driver has made the call, a 10 seconds count down is started until the match it stopped. Note that during this period the opponent can still do more damage.

If both robots ended the match, a jury composed of 3 people will distribute a total of 45 points among 3 categories, Strategy, Aggression and Damage. The robot with the higher score wins.
The winner moves on; the loser is eliminated from the tournament.

The Combat Arena

The arena is a steel square of 13m x13m with steel-framed walls and roof protected with thick, bullet proof polycarbonate plastic, designed to protect the drivers, officials, and audience from flying shrapnel and charging robots.
The robots make their entry trough doorways, which are locked until the end of the combat.
The drivers control their machines from outside the sealed arena.

Arena Dangers (partial list)

  • Spinners: Disks in the floor that send a light
    robot flying across the arena. This only affects the lower weight
  • Spike Strips: These 30cm long spikes mounted on the
    walls of the arena can cause serious damage if a robot is pushed against
  • Kill Saws: They are activated by red slots on the
    arena. If a robot drives over one of these slots, a diamond-tipped saw
    blade rises out of the floor, and can tear into the robot wheels and chassis.
  • Ramrods: Six sharp steel spikes that come out of
    the floor. The can damage a robot if the bottom is not protected.
  • Pistons: Pistons, like the Ramrods raise and
    lower from the floor without warning. They are not sharp or fast, they
    don’t do much damage to robots.
  • Hell Raisers: up until season 5, the center of the
    arena was equipped with an hydraulic lift will move sections of the floor
    to a 15-degree tilt.

The arena hazards make fights unpredictable, and tend to reward drivers who avoid the hazards while forcing their opponents to fall into them.

Although this type of competition can be really fun, spending month of time and money to see your creation destroyed in the arena is not for everybody.There are a number of Robotic competitions around where you can take your creations without risking any damage to your creation.

Juan Pablo.