Modern robots are designed to ensure that most tasks are made easy, comfortable and safe for us. The most important aspect of using robotics lies in fields which present extreme danger to human life or in cases where our organic body can no longer withstand the crushing forces of the elements around. It for this reason that fields like marine biology and cosmology working in extreme environments depend heavily on modern robotics. With the construction industry literally reaching whole new heights, robotics is entering the new field to save lives of construction workers who indulge in dangerous tasks at precariously high altitudes.
The Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech won the grand prize at the 2008 International Capstone Design Fair by designing a family of robots dubbed “HyDRAS and CIRCA,” which are capable of climbing scaffolding and buildings by wrapping around a poll or beam and then rolling upward via an oscillating joint motion. The robots are light in weight because of the use of compressed air to power them on in their climb. While both the robots are operated by a wire connected to central controls on the ground for now, work is on to make sure that they can be controlled wirelessly using cams and microprocessors. Hopefully the new set of robots will save thousands of lives of construction workers, which are being lost in big cities and the heights of growing skyscrapers.