Saturday, June 6, 2009

Japanese 'bot builder shows off his walking chair

Leave it to an awesome country such as Japan to celebrate robots, and Robo Japan 2008 is the place to do it. That's where this robotic spider chair — or is it more like a horse? — was spotted, carrying around a man much like a wheelchair could. The idea of giving a chair legs instead of wheels has its benefits, and it's one that's been explored in all corners of science fiction, from Star Wars to the robo-horse buggies in Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age.

With legs, a robotic chair might be able to traverse various surfaces easier, such as steep inclines and stairs. I suppose you couldn't zoom around like you could with wheels, but it's only a matter of time before designers can get these robotic legs galloping. With more time and effort, it seems a technology like this could have great applications for the elderly and disabled.

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