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Scientists Have Developed An Iron Man-Style Robot To Help In Natural Disasters

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Scientists Have Developed An Iron Man-Style Robot To Help In Natural Disasters

A team of scientists at a research facility in Italy has developed a robot to help out during natural disasters.

The small humanoid robot, called iCub, will fly using a propulsion backpack and will have systems in its palms that allow it to control power and direction.

The scientists from Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia have essentially created a machine designed to fly just like Marvel superhero Iron Man.

Credit: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Credit: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
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The team has been working on robotics for the last 15 years, with the goal to push Italy forward in the sector.

They hope the robot's size and propulsion abilities will allow it to reach spots humans or drones cannot get to.

"At 104 cm tall, the iCub has the size of a five-year-old child," read the specs on the robot.

"It can crawl on all fours, walk and sit up to manipulate objects. Its hands have been designed to support sophisticated manipulation skills."

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I can definitely see iCub in my nightmares, crawling towards me with its tiny humanoid face.

Using Open Source coding, iCub will be able to be worked on worldwide by a community of developers.

Over 40 robots have been built so far and are available in labs around the world, in Europe, the US, Korea, Singapore, China and Japan.

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The robot's sensitive full-body skin will allow it to physically interact with its environment, including people, which will further help it support rescuers during disasters.

"Every year, about 300 natural disasters kill around 90,000 humans and affect 160 million people across the world," says the lab.

The goal of iCub is to bridge the gap between human rescuers and robots, allowing it to help out both indoors in scenarios such as earthquakes, while also be effective outdoors.

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iCub's skin and ability to fly should mean it is flexible enough to be used in many emergency scenarios.

Credit: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Credit: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

It can walk on different types of terrain, the propulsion allows it to overcome large obstacles and its arms are capable of manipulating objects to help recovery efforts.

iCub also has a head and torso that are capable of tilting and panning, and multiple joints along its arm and hands allow it to move, manipulate and pick up objects.

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It weighs in at 30kgs, or 33kgs with its battery pack, and has two cameras and two microphones.

Featured Image Credit: AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Robots, Science, Iron Man, News

Hannah Blackiston
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