Just how far do you think robotic technology will bring us eventually? Well, researchers have managed to come up with a “blind” robot of sorts, where it is known as the Shrewbot. The battery-powered Shrewbot is roughly the size of a small dog, and is capable of moving its head around while sporting omnidirectional wheels without any eyes. Just how then is it going to learn to communicate with its surroundings? It is nice to know that it has a sense of touch thanks to its plastic whiskers, with 18 of them located on its snout that are capable of moving back and forth five times per second. Interestingly enough, actual living, breathing shrews will whisk at double the speed. Each time the “whisker” touches something, it will bend over backward, pushing a magnet at its base which will detect the displacement while sending such information to the Shrewbot’s computer processor.
These touch signals will in turn be used to create a picture of its environment, all the while helping it distinguish shapes and textures. Since the Shrewbot is wholly autonomous, it is not remote controlled in any way, and has the ability to investigate approximately three feet of a wall in half a minute.