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From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, have designed a new humanoid or human-like robot. Its name is Robo Sally. The machine can be controlled from a distance and can be used to do work that is dangerous for human beings.
Robo Sally has two long arms with human-like hands. She can use her fingers to pick up small objects, examine them in detail and do most things that human hands can do. Each finger contains a tiny motor capable of squeezing 20 pounds of pinch force, enough to defuse a bomb under the direction of an operator. Robo Sally sits on a metal base with wheels that let the robot move around, turn in tight spaces and climb over small objects. Mike McLaughlin is the main investigator for the Applied Physics Laboratory’s Prosthetics Program. It was a difficult job. Mr. McLaughlin says the robot hand had to have many small motors to have the ability to do what a human hand does. It also needed to have human-like strength. For search and rescue duties, Robo Sally will be operated by a person using a wireless machine that is far from the robot. The operator will also wear special glasses. The glasses will permit the operator to see the robot’s hands. Mr. McLaughlin says this kind of robot could be used in what he calls “dull, dirty or dangerous” situations where fine human finger movements are required. Mr. McLaughlin says the technology is not fully ready yet. He predicts that within five years, there will be some very big improvements.