The world’s rowing machines have been used for decades by people to perform daily tasks like washing dishes and helping to build houses, but they’re also increasingly being used to perform dangerous and dangerous tasks like driving.
And now, a new system from the Boston University School of Engineering may be able to provide some safety benefits.
The robot, called the D-Ripper, can carry out some of the same tasks as a traditional rowing boat, but it will be a bit smaller and have a smaller footprint.
And unlike the traditional boat, which can be operated remotely, it won’t need a crew member to operate it.
“This is something that was a little bit off the radar a few years ago,” said MIT mechanical engineering professor David Loynes.
“But the fact that we’ve been able to do it in a controlled environment has opened up a lot of opportunities.”
The D-ripper is essentially a smaller version of a roping boat that roams on a dock at the MIT Boat Complex.
The rowing team hopes to put it to work for rowing in the future, but Loyne said the D the D Ripper is a big step forward.
“We have a really interesting system where we’re able to use a ropeworker, a person who can control the boat remotely, and we’re also able to control the computer and the sensors and the actuators that are actually on the boat,” he said.
“So we’re really getting into something that we don’t even know how to do yet.”
While rowing is not exactly a new technology, Loyes said it has become more popular with the development of rowing equipment in recent years.
“When I was in college in the 1990s, I was one of the first people to do this,” he recalled.
“I think there’s a lot that has changed in the past two decades, but for a lot more people, I think it’s a good idea.”
The Boston University team says the D is one of several new rowing boats that it’s working on.
It’s currently working on the D8, which it says will be smaller and lighter than the previous version.
And it is working on an underwater rowing system called the R7, which is smaller than the D. The R7 is being developed for use in the Caribbean, where there is very little land available.
“It’s a great time for us because we can be using rowing for something other than rowing,” said Loyns.
“We’re going to be able make something really good that people will really enjoy, that will be able do a lot to help with people who live in remote areas.”
The research team is working to develop a new version of the D with a wider footprint that will include the rowing gear and the ropewarpers, so that the system will be much more robust than the one that currently exists.
And the team is also looking to build an autonomous version of this system.
While the roping system isn’t yet complete, Lionel Bens, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, said that the team has a lot left to learn and is very excited about its prospects.
“What we have is a system that is very, very small,” he explained.
“It is a very efficient system, but also very efficient for ropelessing.
And so it’s the right size to be really effective in areas that we’re not really interested in rowing.”