Mahoro Two-Armed Lab Robot

Mahoro is a two-armed lab robot developed by Yaskawa and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). Each arm has seven joints, allowing it sufficient degrees of freedom to use tools designed for humans.


(Mahoro Two-Armed Lab Robot video)

Developed by automation giant Yaskawa and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), co-creator of the HRP series of humanoid robots, Mahoro is a two-armed droid that looks like a modified Yaskawa Motoman assembly robot.

Unlike most assembly robots, its arms have seven joints, allowing it to use human tools and to perform humanlike motions easily.

It automates lab work and can do tasks such as culturing more quickly and accurately than human lab techs, DigInfo News tells us in the vid below. It can work on things like flu testing as well as handle biohazards, keeping human technicians out of harm's way, according to AIST's Tohru Natsume.

When I saw the video, I thought immediately of the teleoperated lab robot from James Blish's 1957 novel Cities in Flight:

he realized that the moving thing inside was - of course - a robot; a misshapen, many-tentacled thing about twice the size of a man. It was working busily with bottles and flasks, of which it seemed to have thousands on benches and shelves all around it The whole enclosure was a litter of what Helmuth took to be chemical apparatus, and off to one side was an object which might have been a microscope...

SF writer Greg Bear has thought about the other niceties of an automated lab; in this case, the automated specimen track:

The sorter and analyzers were connected by steel and white plastic automated specimen tracks, running like a little railroad through diffraction molecular imagers, inoculators/incubators, and a variety of video microscopes - including two up-to-the-minute carbon force counters. All magnificently automated. A one- or at most two-person lab.

Via Cnet.

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