Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Robots for Safe Sports

In a recent article in the Jet Airways in-flight magazine, I read how the Qatar Camel Racing Federation is using robots as camel jockeys for camel races. The robot mounted on a camel, is equipped with cameras, and is controlled by a human who follows in a truck. The robot responds to the commands transmitted via radio control by the human controller. You can watch a video of this here.

In the past, child jockeys participated in these camel races and they fell off the camels frequently and were trampled by the camels. This article describes the camel racing injuries among children. It is therefore nice to see how robotic technology is used in this traditional sport to promote safety. 

Interestingly, the earlier robot designs frightened the camels and more human-like features were added to the robot to make it less intimidating or confusing to the camel.

Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann from London, via Wikimedia Commons

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