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Jason Falconer

Space

German robots could team up to explore lunar craters

While Japan is gearing up to send a miniature humanoid robot to the International Space Station, the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center and the ZARM (Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity) are working on a pair of robots that may one day help explore craters on the Moon in search of water ice. The RIMRES (Reconfigurable Integrated Multi Robot Exploration System) project combines a six-legged robot that can be picked up and moved with a faster wheeled transporter.Read More

Space

Kibo space robot revealed, undergoes zero G testing

The Japanese communication robot destined to join the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) this summer recently underwent some zero gravity testing. The Kibo Robot Project, organized by Dentsu Inc. in response to a proposal made by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, unveiled the final design of its diminutive humanoid robot and its Earthbound counterpart. Watch the cutest robot-related video of the year after the break.Read More

Games

AMD's TressFX Hair gives game characters lovely locks

The problems associated with rendering realistic hair has held video games back for years. When Nintendo first created the sprite for Mario in the original Donkey Kong, it gave him a hat because it was too difficult to animate his hair. When video games made the leap into the world of real-time 3D graphics, things didn't get much better. Today AMD is officially unveiling its solution, TressFX Hair, that will significantly improve the look of virtual hair beginning with the new Tomb Raider.Read More

Robotics

Quadrocopters throw, catch, and balance an inverted pendulum

Apparently, balancing a pole on top of a flying quadrocopter robot wasn't challenging enough for the researchers at ETH Zurich's Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control. Their latest project has two quadrocopters playing catch with a precariously balanced pole – the first robot launches the pole into the air, while the second robot deftly moves into position in less than a second to catch it as it falls. The incredible precision flying achieved by the team can be seen in a video after the break.Read More

Robotics

OriHime is your eyes and ears back home

Ironically, humanoid robots may have to put aside their arms and legs if they're to gain a foothold in our daily lives. All those servos required to power multiple limbs can get expensive, they quickly drain the robot's batteries, and cause all sorts of problems if even one of them breaks. Eschewing this complexity leaves you with just a head and torso, a compromise adopted by several prospective household robots. Among those is a new communication robot by Waseda University's Ory Lab, launching later this year.Read More

Russian team builds walking ostrich bot on a budget

A group of four Russian robot fanatics calling themselves Konstantin Ivanov has built a walking ostrich robot with just US$1,500 and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. You can see it walking on a Russian television show, along with a robot-driven carriage, in the video after the break.Read More

3D Printing

CADScan3D desktop scanner generates accurate full-color virtual models

Computer models are typically created by specialists using dedicated CAD software or animation packages. The more detailed the object, the more time and experience it takes to make it. One shortcut would be to scan a real life version of the desired object (if it exists), but 3D scanners are generally expensive, bulky machines that aren't practical for the average person. The advent of affordable, desktop-sized 3D scanners like the CADScan3D could change all that – and presents troubling legal issues for the growing maker movement.Read More

3D Printing

3D print your own robot with Hello Robo's MAKI

Hot on the heels of InMoov, the 3D-printable android, comes a similar but much less intimidating project for DIYers by Hello Robo. MAKI is a cute communication robot that can be assembled from 3D-printed parts and some off-the-shelf electronic components for less than US$500, making it an affordable platform for hobbyists and university labs. Hello Robo has opted to launch MAKI via crowdfunding site Kickstarter, where a $30 pledge will net you the 3D blueprints.Read More

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