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Robotics

Squishy motor powers robots that can take a beating

In recent years robots have gone soft – literally – bringing with them a number of advantages. They are safer for humans to work with, can grasp different types of objects and now, may soon be better equipped to handle rough terrain. Scientists have developed a squishy motor that powers a soft rover across rocky paths and through water. They say such a vehicle could find applications in search and rescue missions and even deep space exploration.Read More

Cozmo uses AI to develop a little robot personality

There are plenty of toy robots on the market, but they tend to lack a real sense of personality. With scripted responses and set, repeated movements, they can be hard to love. A team of robotics engineers at Anki have attempted to create a truly loveable robot that relies on AI to give it some real personality.Read More

Boston Dynamics' SpotMini robot helps out around the house

Boston Dynamics has gone from the battlefield to the home with a smaller, quieter quadruped robot that can navigate around the house and even fetch you a drink – if you can get it to let go of the can. The focus of a new video released today, the SpotMini is a more compact and streamlined version of the Spot robot unveiled in 2015 and boasts an articulated arm with a manipulator that looks like a cross between a sheep's head and an oven mitt.Read More

Bespoke processor gives robot movement a speed boost

In structured environments, such as on manufacturing lines, robots are able to carry out pre-planned movements much faster than humans, but in unfamiliar environments it takes a lot of time for robots to plan movements that humans make almost without thinking. To give robots a speed boost, engineers at Duke University have developed a new processor that enables robots to perform motion planning 10,000 times faster than conventional methods.Read More

Jackrabbot plays nice with pedestrians

With the era of autonomous cars almost upon us, engineers at Stanford University are already working on something more difficult – robots that can share the pavement with pedestrians. Jackrabbot may look like a backyard BB8 with WALL-E's head stuck on, but its function goes beyond cuteness. It's designed to interact with pedestrians and learn from them how to get around without bumping into people or annoying them.Read More

Robotic librarians hit the books

Computer systems have helped catalogue libraries for decades, but if some reckless reader has put a book back in the wrong spot, it's a daunting task for librarians to search the entire building for it – but not for robotic librarians. Researchers at A*STAR's Institute for Infocomm Research are designing robots that can self-navigate through libraries at night, scanning spines and shelves to report back on missing or out-of-place books.Read More

Asus aims for the heart of the home with cute do-it-all robot

At Computex today, Asus revealed the Zenbo home robot. Kind of like Echo meets Keecker with a bit of Pepper sprinkled in the mix, it's been created to offer busy modern family members a helping hand with everyday tasks like keeping the kids entertained, controlling connected smart devices and providing recipe inspiration for mealtimes. The company also sees it acting as a remote guardian for the elderly.Read More

Jumping cockroach robot leaps tall obstacles in a single bound

For such a reviled creature, the cockroach has some pretty impressive abilities. It can slide through incredibly narrow gaps, has great acceleration and can cling to overhanging surfaces like a gecko. But something you won't see them doing is launching more than a meter into the air – at least not in the natural world. But researchers have developed a new springing mechanism for small robots that enables them to jump many times their own height at just the right time, a technology they have demonstrated in their so-called JumpRoACH leaping milli-scale robot.Read More

No pain no gain: Hurting robots so they can save themselves

It's probably not something you'd say to a person writhing in agony on the floor, but physical pain can have its benefits. It is after all how kids learn to be wary of hot surfaces and carpenters to hit nails on the head. Researchers are now adapting this exercise in self-learning to an artificial nervous system for robots, a tool they believe will better equip these machines to avoid damage and preserve their – and our – well-being. Read More

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