The biennial International Robot Exhibition is billed as the largest robot trade show in the world. Gizmag went along to this month's 21st edition in Tokyo, which attracted more companies and 20 percent more visitors than iREX 2013, to check out the latest developments in the world of robotics.
Roaming around a driving range retrieving the endless scattering of golf balls is a pretty tall order for staff, especially when you consider the bays full of weekend hackers taking aim at their caged buggies. But one company is looking to give golfers a smaller moving target to aim at. The Ball Picker robot autonomously scoots around sucking up golf balls and returns them to a ball dispenser to be teed up once again.
If you've got a 3-inch diameter pipe to inspect from inside, chances are you're not going to try crawling in there yourself. At the recent IREX 2015 show in Japan, however, we spied a robot designed to do just that. Made by Tokyo-based HiBot, THESBOT is a sinuous robot that snakes its way through narrow pipework, transmitting real-time video and gathering other data as it does so.
Assistive exoskeletons are a bit like electric bikes – they do indeed give users a power boost, but part of that boost is needed just to move the extra weight along. Japanese researchers at Hiroshima University and Daiya Industry Co., however, have created a minimalist exoskeleton that does away with heavy batteries and motors. Instead, their Unplugged Powered Suit (UPS) harnesses the wearer's own weight.
Large sprawling airports in unfamiliar cities can be difficult places to find your way around. While it helps if someone can point you in the right direction, what's best is if they can actually take you where you want to go. Well, that's where Spencer comes in. "He" is a multi-lingual robot that's designed to guide travellers through airports.
As strange as it sounds, the future of skin care could involve tiny robots powered by changes in humidity. This week, a group of Seoul National University researchers shared their research into creating such devices, inspired by the slow motions of plants.
The likes of Asimo, Valkyrie and ATLAS better make some room, as there's a new humanoid robot on the block – and it looks not unlike the Gort bot from the original The Day the Earth Stood Still. It's the third version of the University of Tehran's Surena robot, and it was unveiled this Monday.
If one thing has been learned in the last half century, it's that sending astronauts into the harsh, unforgiving environment of space is both dangerous and expensive. To find a way to minimize risk and cost, NASA is sending a pair of prototype humanoid robots back to school. The space agency is giving two R5 "Valkyrie" robots to university groups at MIT and Northeastern University for advanced research and development of robotic astronauts that could act as vanguards for manned missions or as assistants for humans traveling to Mars.
Inspired by the water boatman bug, a team at the University of Bristol has created the Row-bot, a robot prototype that is designed to punt itself across the top of the water in dirty ponds or lakes, and "eat" the microbes it scoops up. It then breaks these down in its artificial stomach to create energy to power itself. In this way, it generates enough power to continuously impel itself about to seek out more bacteria to feed upon.
If you turn up to your local supermarket one day to find all of your favourite items fully stocked, you may have the slender robot sauntering up and down the aisles to thank. Announced today, Tally is an autonomous retail robot that rolls around stores making sure shelves are correctly stocked, promising to cut labor costs and lost revenue in the process.