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Robotics

— Robotics

Golf ball-gathering Ball Picker robot is like a Roomba for the range

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.

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— Robotics

THESBOT pipe-inspecting robot goes where the sun don't shine

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.

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— Robotics

Japanese exoskeleton could help users walk and run, no batteries required

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.

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— Robotics

NASA sends humanoid robots to university

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.

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— Robotics

Row-bot cleans dirty water and powers itself by eating microbes

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.

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— Robotics

Tally robot autonomously takes stock of store shelves

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.

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