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Robotics

— Robotics

Freescale introduces sensor-laden humanoid robot platform for US$200

By - June 24, 2012 9 Pictures
A hundred years ago, the state-of-the-art of automotive technology was being pushed forward as quickly by shade-tree mechanics as it was by formal industrial R&D. To paraphrase John Steinbeck: "Two generations of Americans knew more about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars." The current situation in robotics could be seen in a similar light - open source hardware and software provide very similar tools and capabilities to hobbyists and robotics start-up company alike. To ease entry into the field, Freescale Semiconductors has just introduced FSLBOT, which provides the basic hardware and software for development of a walking, sensor-laden robot starting at only US$200. Read More
— Robotics

Tactile robot finger outperforms humans in identifying textures

By - June 18, 2012 4 Pictures
We’ve seen the development of a number of technologies that could be used to provide robots with a sense of touch, such as proximity and temperature sensing hexagonal plates and artificial skin constructed from semiconductor nanowires. However, perhaps none are as impressive as a tactile sensor developed by researchers at the University of California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. The group’s BioTac sensor was built to mimic a human fingertip and can outperform humans in identifying a wide range of materials, offering potential use for the technology in robotics and prostheses. Read More
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DARPA looks at developing robots to sew uniforms

By - June 18, 2012 4 Pictures
U.S. military uniforms may not be the most fashionable of clothes, but there are a lot of them. Every year, the Pentagon spends US$4 billion on uniforms and over 50,000 people are employed in their production. In an effort to cut costs and increase efficiency, DARPA has awarded a US$1.25 million contract SoftWear Automation, Inc. to develop “complete production facilities that produce garments with zero direct labor is the ultimate goal" - in other words, a robot factory that can make uniforms from beginning to end without human operators. Read More
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English researchers teach the iCub robot to form words

By - June 18, 2012 1 Picture
iCub is an open-source hardware project described as a “cognitive humanoid robotic platform." The project was initiated in Italy, but the technology is now in use at several other labs, including the University of Hertfordshire. Researchers there, taking part in the iTalk project, have carried out experiments to find out how robots can develop basic language skills by interacting with a human. Read More

Flying robot picks itself up and relaunches after crashing

Researchers from the Laboratory for Intelligent Systems at Switzerland’s EPFL federal research institute were inspired by the resilience of flying insects, and set out to replicate it in a miniature unmanned aerial vehicle. They succeeded, creating a UAV that can crash into things, fall down, then right itself and get back in the air. Read More
— Robotics

GTRI develops prototype chicken-deboning robot

By - June 10, 2012 2 Pictures
Chickens have another reason to lose sleep thanks to roboticists at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Using 3D imaging technology, the Intelligent Cutting and Deboning System developed at GTRI can debone an entire chicken with the skill of a human butcher and has the potential of saving the poultry industry millions of dollars by reducing costs and waste. Read More
— Robotics

DASH robot mimics cockroaches' disappearing act

By - June 7, 2012 2 Pictures
Anyone who has tried to kill a cockroach knows just how difficult they can be to be to capture. Not only can they squeeze through very narrow gaps, but they can also instantly accelerate to a running speed of approximately 50 body lengths per second. Recently, biologists at the University of California, Berkeley realized that the insects have another escape skill at their disposal. When they get to the edge of a surface such as a table, they can hook it with their rear claws and swing around 180 degrees to land upside down on its underside – a maneuver also performed by geckos. A team of UC Berkeley researchers subsequently did what any of us would do upon gaining that knowledge, and set out to get a robot to perform the action. Read More

MH-2 is the tiny wearable telepresence humanoid robot you've always wanted

The MH-2 is a telepresence robot like no other we have seen, and believe us, we’ve seen our share of weird robots. This tiny humanoid figure is always there for you, perching on your shoulder, ready to be remotely inhabited by your friends. Conceived by the researchers at Yamagata University in Japan, MH-2 is designed to imitate human behavior accurately enough for you to feel like your friend is actually there with you. Read More
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Swarms of air-bubble microrobots with laser engines could assemble live cells

By - May 22, 2012 2 Pictures
Building robots out of bubbles is an intriguing idea in its own right, but propelling them with lasers is just plain crazy. The bubble microrobots, devised by the researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, have no mechanical parts whatsoever, but can nevertheless be manipulated with very high precision. Combined into complex robotic systems, they could potentially be used to assemble larger objects, such as biological cells. Read More
— Robotics

MIT researchers create robotic elephant trunk

By - May 21, 2012 1 Picture
Regular readers might remember the robotic universal gripper that can pick up a wide variety of objects thanks to an elastic membrane filled with coffee grounds. Earlier this year, the developers revealed they had given their versatile gripper the ability to “shoot” objects some distance, and now a team at MIT has “extended” the technology to create a robotic arm that can twist, flex and grip in a way not dissimilar to an elephant’s trunk. Read More

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