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Robotics

Japanese hobbyists amaze with latest robot creations

Kenji Ishida, a hobbyist known for building impressive Transformer-like robots, has shared some new videos of his project on YouTube. Likewise, a robot based on the virtual J-POP idol Hatsune Miku has surfaced that shows what is possible when you combine the current crop of hobby robot servos with hard work and dedication. Don't miss the videos after the break! Read More

BFS-Auto robot can read 250 pages per minute

Online book collections are becoming larger and more important each day. As more libraries are digitized, people are now able to read books on their tablets that once would have required traveling thousands of miles to even see. Scanning hundreds of thousands of books quickly without damaging them remains a challenge however, and it's a challenge which the BFS-Auto robot is well and truly up for.Read More

Robots are learning to walk and run at Delft University

Leo and Phides – two planar biped robots built at the Delft University of Technology – are walking and running, respectively. Leo improved its walking gait through reinforcement learning, which shapes behavior by rewarding success and punishing failure. Phides, the running robot, has achieved an impressive flight phase (the period in a running stride in which both feet are off the ground). Watch the robots in action after the break.Read More

Disney Research robot can juggle, play catch

With the aim of providing some physical interaction between entertainment robots and guests at its theme parks, while still maintaining a safe distance between the two, Disney Research has created an animatronic robot that can play catch and juggle balls with a human partner. Read More

Georgia Tech's pint-sized robot pianists

Researchers at Georgia Tech's GRITS Lab are working with swarms of mini robots that communicate with one another to work effectively. The aim of the research is to create networks that can be controlled by inputting instructions to a single robot. Beginning with a leader, each robot communicates with its nearest neighbors until the instructions have been shared across the network. In an effort to create the most efficient "follow-the-leader" algorithms, the researchers are getting the robot swarm to play musical notes on a simulated piano.Read More

Toshiba unveils four-legged nuclear plant inspection robot

Toshiba has unveiled a four-legged inspection robot, which will carry out work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where people cannot go. The newly developed robot – simply called a Quadruped walking robot – comes equipped with a smaller wheeled robot that can be deployed to navigate hard-to-reach areas. The legged robot can negotiate stairs, uneven terrain, and is able to avoid low-lying obstacles.Read More

iRobot's new hand can take a beating from a baseball bat

Not even a baseball bat can damage the fingers of a new robotic hand developed by iRobot for the DARPA Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program. The four-year program, which began in 2010, seeks to build and program a robot capable of handling all kinds of things on the battlefield with minimal human input. Most robot hands have rigid components which tend to be quite fragile, but this hand has rubbery fingers, which are better able to absorb impacts. Read More

Honda's HEARBO robot has excellent hearing

A team led by Kazuhiro Nakadai at Honda Research Institute-Japan (HRI-JP) is improving how robots process and understand sound. The robot, aptly called HEARBO (HEARing roBOt), can parse four sounds (including voices) at once, and can tell where the sounds are coming from. The system, called HARK, could allow future robot servants to better understand verbal commands from several meters away.Read More

The Social Drink Machine takes your order via Facebook and Twitter

Robofun, which bills itself as the largest open-source hardware store in Romania, has built a robotic bartender called The Social Drink Machine. It takes its inspiration from another recently created "botender," The Inebriator, which the team at Robofun felt could be improved with a social media interface. They built their own robot from scratch in just 10 days and added Facebook and Twitter apps that let you order drinks from a mobile phone.Read More

South Korea develops bird strike defense robot

The Korean Atomic Energy Group and LIG Nex1 (an aerospace and defense subsidiary of LG Corp) have jointly developed what they are calling the world's first bird strike defense robot. Birds are a major headache around military air bases and civilian airports all over the world, as they can cause significant damage when they collide with aircraft or get sucked into engines. The robot is a six-wheeled unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that uses a combination of directional acoustics and laser patterns to scare birds away.Read More

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