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Robotics

Universal Robots' tablet-controlled factory robots work safely with humans

Industrial robots have been around for the better part of the last sixty years, but until recently most took days to program and had to be cordoned off to prevent injuring their human coworkers. That's beginning to change thanks to smarter robots, like those developed by Universal Robots, a Danish company who's technology – already prevalent in Europe – has been hailed "the world's most innovative robot" by the International Federation of Robotics and the IEEE.Read More

Robotic mannequins strike a pose in South Korea

Is the fashion industry ready for a robot takeover? A new robotic mannequin developed by South Korea's IMD Communications may give rivals from Japan some competition. It comes in three varieties, each named after an Indian god and programmed with its own modeling behaviors. Endrani is described as a 30-something woman who exudes elegance, Dipani highlights women's confidence and creativity, and Marian – the most dynamic of the three – symbolizes strength and the outdoors.Read More

World's most anatomically correct musculoskeletal robot is presented in Japan

Most human-like robots don't even attempt biological accuracy, because replicating every muscle in the body isn't necessary for a functional humanoid. Even biomimetic robots based on animals don't attempt to replicate every anatomical detail of the animals they imitate, because that would needlessly complicate things. That said, there is much to be learned from how muscle groups move and interact with the skeleton, which is why a team at Tokyo University's JSK Lab has developed what could be considered the world's most anatomically correct robot to date.Read More

KUBI – the inexpensive telepresence "robot" for tablets

The burgeoning telepresence market continues to gather steam with Revolve Robotics the latest venture to introduce a low-cost telepresence system through crowd-funding. But unlike the others, KUBI (Japanese for "neck") is mainly stationary. It's essentially a tablet stand that can hold a tablet in portrait or landscape mode and allows the caller to remotely pan and tilt the tablet to change their point of view.Read More

Hitachi unveils clean-up robot destined for Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the Japanese robotics industry was criticized for developing expensive walking humanoids rather than more practical robots. It seems the country won't have to rely on foreign robots to do the dirty work much longer, as Hitachi has announced a compact, dual-armed heavy duty robot that will begin removing rubble at the plant next year.Read More

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries reveals nuclear plant inspection robot MHI-MEISTeR

Over the past few weeks, Japan has unveiled robotic exoskeletons and quadrupeds designed to work in radioactive areas, and today Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has revealed its own inspection and maintenance robot. The MHI-MEISTeR (Maintenance Equipment Integrated System of Telecontrol Robot) has two arms which can be equipped with various tools to remove obstacles and collect samples in areas where people cannot go.Read More

First of four autonomous Wave Glider robots successfully crosses Pacific ocean

Last November, a fleet of four small autonomous Wave Glider aquatic robots set out from San Francisco to sail across the Pacific ocean. They reached Hawaii this March, at which point they parted ways – as according to plan, one pair struck out for Japan, while the other two headed for Australia. Today, it was announced that the first of the two Australia-bound Wave Gliders has reached its destination, setting a new world record for the longest distance traveled by an autonomous vehicle.Read More

Pinokio lamp is the real-life counterpart to Pixar's Luxo Jr

Luxo Jr, the adorable little lamp that appears in the Disney Pixar logo, illustrates how animators can breathe life into mundane inanimate objects. Now, robotics technology allows us to do the same thing in real life, as shown by a trio from the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Using a combination of readily available robotics and automated manufacturing technology, mixed with open-source software, they were able to grace a desk lamp with a little personality.Read More

MIT developing a robotic "Swiss Army knife" that changes shape to suit the job

An MIT team is developing a robot that has the potential to become possibly the most versatile machine ever. Referred to by the team as the "robotic equivalent of a Swiss Army knife,” the milli-motein robot is made up of a chain of tiny modules each containing a new type of motor that can be used to form the chain into various shapes. This shape-changing capability could lead to the creation of robots that dynamically change their form to suit the task at hand.Read More

MIT spin-off Robot Rebuilt working on sensitive robotic hands

Robot manipulators – or hands, as we like to call them – come in all shapes and sizes. Some, like those developed for Willow Garage's PR2, have just two fingers. Others have three, four, or five fingers – and some manage to lift objects with none at all. Now, an MIT spin-off called Robot Rebuilt is hitting up Boston venture capital firms to develop a manipulator with human-like sensitivity.Read More

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