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Robotics

— 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
— Robotics

Paralyzed woman uses thought-controlled robotic arm to drink coffee

By - May 17, 2012 2 Pictures
Last April, for the first time since she became paralyzed 15 years ago, a 58 year-old woman was able to get herself a drink of coffee – she did so via a robotic arm, which was controlled by her thoughts. Although that rather astounding feat took place over a year ago, it was just made public today, in a report published in the journal Nature. The woman was a volunteer test subject, in a clinical trial of the experimental BrainGate neural interface system. Although still very much in development, the system could someday restore mobility to people who have suffered paralysis or limb loss. Read More
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Fully autonomous ASV Roboat to make world record attempt

By - May 15, 2012 5 Pictures
While sailing can be an activity that is easy to learn, it is difficult to master. Sailing boats need to be constantly tended to quickly respond to changing conditions and for both the novice and the expert, this continual need for adjustments makes sailing a demanding task. That's why the ASV Roboat is an impressive piece of engineering. Packing an array of sensors, communications hardware and solar panels, the ASV Roboat is a fully autonomous, unmanned sailing boat that has its sights set on the current robotic world sailing record. Read More
— Robotics

Researchers aim to build eco-friendly robots from biodegradable materials

By - May 2, 2012 2 Pictures
While many people are busy working on how to build robots capable of doing everything (and more) humans can do, few are considering the impact that creating a legion of robotic workers will have on the environment. Two university researchers aim to change this, by investigating how to build robots from biodegradable materials that will simply decompose at the end of their lives. Read More
— Robotics

Robotic hand gets a grip using string artificial tendons

By - April 1, 2012 2 Pictures
While the quest for robotic grippers with a light, yet firm touch has led to innovative approaches, such as the universal jamming gripper, it’s still hard to go past the four fingers and opposable thumb form factor honed by millions of years of evolution. While the technology is available to create a robotic hand that is both powerful and delicate, cramming it inside a compact arm is still difficult. But European researchers have done just that by using a novel string actuator to act as an artificial tendon. Read More
— Robotics

Jumping Sand Flea robot reaches new heights in latest video

By - March 28, 2012 2 Pictures
When we first spied Sandia National Laboratories' Precision Urban Hopper Robot back in 2009 it employed combustion-driven pistons to propel it into the air and allow it to clear obstacles. In the same year Sandia handed development of the jumping robot over to Boston Dynamics, the company behind robots including PETMAN, BigDog and CHEETAH. Now known as Sand Flea, Boston Dynamics has released new video of the robot showcasing an updated jumping mechanism. Read More
— Robotics

Ant behavior inspires more efficient warehouse robots

By - March 23, 2012 1 Picture
When it comes to groups that work together to get a job done, ants have pretty much got the process perfected. That’s why computer scientist Marco Dorigo studied the creatures’ behavior, and created his Ant Colony Optimization model – an algorithmic technique that can be applied to human endeavors, when efficiency is the order of the day. Scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics have now applied these algorithms to a swarm of 50 autonomous shuttle robots working in a parts warehouse, in an effort to create a new and better type of materials-handling system. Read More
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