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Robotics

DARPA's Robotics Challenge gives birth to new humanoid robots

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has published concept artwork depicting the robots that will compete in its ambitious DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). The DRC will require robots to drive a car, travel through rubble, open doors, climb ladders, manipulate tools, and more. However, due to the current limitations in artificial intelligence, the robots will be teleoperated by a team of people behind the scenes. The idea is to advance robotics technology so that humans won't have to put their lives at risk in future disaster scenarios.Read More

Russia builds its first realistic female android

A few months ago, the 2045 Initiative movement (previously known as Russia 2045) unveiled the first realistic Russian android head, based on its founder Dmitry Itskov. He's a big believer in the prophetic technological singularity, and claims that by 2045 we will have developed the means to transplant our minds into computers and android bodies. His android surrogate, built and programmed by Moscow-based Neurobotics, has been dismantled and turned into the country's first female android.Read More

Bipedal hobby robot walks a tightrope

A Japanese roboticist that goes by the handle Dr. Guero, famous for programming his hobby robots to ride a miniature bicycle and walk on stilts, has managed to get his robot to balance on a tightrope. His Primer-V4 robot is based on the Kondo KHR-3HV hobby kit (which can be purchased for around US$1,800), but features a few modifications that give it the ability to inch its way along a steel wire just over an eighth of an inch (4 mm) thick.Read More

Virginia Tech's CHARLI-2 robot dances Gangnam Style

Just in case you haven't had your fill of PSY's viral K-POP sensation, the researchers at Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) have put out a new video of their robot dancing Gangnam Style. While the robot named CHARLI-2 doesn't display any fancy footwork in the video, some of its walking and balancing technology is being implemented in the Navy's Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid (ASH). Read More

Japanese first responders to wear robotic exoskeletons

Since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011, the Japanese government has been testing robotics technologies to help deal with future accidents. The Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) exoskeleton, developed by the University of Tsukuba spin-off Cyberdyne, is being considered for first responders.Read More

Chiba robotic wheelchair turns wheels into legs

Making a wheelchair that can deal with steps and other obstacles has puzzled engineers for decades, with everything from tank treads to spokes tried and found not quite practical. Now a team of engineers from the Chiba Institute of Technology, led by associate professor Shuro Nakajima, have applied a bit of lateral thinking. They have developed a robotic wheelchair that isn't sure what it is. Normally, it operates on wheels like a conventional wheelchair, but when it meets an obstacle, the wheels turn into legs.Read More

Foxconn slow to roll out its robot workforce

Foxconn has begun rolling out its robotic workforce, although reaching its stated goal of one million robot workers by 2014 may have been overly optimistic. Since 2011, the company has only built and deployed approximately 10,000 robots in one of its factories, and will only deliver 1/10th of the 300,000 robots it had planned by the end of 2012. The company employs 1.2 million workers, 400,000 of which manufacture Apple products.Read More

Interactive Urban Robot needs you to give it directions

The IURO (short for Interactive Urban Robot) is a new humanoid service robot built by Accrea Engineering, a spin-off of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Researchers at TUM as well as ETH Zurich and the University of Salzburg are collaborating on an EU-funded research project that seeks to teach robots directions—the human way.Read More

Samsung's new Roboray humanoid robot walks the walk

Samsung's robotics division presented the company's latest humanoid robot, Roboray, at IROS 2012 in Portugal last week. Researchers led by Kyungsik Roh have been co-developing humanoid robots with the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) since 2004 and the Roboray is a departure from their earlier robot (known as "Mahru", of which there are several models) thanks to its torque controlled leg joints, which give it more human-like walking capabilities.Read More

Georgia tech developing "Macgyver" robot

In the television series Macgyver, the eponymous title character was notorious of being able to take a paperclip and some pocket lint and make an aircraft carrier out them. Now researchers at Georgia Tech want to give robots that same ingenuity. A team led by Professor Mike Stilman plans to create a “Macgyver bot” that can go into a disaster area and use whatever is lying around as tools to complete its mission. Read More

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