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Robotics

Cuttlefish are fascinating animals, in that they use a pair of undulating fins to move forward and backward, turn on the spot, or hover in place. If you wanted to make an underwater robot that was highly maneuverable yet quiet and immune to tangled propellers, then the cuttlefish would be a good creature to copy. Well, a group of mechanical engineering students from Switzerland's ETH Zurich have done just that – plus they gave it an extra set of fins, allowing it to also move straight up and down. Read More
The speed that drones can be deployed makes them ideal for delivering items when time is of the essence. The Ambulance Drone and Defikopter, for example, are used for transporting defibrillators to those in need. Now, Project Ryptide plans to use drones to deliver life-rings to swimmers in distress. Read More
Cooking, they say, is as much an art as a science, so it's no surprise that robots have a difficult time in the kitchen. Perhaps one day robot chefs will be as commonplace as blenders, but they will still need to learn their job. To help them, scientists at the University of Maryland and NICTA, Australia are working on ways for robots to learn how to cook by watching YouTube videos. Read More

Empire Robotics’ Versaball Gripper looks like an executive stress ball, but is, in fact, an industrial robotic gripper designed to handle a wide variety of objects. To show that all work and no play makes Jack a dull robot, Versaball will take on pong champions from and attendees at CES 2015. Read More

Bigger may be better, but better isn't always better. In October, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California unveiled a new and improved version of its RoboSimian robot. Called Surrogate, it has many advantages over its predecessor, but it's RoboSimian that is going to next year's DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals. Read More
Back in 2011, Gizmag looked at Robodynamics' Luna personal robot. At that time, the details were a bit scarce, though the company did say that the machine was shipping that year. As 2014 draws to a close, Luna has still to reach market, but the maker has launched a Kickstarter to raise money to start manufacturing while giving us a closer look at the robot's specs. Read More
They may be slow on land, but when they're in the water, sea turtles are fast and maneuverable – qualities that are also desirable in underwater robots. Additionally, the robotic equivalent of a turtle's streamlined shell could be stuffed full of electronic components and batteries. It shouldn't come as a surprise, therefore, that both ETH Zurich and the ARROWS project have recently created their own turtle-bots. Now, the National University of Singapore has announced its own entry in the field, that can self-charge its batteries while at sea. Read More
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) have successfully tested bilateral shoulder-level prosthetics, allowing a test subject to perform complex tasks using both arms simultaneously. The tests indicate that the system is quick to learn, and it could one day drastically alter the lives of shoulder-level amputees. Read More
The design of a standard robot arm is, more or less, a mechanized representation of an idealized human arm, replete with elbow and wrist joints. Such designs tend to be unwieldy in confined spaces, and unsuitable for many industrial production line processes. As a result, delta arms – a series of interconnected parallelograms which restrict movement to the X, Y or Z directions and do not rotate – have become popular for use in tight workspaces. But, when faced with a requirement for both flexibility and compactness, a design that incorporates the best of both types is required. That's where the double-delta robot comes in. Read More
Hector, the stick insect-inspired robot built by a research team at Bielefeld University in Germany that we first covered in 2011, could be forgiven for feeling lonely as the only one of its kind in world, but has lately been too busy learning to walk to worry on its unique status. It is hoped that Hector, which stands for Hexapod Cognitive autonomously Operating Robot, will benefit not only roboticists but also biologists interested in animal movement. Read More
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