Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Robotics

Researchers are studying the physics behind cats' ability to land on their feet to help im...

The animal kingdom is fertile ground for roboticists looking to improve on their designs, with everything from insects, fish, seahorses, jellyfish, caterpillars, snakes and birds providing inspiration. Now researchers at Georgia Tech are turning to cats to help soften robot landings. Rather than strapping some felines to a robot's underside, the team is studying the way cats twist in the air when falling to let future robots land safely from a jump or fall.  Read More

The Mark I MegaBot prototype

Who hasn't looked at a sporting event and thought that it would be better if it involved giant robots wailing on each other? That seems to be the thinking of the people behind the MegaBots Kickstarter campaign, who are raising money to build giant humanoid robots with human drivers to take on each other in paintball arena games.  Read More

Researchers have been experimenting with real micro-sized robots that literally swim throu...

In the 1960s science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, audiences thrilled to the idea of shrinking a submarine and the people inside it to microscopic dimensions and injecting it into a person’s bloodstream. At the time it was just fantasy and as fantastic an idea as its title suggested. Today, however, micro-miniature travelers in your body have come one step closer to reality. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute have been experimenting with real micro-sized robots that literally swim through your bodily fluids and could be used to deliver drugs or other medical relief in a highly-targeted way.  Read More

The Robot Positioning System allows the Baxter robot to work in a human/robot mixed enviro...

The robotic revolution is very often less about replacing human workers than finding ways of working alongside them. That means being as flexible at doing tasks as humans, as well as being able to work with all the jostling and chaos that people take for granted. Rethink Robotics’ new Robot Positioning System lets the Baxter robot do factory work without being bolted to the floor, adjusting itself as it endures random bumps.  Read More

The robot bartenders aboard the Quantum of the Seas can make two drinks a minute

Not content with working as sales assistants and burger flippers, robots are landing jobs on cruise ships as bartenders and entertainers. Leading the way is Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, which is currently on its maiden voyage.  Read More

OSHbots are designed to not only identify and locate merchandise, but to speak to customer...

In the near future, you might be surprised to visit to the giant hardware store in your town and find yourself greeted by a chatty robot rather than a human sales assistant. A harbinger of this age of robotic shopping is being trialled with two Oshbot robot sales assistants at an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California. Built by Lowe’s Innovation Labs and Silicon Valley technology company Fellow Robots using "science fiction prototyping," the OSHbots are designed to not only identify and locate merchandise, but to speak to customers in their own languages.  Read More

The Maker Club's Carduino RC car bot

As confirmed by a strong robot presence in our round-up of the best tech toys for kids this year, there's something captivating and fascinating about interacting with robots. But rather than just play with a factory-assembled robot like the mesmerizing MiP we got to control at IFA back in the September, many folks want to build and customize their own. The Brighton, UK-based Maker Club has launched a project developed for the home and educational market that combines a custom control chip, a mobile app, an online learning package and 3D printing.  Read More

Where are these robots planning on going? Just check their projected paths

Imagine if you were trying to develop an autonomous robot, and it continually made a mistake but you couldn't tell why. Ultimately, you might end up having to review all the lines of code that made up its programming, hoping that the error would just jump out at you. In order to avoid such scenarios, MIT's Ali-akbar Agha-mohammadi and Shayegan Omidshafiei have created a system known as measurable virtual reality (MVR). It projects a robot's perceptions and intentions onto the floor, so that designers can see what it's thinking.  Read More

A method of controlling first-person computer game characters has been tested for use with...

Anyone who's played a first-person shooter will be familiar with using the direction that a character is looking to also control the direction they move. The concept is known as "free look control." Firefighters in Pisa, Italy, have been testing this method for operating emergency response robots.  Read More

Xenex's robots us UV radiation to kill Ebola viruses

Dealing with highly infectious diseases like Ebola is often like a logic problem. Disinfecting rooms is hard enough, but what about protective suits? True, they greatly reduce the chances of infection, but getting them off can bring the risk straight back again if the suit isn't decontaminated first. Xenex has created protocols that conform to those of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its a line of robots that use UV lamps that to decontaminate hospital rooms and protective clothing exposed to the Ebola virus.  Read More

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