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Robotics

The British Library's facilities at Boston Spa

Although digital storage devices that cram more and more information into smaller and smaller packages continue to be developed, unfortunately the same can't be said for those trusty old analogue data storage devices known as books. However, the British Library’s Boston Spa site in West Yorkshire has used new technology of a different sort in the form of seven robotic cranes that will be used to retrieve items in its new Additional Storage Building (ASB) that will eventually house approximately seven million items from the UK national collection.  Read More

Nao - he sees, can find a ball, recognizes different touches from humans and communicate v...

The versatile humanoid robot Nao caught Gizmag's attention at the 2009 International Robot Exhibition (iREX 2009). What Nao lacks in size, he makes up for in features and capabilities. Nao can see (via two cameras), will react to touch, can surf the Web and can interact with other Naos. He can speak (in English or French, so far) by reading out any file stored locally in his storage space or captured from a website RSS flow. The bot is fitted with an accelerometer and gyrometer so he won't fall down, he's also equipped with two pairs of ultra-sound senders/receivers on his torso that give feedback on several echoes so Nao is aware of obstacles close by and can avoid them.  Read More

The RoboClam (right) and the razor clam which provided the inspiration for its design

Researchers at MIT have taken inspiration from the simple razor clam to design a “smart” anchor that burrows through the ocean floor. The so-called RoboClam could prove useful as tethers for small robotic submarines that are routinely repositioned to monitor variables such as currents and temperatures. The device can burrow into the seabed, be directed to a specific location and can also operate in reverse, making them easier to recover.  Read More

The Pronto4 installed on the steering wheel of a military vehicle

Let’s say you want to go for a ride in your car, but you don’t feel like driving it. Or perhaps you want to drive your car, but you don’t want to go for a ride in it. These two seemingly contradictory scenarios are probably not what Kairos Autonomi had in mind when it developed the Pronto4 Agnostic Autonomy System. The Pronto4 is a drive-by-wire system that when installed in a vehicle, provides self-driving capability as well as remote control. The system is “agnostic” because it is a retrofit kit that the manufacturer claims can be installed in any steering-wheel based vehicle.  Read More

A robotic fish prototype developed in the MSU laboratory

Although fish numbers are in decline in oceans all around the globe, the same can’t be said for their robotic brethren. Like the “Robotuna” from MIT and the robots developed by a team at the University of Essex, the latest robotic fish from Michigan State University also take inspiration from nature. The aim is to give researchers more precise data on aquatic conditions and provide a deeper understanding of critical water supplies and habitats... and hopefully help improve the outlook for fish of the biological variety.  Read More

The Popeye audio visual robotic head developed by the POP team

The ease with which human beings make sense of their environment through a range of sensory signals belies the complex processing involved. Approaches to give robots the same purposeful perception we take for granted have typically involved studying visual and auditory processes independently. By combining data from both sound and vision European researchers have developed technology that could facilitate robotic understanding and responses to human behavior and even conversations, bringing us closer to a future where humanoid robots can act as guides, mix with people, or use perception to infer appropriate actions.  Read More

The small dashboard robot that allows AIDA to communicate with the driver

Vehicles are slowly but surely heading towards a future where the driver is almost irrelevant. A raft of new technologies will be employed to control a vehicle’s performance, speed and steering. Eventually leading to vehicles that drive themselves. Many Technologies designed to assist drivers are already reaching fruition including systems that recognize tiredness in drivers or control the throttle and brakes for the duration of a journey. The latest driver assist technology to catch our eye comes out of the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT), where researchers are creating an in-car personal robot that is designed to offer the same kind of guidance as “an informed and friendly companion.”  Read More

 The Cyclops mobile robotic platform is designed to be used as a surrogate for blind perso...

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a remote-controlled robot to help test the effectiveness of visual prostheses, such as an artificial retina, which are implanted into visually-impaired patients. Cyclops the robot - or, rather, the mobile robotic platform, or rover - lets scientists “see” the results that human patients could expect without having to test the device on them first. It is hoped that this approach may spare them some unnecessary procedures and one day lead to giving blind people the freedom of independence.  Read More

The ChemBot in semi-deflated and inflated modes

We’ve looked at robots that use a variety of ways to get around, from caterpillar treads, to wheels, legs, wings and even combustion-driven pistons. But the title of weirdest (not to mention unsettling) method of robot propulsion we’ve come across has to go to the shape-shifting ChemBot from iRobot. The ChemBot, which looks more like the Blob than most people’s preconceived ideas of what a robot should be, moves around by changing its shape in a process its creators call, “jamming skin enabled locomotion.”  Read More

Household robots like the WowWee Rovio, Erector Spykee and RoboSapien V2 could pose a secu...

Until robots rise up and overthrow their puny human creators, one of the main risks comes from the people using the robots. A new study warns that the current crop of household robots presents a serious safety and privacy risk. They make it all too easy for nefarious types to hijack control of the robots and access valuable data - even giving them the ability to watch and listen in on private conversations, and perform remote reconnaissance on a house.  Read More

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