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Robotics

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

Harvard's Robobee learning to fly

Harvard researchers are getting closer to their goal of developing a controllable micro air vehicle called the Robobee. The tiny robot was already capable of taking off under its own power, but until now it was completely out of control. By adding two control actuators beneath its wings, the robot can be programmed to pitch and roll.Read More

RoboCup's TeenSize League gets champion open-source robot

RoboCup soccer provides a fascinating window into the current state-of-the-art in robotics and artificial intelligence. However, building robots much taller than a garden gnome has proven a daunting requirement for university labs with limited budgets and experience. Just five teams qualified to compete in the mid-range TeenSize category this year, for robots three to four feet (95-120 cm) tall. A new open-source hardware platform from the University of Bonn's Team NimbRo fills the gap for newcomers and veterans alike. Read More

Thermite fire-fighting robot removes firefighters from harm's way

Howe and Howe Technologies of Waterboro, Maine, has unveiled the firefighter of tomorrow called the Thermite RS1-T2. Based on technology developed for the U.S. Army, this squat little modular robot on tank treads is a small, powerful fire fighting machine that provides crews with a means for remote reconnaissance and fighting fires in hazardous areas safely.Read More

Autonomous swimming robot inspired by the sea turtle

Well, we shouldn’t be surprised. Scientists have created swimming robotic versions of the cow-nosed ray, the jellyfish, the sunfish, the tuna, and just the generic “fish,” so why not the sea turtle? That’s what a group of scientists from the ETH Zurich research group are in the process of doing, and they’ve named it naro - tartaruga (the original naro was another robotic tuna). As it turns out, a couple of the sea turtle’s natural features make for a pretty good robot.Read More

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