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Robotics

Plant Host Drone keeps plants in direct sunlight from dawn till dusk

If finding the perfect spot to place a potted plant to ensure it gets the maximum amount of sunlight throughout the day is proving difficult, then the Plant Host Drone (PHD) is here to help. Developed by Belgian sculptor Stephen Verstraete, the PHD is a wheeled robotic pot plant holder that seeks out the sun to keep the plant soaking up the rays as the sun moves across the sky over the course of the day. Read More

Toyota unveils helpful Human Support Robot

Toyota has unveiled a new assistant robot designed to help the disabled live more independently. Called the Human Support Robot (HSR), it represents the latest initiative in Toyota's Partner Robot program and is intended to help out around the home by fetching things, opening curtains, and picking up objects from the floor or atop tables and high counters thanks to its single arm and telescopic body. Read More

BIOSwimmer robot mimics the humble tuna fish

Scientists involved in robotics research are increasingly looking toward biological systems for solutions to specific challenges, and when one considers that nature has been solving problems for rather a lot longer than we humans have, this makes sense. Such is the reasoning behind BIOSwimmer: an underwater surveillance robot created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S and T) that takes its design cues from the tuna fish. Read More

EPFL delivers an educational robot on the cheap

In the past year alone, Swiss research institute EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) has brought us things such as a mini ionic motor for satellites, “nano velcro” that removes pollutants from water, and a system that allows paralyzed rats to walk again. While none of these items will ever likely be available to regular consumers, now there is a piece of EPFL-developed technology that you can get your hands on. It’s an open-source educational robot known as Thymio II, and it only costs a little over a hundred bucks.Read More

Spanish start-up launches low-cost hackable robot

Spanish start-up Aisoy Robotics is marketing a new robot that, while it may look similar to the famous Furby, is actually a fully programmable research and development platform. The Aisoy1 II robot comes with a variety of sensors (touch, light, position, temperature, and camera), microphone and speaker, a 70 mini-LED matrix display (for animated lips) and includes a dialogue system for speech recognition and synthesis, as well as computer vision software for face and object recognition, all running on the Linux operating system.Read More

Baxter industrial robot aims at bringing automation to smaller manufacturers

Ordinarily, when we think of places where industrial robots are used, we picture the factory floors of deep-pocketed corporations such as Ford or Honda. That could soon change, however, with today’s announcement of the Baxter robot. Made by Boston-based Rethink Robotics, it costs about half as much as most of the least expensive industrial robots currently on the market. Also, it is reportedly very user-friendly – no robotics experts or custom software are required when teaching it new tasks.Read More

QBotix system uses mobile robots to optimize solar panel orientation

Although solar trackers can significantly increase the energy output of solar cells by keeping them optimally aligned to the sun, installing them on all the panels at an installation can add significant expense and provides multiple points of failure. A new tracking system from QBotix avoids these problems by getting a robot to do the rounds of the solar installation throughout the day and adjust the panels at 40-minute intervals to ensure they are optimally facing the sun.Read More

Cheetah robot outpaces Usain Bolt in setting new robotic land speed record

Usain Bolt might have taken home the 100 meters gold medal from the recent London 2012 Olympics, but things could have been different had DARPA’s Cheetah robot been allowed in the field. Living up to DARPA's original goal of developing a robot that could outrun any human, the quadruped robot has set a new robotic land speed record of 28.3 mph (45.5 km/h) for a 20-meter (65.6 ft) split, bettering Bolt’s human speed record by 0.52 mph (0.8 km/h).Read More

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