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Robotics


— Robotics

Bacarobo showcases stupid robots

By - August 26, 2011 3 Pictures
Given that there are currently robots that can find trapped miners, swim through rubble and see through walls, it’s only natural that some of us humans might feel a little ... inferior, perhaps. Should you be one of those people, it will almost certainly make you feel better if you go to Budapest, and take in the Bacarobo Stupid Robot Championship. The three main rules: robots must operate automatically, they must be funny, and they must be useless. Read More
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Dragon Runner 10 joins QinetiQ’s micro unmanned robot family

By - August 19, 2011 10 Pictures
QinetiQ North America has unveiled its latest Micro Unmanned Ground Vehicle (MUGV) based on its Dragon Runner platform. The new Dragon Runner 10 (DR10) is built around the basic Dragon Runner design and is intended for military and first responder duties. At just 15 inches (38 cm) long, 13.5 inches (34 cm) wide and 5.8 inches (15 cm) tall, and weighing just under 10 pounds (4.5 kg), the DR10 is small and light enough to be carried in a standard-issue pack and be thrown into buildings and hostile environments for reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Read More
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MABEL: the world's fastest knee-equipped bipedal robot

By - August 18, 2011 3 Pictures
Although Honda’s ASIMO has been running around at speeds of up to 6 km/h (3.7 mph) since 2004, his style is more of a fast sneak than a true running action. Getting bipedal robot like ASIMO to run like a human is no easy feat - as C-3PO is sure to attest – but researchers in a University of Michigan (U-M) lab have done just that with a bipedal robot called MABEL. The researchers believe that MABEL, which can reach a peak pace of 10.9 km/h (6.8 mph), is the world’s fastest bipedal robot with knees. Read More
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Gemini-Scout mine rescue robot to lead the way to trapped miners

By - August 16, 2011
The Chilean and Pike River Mine disasters in 2010 highlighted the dangers of sub-surface mining and the difficulties faced in extracting those trapped beneath the Earth. Collapsed mines pose countless dangers, not just for those trapped but also those attempting to free them, such as poisonous gases, flooded tunnels, explosive vapors and unstable walls and roofs. Dealing with such potentially deadly conditions and unknown obstacles significantly slows the efforts of rescuers. To help speed rescue efforts, robotics engineers at Sandia Labs have designed a robot to provide that most valuable of commodities for first responders - information. Read More
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Swarmanoid robots work together ... to steal books

By - August 15, 2011 5 Pictures
Swarms of small, intercommunicating robots are now being eyed up for all sorts of potential uses, including the creation of communications networks for disaster relief, mapping out hazardous environments, or even perhaps helping with the colonization of Mars. Since 2007, a group of European research groups have been collaborating on the now-completed Swarmanoid project, in which a variety of purpose-specific mini robots where programmed to cooperate in order to accomplish a task. Although the bots have been perfecting their book-stealing routine since 2009, a video depicting the task won the Best Video award at last week's 2011 Artificial Intelligence Conference in San Francisco, and was many peoples' introduction to Swarmanoid. Read More
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Willow Garage releases one-armed budget version of its PR2 robot

By - August 11, 2011
Among the various scientific/industrial robots in the marketplace, Willow Garage’s PR2 is one that stands out. This is because both its hardware and software are open-source – users are encouraged to share their latest upgrades and customizations with one another. With various parties using a common platform, instead of all having to start from scratch, Willow Garage hopes to move the field of robotics forward faster than would otherwise be possible. To that end, the company recently gave ten PR2s to groups involved in robotics research, to keep for up to two years. This Wednesday, commercial availability of the PR2 SE was announced. It costs US$285,000, which is significantly less than its sibling’s $400,000 price tag – users will just have to work around the fact that it only has one arm. Read More
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Scientists create water walking bionic microrobot

By - July 27, 2011
Chinese scientists have developed an aquatic microrobot that mimics the water-walking abilities of the Gerridae - a family of long-legged bugs commonly known as water striders that are able to run on top of the water's surface. The scientists say their bionic microbot incorporates improvements over previous devices that make it an ideal candidate for military spy missions, water pollution monitoring and other applications. Read More
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WALL-E toy gets gift of robotic life

By - July 25, 2011 8 Pictures
Disney went into robotic toys market with a remote-controlled WALL-E robot back in 2008. Canadian-based robotics enthusiast DJ Sures was apparently not satisfied with the level of realism of the toy so he came with his own, customized version of WALL-E. Utilizing The U-Command Wall-E plastic toy, he modified it with EZ-B Robot controller hardware, voice recognition and a movement-tracking camera - but no trash compactor. Read More
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Cannonball-like underwater robots being developed for nuclear reactors

By - July 21, 2011
According to the Associated Press, a recent study has revealed that three quarters of America's nuclear reactors have leaked radioactive tritium from buried pipes that transport water for the cooling of reactor vessels. This tritium could in turn find its way into the groundwater. While industry officials do reportedly check these pipes for leaks, they can only do so in either indirect or costly, labor-intensive manners. Now, however, researchers from MIT are developing tiny, spherical swimming robots that could check on the pipes directly, relaying their findings in real time. Read More
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