Photokina 2014 highlights

Robotics

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

A couple of brave souls get their thrills courtesy of the KUKA RoboSim 4-D Simulator

Jaded theme park aficionados looking for a new thrill will want to get along to the Innoventions pavilion in Epcot at Disney World, Florida, to experience The Sun of All Thrills. On display will be the new KUKA RoboSim 4-D Simulator, a robotic ride that not only puts thrill-seekers at the mercy of a 3-D motion robotic arm, but also adds “wind” by controlling air movements to provide a more realistic simulation experience.  Read More

MIT's robo-fish takes a well-earned break in the lab with Valdivia y Alvarado

What is it with scientists and robotic animals? Did they not have pets as children? This year alone, we’ve seen robot ferrets, penguins, dogs, locusts, moles and bats. And now, scientists at MIT have come up with a robotic fish. Although we’ve seen mechanical fish before, this one is different in a very significant way – the robofish truly mimics the natural swimming action of real fish, flexing mechanical muscles to propel itself through the water.  Read More

Activelink's Power Loader Suit will make lifting heavy loads and tackling Alien Queens a b...

Science-fiction is well on the way to becoming science fact with engineers from Activelink, a Kyoto-based subsidiary of Panasonic, developing an exoskeleton suit inspired by the "Power Loader" suit Ripley wore in her climactic battle with the Queen Alien in Aliens. And, just like in the movie, the Power Loader suit is designed to give its wearer superhuman strength for the lifting of heavy objects – in the movie it was cargo, but Activelink also has construction and disaster relief operations in its sights.  Read More

Pray that this robot hand isn't out to get you.

Don't watch the video after the jump if you've recently seen a Terminator movie - because it's becoming clear that if the robots come after us, there'll be no stopping them. The video shows an incredible array of three-fingered robot hand/eye co-ordination exercises, including throwing and catching, spinning pens, tying knots and dribbling a ping-pong ball. The Ishikawa Komuro laboratory at the University of Tokyo put these videos together to demonstrate the incredibly quick parallel processing they are achieving with a mix of visual and tactile sensory inputs. Astounding stuff. Sarah Connor, you're in deep trouble.  Read More

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