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Robotics

Researchers aim to build eco-friendly robots from biodegradable materials

While many people are busy working on how to build robots capable of doing everything (and more) humans can do, few are considering the impact that creating a legion of robotic workers will have on the environment. Two university researchers aim to change this, by investigating how to build robots from biodegradable materials that will simply decompose at the end of their lives.Read More

DARPA launches $2,000,000 Robotics Challenge

Attention, BEAR, MABEL, and SAFFiR: You may be able to win your makers two million bucks! That’s the amount that DARPA is offering to the victorious team in its recently-announced Robotics Challenge. The winning robot will be the one that best meets a series of challenges, designed to test its ability to provide assistance in disaster scenarios. Read More

Custom-designed printable robots could be on the way

Already, people are pretty excited at the idea of being able to create inanimate objects using a 3D printer. Imagine, though, if you could create and print an actual moving robot, using a printer-like device in a store. If a group of scientists taking part in a new project are successful, that’s exactly what you will some day be able to do. Read More

Robotic hand gets a grip using string artificial tendons

While the quest for robotic grippers with a light, yet firm touch has led to innovative approaches, such as the universal jamming gripper, it’s still hard to go past the four fingers and opposable thumb form factor honed by millions of years of evolution. While the technology is available to create a robotic hand that is both powerful and delicate, cramming it inside a compact arm is still difficult. But European researchers have done just that by using a novel string actuator to act as an artificial tendon.Read More

Jumping Sand Flea robot reaches new heights in latest video

When we first spied Sandia National Laboratories' Precision Urban Hopper Robot back in 2009 it employed combustion-driven pistons to propel it into the air and allow it to clear obstacles. In the same year Sandia handed development of the jumping robot over to Boston Dynamics, the company behind robots including PETMAN, BigDog and CHEETAH. Now known as Sand Flea, Boston Dynamics has released new video of the robot showcasing an updated jumping mechanism.Read More

Ant behavior inspires more efficient warehouse robots

When it comes to groups that work together to get a job done, ants have pretty much got the process perfected. That’s why computer scientist Marco Dorigo studied the creatures’ behavior, and created his Ant Colony Optimization model – an algorithmic technique that can be applied to human endeavors, when efficiency is the order of the day. Scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics have now applied these algorithms to a swarm of 50 autonomous shuttle robots working in a parts warehouse, in an effort to create a new and better type of materials-handling system.Read More

Ocean-powered robotic jellyfish could theoretically run forever

Researchers have created a silicone submarinal robot that gets about by mimicking the motion of a jellyfish. The robot is powered by heat-producing reactions catalyzed by its surface, and using hydrogen and oxygen present in the water as fuel. It's claimed that that the Robojelly, so named by its Virginia Tech creators, could run indefinitely, effectively drawing energy from the water in which it swims.Read More

NASA and GM develop power-assisted Robo-Glove

Having trouble getting the lid off that pickle jar? Well, perhaps the Human Grasp Assist device can help. Designed through a collaboration between GM and NASA - and also known as Robo-Glove or K-Glove - the device is based on grasping technology initially developed for the hands of the space-going Robonaut 2. Essentially a power-assisted work glove, Robo-Glove is designed to minimize repetitive stress injuries in both astronauts and autoworkers.Read More

SAFFiR robot could be putting out fires on Navy ships

If there's one thing that you don't want happening on board a ship, it's a fire. People on board burning ships can't simply run out onto the streets, as they hopefully could in the case of a structural fire, plus many people caught belowdecks don't have windows nearby to climb out of. Then, there's also the fact that crew members fighting such fires have to work in narrow, claustrophobic passageways, instead of wide-open roads. Given that fires are particularly possible on military ships, due to attacks by enemy forces, America's Naval Research Laboratory is now developing a special something to help fight fires at sea - it's called SAFFiR, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot.Read More

DARPA's CHEETAH smashes legged-robot speed record

It's been a very little over a year since Boston Dynamics was awarded a contract to develop a high-speed robotic quadruped by DARPA, but already the defense tech research agency's investment is bearing fruit, having announced that its CHEETAH galloping quadruped robot has broken the land speed record for robots with legs. Read More

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