Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Robotics

Honda's stair climbing ASIMO could be a contender for the US$200,000 'W' Prize

A prize of US$200,000 is being offered for the first robot that can successfully move 10 km (6.2 miles) within 10,000 seconds. Sound easy? Well, to claim the “W” Prize the robot must also negotiate four sets of obstacles that would stand in the way of ordinary wheeled vehicles, but could be easily overcome by a pedestrian. The robot must also accomplish this task using no more than 10 kj per kg of machine mass – in other words, less energy than it would take for a human to do the same task.  Read More

Ji-Dong Yim with Callo the cellphone robot

Imagine if your cellphone could watch your arm movements, and physically recreate them in front of the person you were talking to. How about if it sagged and looked dejected upon receiving a “Dear John” text message? Perhaps it might be able to mimic movements that your caller was making with their phone. Well, scientists at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University have created cellphone robots that can do all those things, and more.  Read More

The use of remotely-controlled robots to perform delicate surgery is growing. The approach offers benefits to both patients and doctors including reduced fatigue, quicker recovery times and a reduced risk of infection. Now another breakthrough in the field has been reported in the U.K., where doctors have performed a first in remote-controlled heart surgery.  Read More

The Husqvarna DXR 140 demolition robot and its Bluetooth remote control

When it comes to red-blooded boys toys, Husqvarna's latest demolition robot takes the cake. Husqvarna is in the process of releasing a series of new remote-control demolition robots, beginning with the introduction of the 22 kW DXR310 weighing 1900 kg in late 2009, followed by the smaller 1620 kg DXR 250 in January. The 250 comes standard with 18.5 kilowatts, but there is also a 22 kW option. Now comes the diminutive 960 kg DXR 140 which can be optioned up to 15 kW, yet is only 77 cm wide, meaning it can pass through most doorways, fits in a lift or on a standard trailer or on the back of a utility… and the easy-to-use Bluetooth remote control makes it an absolute breeze to smash just about anything you can think of.  Read More

National Robotics Week: demonstrating the importance of robotic technology in society

The inaugural National Robotics Week is taking place across the U.S. right now, incorporating a host of organizations including universities and manufacturing companies with the aim of increasing public awareness of the increasingly important role of robotic technology in society.  Read More

Photo: Achim J. Lilienthal - CC

Back in February, we brought you the story of Willow Garage Robotics’ PR2 Beta Program. California-based Willow Garage is giving PR2 robots to ten deserving robotics development groups, to program and customize as they wish. In exchange, those groups will enter all of their research data into an open-source software platform, so other robotics designers can learn from their successes and failures. Now, we’ve received word that a similar project is in the works in Europe. Led by the Eindhoven University of Technology, six research institutes are developing a collective worldwide online memory for robots, wherein robots can learn from each other's capabilities, thus streamlining the process of adopting new operations.  Read More

Twendy-One helps out with a spot of cooking

Japan, like many other countries, faces a rapidly aging population sparking concerns about how the elderly will be cared for in their twilight years. Japan being Japan has turned to robotics with researchers developing robots to assist the elderly with everything from exercise and independent living to shopping. Twendy-One is the latest robotic helper to join the fray designed to support aging people in their daily activities.  Read More

Bruce Willis in the movie 'Surrogates'. Art imitating life, or vice versa?

Gizmag recently took part in a virtual round table with futurist Dr James Canton and prosthetics expert Randall Alley to look at the role robots - particularly surrogate robots - will play in mankind’s future. The fascinating discussion ranged from the technology itself through to security issues and ethics surrounding the implementation of surrogate robots in our future societies. So when will you be able to send your robotic surrogate-self to the shop for a loaf of bread while you relax in front of the TV?  Read More

Snackbot on his rounds delivering sustenance to those in need at CMU

If you’re a student at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) who is left gasping for breath when forced to drag yourself away from your studies to get a snack, rejoice! A CMU team has created a robot that is designed to deliver snacks to you. But the appropriately named Snackbot is far more than a vending machine on wheels. It is designed to serve as a research platform for the study of long-term Human-Robot Interaction and packs a healthy helping of technological goodies, including a laser navigation system, sonar sensors and a stereo vision camera for eyes.  Read More

Robokeeper puts his body on the line. He is as safe as a brick wall built in front of the ...

At every live football game and in every pub around the world, someone exasperated fan watching the world game will yell: “even I could have beaten that goalie." But try beating this goal-keeper. He has the reflexes of a computerized cat. Cameras capture the ball and its movements and direct the ‘keeper to make an interception. If you can’t spear the ball into the top corners of the goal – you don’t have a chance. Apart from a skill developer, the Robokeeper is also a lot of fun. And he’s for hire.  Read More

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