Photokina 2014 highlights

Robotics

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

The DustCart is a humanoid robot for door-to-door garbage pickup, while the DustClean is m...

A group of European companies and universities have collaborated to produce a series of multifunctional robots for urban hygiene tasks. With abilities ranging from door-to-door garbage pickup and transportation, to automated street cleaning, the DUSTBOTs recently demonstrated their skills at a station in the town of Atxuri, Portugal.  Read More

Panasonic has developed the Robotic Bed, a robot-shaped bed which transforms into a wheelc...

Panasonic has developed a robotic bed which easily transforms to a wheelchair - and back again - without the user needing to move. The Robotic Bed eliminates the need for those with limited mobility to transfer between bed and wheelchair, reducing the need for assistance and helping them retain their independence and mobility.  Read More

A hopping robot jumps over the head of Sandia National Laboratories researcher Gary Fische...

Whether they use wheels, treads, or even legs, robots often have trouble extricating themselves from situations they may encounter on a space mission. Their design can also prevent them from easily navigating around certain obstacles. The chances of hitting a roadblock only increase when human control is removed, as in the case of autonomous robots. Hopping robots inspired by the clumsy jumping of grasshoppers could prove to be the answer to giving robots unprecedented mobility for exploring other planets, gathering battlefield intelligence, and assisting police during standoffs or surveillance operations.  Read More

Say hello to Taizo the exercising robot

‘Taizo’ is a humanoid robot designed to lead the elderly in physical exercises. He stands just 72cm (28") tall and has 26 degrees of freedom that enables him to smoothly demonstrate around 30 different moves for his followers to imitate. Since his primary assignment is to help the elderly, most of his exercise regime centers around chair-bound activities, but he can stand up to demonstrate some actions.  Read More

Polaris keeps track of user activity to offer tailored information and advice

Despite having limited success in other countries, Japan enjoys nothing more than coming up with progressively weird and wacky designs for robots, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether they have any real practical application.The latest entry into this category is the Polaris mobile phone robot, a spherical, mobile device designed to house a handset that, when not docked, will be busy recording data based on a user’s day-to-day activity.  Read More

RIBA the robot nurse can lift and carry patients up to 61kg/134lbs

It might look like a cross between a snowman and a badly-designed toy polar bear, but the nursing fraternity should appreciate RIBA, a robot that can lift patients in and out of beds and wheelchairs on command, while at the same time saving nurses’ backs and improving patient care and safety.  Read More

The iRobot Warrior 700 provides a versatile accessory platform

The new iRobot Warrior 700 robot looks like the (much) bigger brother of the company’s PackBot. In fact the Warrior is a much larger, more powerful platform designed to deliver, well, PackBots (among other missions). The Warrior 700 can carry a PackBot at the end of an articulated arm, and insert the it through a window for reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal, rescue, or other missions.  Read More

The Roboni-i two-wheeled robot

Robots have uses beyond packaging, production lines and the imminent overthrowing of humanity - or at least South African/U.S. start up Robonica thinks so. It’s aiming to ‘redefine the entertainment robotics market’ with a line of robotic gaming products that fuse elements of robotics, remote controlled vehicles and electronic gaming. The core of the Robonica’s introductory product, Roboni-i Action Games, is a fully programmable remote controlled robot with sensors that make it aware of its environment and that enable it to interact with other robots.  Read More

Cauliflowers and other produce could soon be picked by robots

Researchers in the U.K. are working at turning newly developed imaging technology into an intelligent harvesting machine. Using microwave measurement, the system can look beneath the leafy layers of a crop, identify the differing materials, and enable precise size identification. Such a machine could minimize wastage in crops like cauliflower and solve an impending labor shortage for U.K. farmers caused by a fall in the number of migrant workers.  Read More

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