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Robotics

RoBe:Do's Three software-ready autonomous robot

RoBe:Do Robotics has rolled its latest software-ready autonomous robot off the production line at its Colorado home base. Like its first two robotic offerings, RoBe:Do’s third robot, aptly named “Three”, comes fully assembled and ready for you to add the netbook of your choice to act as the robot’s brain... and making and delivering popcorn could be just the tip of the iceberg for this bot.  Read More

KOBIAN shows off his emotional range: coyness

When in science fiction films android robots show anything other than blind obedience – or something akin to feelings – it tends to spell trouble for the human race. I, Robot and Blade Runner come to mind. So here we are, not even properly ensconced in the age of humanoid robots yet, and already researchers at Japan’s Waseda University and Kyushu robotics manufacturer Tmsuk have conspired to create a robot, named KOBIAN, that can express a range of emotions. Uh-oh.  Read More

It plays drums: Hawk is the work of small Canadian robotics company established in 2001 by...

It plays drums, serves drinks and learns whatever you care to teach it – it’s Hawk, your very own bot for the home. Designed and built on an i90 robot base, Hawk is a human-like robot with hawkish head and long claw-like arms. Ergo, it’s moniker.  Read More

Panasonic has shown off its robotic worm that cleans as it inches its way across the floor

Panasonic has shown off its robotic worm that cleans as it inches its way across the floor. Tagged the Fukitorimushi, which roughly translates as “wipe-up bug”, the robotic floor-sweeper is covered in a patented nanocloth – called Nanofront – made up of thousands of polyester filament fibers that can pick up extremely fine dust conventional cleaners leave behind – at least according to its makers.  Read More

The space age looking AirPenguins

The latest example of biomimicry in robotics to cross our desk is from German electrical automation company Festo, which has used the shape of the acquatic, flightless bird to construct two different types of bionic penguins. The AquaPenguins use the bird's hydrodynamic body contours and wing propulsion to allow the robot to maneuver in cramped spaces, turn on the spot and, unlike their real-life counterparts, swim backwards. The larger helium-filled AirPenguins use the same principles to lift the usually flightless bird into the air.  Read More

The futuristic-looking Robot Suit HAL designed to assist human movement

Anyone who has seen Aliens will remember the exoskeleton forklift that Ripley wears to fight the alien queen at the end of the movie. Well, Japanese company Cyberdyne has unveiled a robotic suit that works on a similar idea of a robotic suit capable of augmenting human motion and strength. The Robot Suit Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL for short) is a wearable robot that uses a “voluntary control system” first to interpret the wearers' planned movement and then assist them in it.  Read More

Waseda University's heart rate compensation system allows beating hearts to be operated on...

Scientists at Japan’s Waseda University have created a machine that can perform surgery on a functioning heart by adjusting to the rhythm of its beat. The Waseda crew’s robot has been operating on pig’s hearts since 2004, with a claimed 95% tracking accuracy.  Read More

Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci Si Surgical System has enhanced 3D HD resolution, an updated...

Robotic Surgery specialist Intuitive Surgical has added enhanced 3D HD resolution, an updated interface and new ergonomic settings to the latest incarnation of its da Vinci System.  Read More

Honda demonstrates its brain-machine interface

Honda has taken some very significant steps into what could be an absolute revolution in human-computer interface. Honda Research Institute, Japan, has demonstrated a Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) that enables a user to control an ASIMO robot using nothing more than thought. Wearing a headset containing both electroencephalography (EEG) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) sensors, the user simply imagines moving either his right hand, left hand, tongue or feet - and ASIMO makes a corresponding movement. The system is still huge and slow, and the commands are quite crude and imprecise - but Honda's baby steps represent a huge leap in technology. The next task is to refine the system to work with fine motor controls, add the ability to decode non-motor brain signals and speed it all up. Then, the doors will be open for a whole range of machines that can sense your thoughts, intentions and feelings, and act directly upon them. BMI has staggering potential - this is just the beginning.  Read More

Rafael Fierro is an associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of New...

Sophisticated sensors allow robots to see and hear the world at a level far beyond humans, but when it comes to interpreting the data they’re still a few notches below Daleks. Scientists at Duke University and the University of New Mexico have used the game “Marco Polo” as the inspiration for the creation of an algorithm that allows robots to identify and intercept moving targets.  Read More

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