Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Robotics

The 'motorized knee' enables runners to use 30 percent less muscle power

From the same place that brought you the Robot Suit HAL comes the “motorized knee.” Designed by researchers at Japan’s Tsukuba University the device supports the flex of the knee, which enables a runner to use 30 percent less muscle power compared to running unassisted.  Read More

You can own your very own robotic doppelganger, just like roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro (tha...

Are you the kind of person that likes their own company? Maybe you're just a narcissist? Well Japanese department store operator Sogo & Seibu have just the thing for you. As part of a New Year’s promotional sale Sogo, Seibu, and Robinson’s department stores will offer people the chance to buy a humanoid robot custom-built to look, move and sound just like themselves.  Read More

The Robotic Weapon or SWAT BOT features a 20-rounds-per-second paintball gun that can fire...

The SWAT BOT is what you get when you cross a paintball gun and pepper spray with a remote-controlled RV whose parents were a laptop computer and the Road Runner. Designed for law enforcement situations like riot control, hostage scenarios, building security, bomb threats or other hostile or covert situations, this all-aluminum, lithium polymer battery powered unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) is equipped with a 100-round magazine, wireless barrel-cam and can fire paint and pepper balls or hardened rubber rounds up to 250ft at a rate of 20 shots per second as well as travel at speeds in excess of 50mph.  Read More

The shape of armed conflict is rapidly changing

The military potential of robotics has long been one of the primary driving forces in the funding of research and development in the field. Aerial UAVs transformed armed conflict so dramatically that a new wave of robotic military capabilities are being readied for the battlefield in the hope of providing a similar competitive edge. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) recently began showing a battery-powered robotic beast of burden which can carry up to 200 kilograms, run three days without a recharge, and follow and respond to the voice commands of its master. Though designed for use on the battlefield, REX has myriad commercial applications in agriculture, manufacturing, and beyond.  Read More

The British Library's facilities at Boston Spa

Although digital storage devices that cram more and more information into smaller and smaller packages continue to be developed, unfortunately the same can't be said for those trusty old analogue data storage devices known as books. However, the British Library’s Boston Spa site in West Yorkshire has used new technology of a different sort in the form of seven robotic cranes that will be used to retrieve items in its new Additional Storage Building (ASB) that will eventually house approximately seven million items from the UK national collection.  Read More

Nao - he sees, can find a ball, recognizes different touches from humans and communicate v...

The versatile humanoid robot Nao caught Gizmag's attention at the 2009 International Robot Exhibition (iREX 2009). What Nao lacks in size, he makes up for in features and capabilities. Nao can see (via two cameras), will react to touch, can surf the Web and can interact with other Naos. He can speak (in English or French, so far) by reading out any file stored locally in his storage space or captured from a website RSS flow. The bot is fitted with an accelerometer and gyrometer so he won't fall down, he's also equipped with two pairs of ultra-sound senders/receivers on his torso that give feedback on several echoes so Nao is aware of obstacles close by and can avoid them.  Read More

The RoboClam (right) and the razor clam which provided the inspiration for its design

Researchers at MIT have taken inspiration from the simple razor clam to design a “smart” anchor that burrows through the ocean floor. The so-called RoboClam could prove useful as tethers for small robotic submarines that are routinely repositioned to monitor variables such as currents and temperatures. The device can burrow into the seabed, be directed to a specific location and can also operate in reverse, making them easier to recover.  Read More

The Pronto4 installed on the steering wheel of a military vehicle

Let’s say you want to go for a ride in your car, but you don’t feel like driving it. Or perhaps you want to drive your car, but you don’t want to go for a ride in it. These two seemingly contradictory scenarios are probably not what Kairos Autonomi had in mind when it developed the Pronto4 Agnostic Autonomy System. The Pronto4 is a drive-by-wire system that when installed in a vehicle, provides self-driving capability as well as remote control. The system is “agnostic” because it is a retrofit kit that the manufacturer claims can be installed in any steering-wheel based vehicle.  Read More

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

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