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Robotics

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

The Brown University robot interprets human silhouttes as calls to action.
 
 Image via Br...

A team from Brown University has developed a robot capable of following verbal and nonverbal commands in indoor and outdoor environments. Based on iRobot's brain-trust, previously known for developing PackBot, the machine was presented at the Human-Robot Interaction conference from March 11-13.  Read More

http://www.pinktentacle.com/2009/03/video-hrp-4c-fashion-model-robot/

Japanese researchers on Monday unveiled the HRP-4C robot in a mock fashion show, which showcased the versatile facial expressions and motions of the bot, rather than the outfit of the month. The petit, 158cm tall robot has 42 motion motors in its body, and can imitate a variety of facial expressions.  Read More

The Cajun Crawler was built by a team of mechanical engineering students at the University...

Take one DIY Self balancing electric vehicle project, replace the wheels with 6 pars of short legs based on Theo Jansen kinetic sculptures and the result looks like something out of “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. A dynamically stabilized, ride-on robot that crawls.  Read More

The quadcopter bots have 20 minutes of battery power to find high ground.

Autonomous flying quadcopter robots, built from off-the-shelf parts in €300 kits (US$380) could be used to establish radio networks for phones and wireless Internet in disaster zones. Under development by researchers at the Ilmenau University of Technology, the bots are equipped with satellite navigation, GPS, and VIA Pico-ITX hardware.  Read More

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