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Robotics

The flypaper leads the trapped fly towards its doom (Image: Auger-Loizeau)

Giving robots a taste for flesh might not seem like a great idea given that they’re probably going to rise up and enslave us in the next few decades. But that’s just what a couple of UK-based designers have done with their prototype flesh-eating robotic clock.  Read More

Ninomiya-kun, the book-reading robot

Too tired to read the little ones a bedtime story after a long day? Japanese researchers may have had the time-poor parent in mind when they developed Ninomiya-kun, a robot capable of reading aloud from that most ancient of random access mass storage devices - a book.  Read More

The Squse robotic hand serves up some sushi

Kyoto-based factory automation firm Squse has developed a robotic hand that is dextrous and delicate enough to handle sushi. The scarily lifelike hand is constructed of a polycarbonate skeleton covered by a skin of soft silicone. Its 22 pneumatically powered artificial muscles enable its fingers to move like a human hand and it has 20 different moves up its sleeve, ranging from a full-hand squeeze to a delicate two-finger pinch used to transfer sushi from one plate to another.  Read More

Research team member A. J. Rogers with the shrapnel-finding surgical robot

Bioengineers at Duke Univesity in North Carolina have developed a laboratory prototype of a robot that can locate and surgically extract shrapnel pieces from flesh without any kind of human supervision. Using 3-D ultrasound imaging as “eyes”, the tabletop robot was able to precisely locate tiny shards of metal and then successfully guide a needle to their exact location.  Read More

A robotic 'ferret' will help customs find drugs, weapons and people hidden in freight cont...

It won’t be cuddly, but it’ll certainly be efficient. The University of Sheffield is developing what it calls a cargo-screening ferret that uses a combination of laser and fiber-optic technology to sniff out the tiniest traces of drugs, weapons, explosives and even illegal immigrants.  Read More

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

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