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Robotics

— Robotics

Healthcare robot gives sponge baths

By - November 9, 2010 4 Pictures
While many movies and TV shows would have us believe that hospital sponge baths are only carried out by nurses at either end of the attractiveness spectrum, the reality is no doubt generally somewhere in between. In fact, I’m sure a lot of patients and even more nurses would prefer such tasks were handled by a robot. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology seem to have reached the same conclusion and have developed a robot that can autonomously perform bed baths to keep bedridden patients clean. Read More
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The $65,000 Emotive Robotic Avatar

By - October 29, 2010 2 Pictures
Mail order retailer Hammacher Schlemmer is hoping that someone out there will be willing to plunk down the price of a luxury automobile on its Emotive Robotic Avatar. The US$65,000 device is essentially a stationary remote-control robot, through which its user can carry on conversations, make gestures, and convey five different emotions. On one hand it's a taste of the future, on the other... that's a very expensive puppet. Read More
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Robotic gripper picks up objects using coffee grounds and a balloon (UPDATED: new video)

By - October 25, 2010 7 Pictures
While creating robotic grippers to pick up objects that are all the same shape and consistency is relatively easy, difficulties arise when trying to create one versatile enough to handle a wider variety of objects. The flexibility of the human hand has led many robotics researchers to borrow the familiar four finger and opposable thumb template that has served us so well, but getting the robotic hand to exert enough force to grip a variety of objects without breaking the more fragile ones is still a difficult task. For this reason a team of researchers has bypassed the traditional human hand and fingers design to create a versatile gripper using everyday coffee grounds and a latex party balloon. Read More
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Surgical robot provides haptic feedback to users

By - October 9, 2010 2 Pictures
Robot-assisted surgery has a number of advantages over traditional surgery – it’s steadier, more precise, less invasive, plus the surgeon doesn’t even have to be in the same room (or continent) as the patient. One of its drawbacks, however, is the fact that surgeons can’t feel any of the resistance put up by the patients’ tissues – essentially, the controls provide no sense of touch. To address this problem, Linda van den Bedem from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has created a prototype surgical robot that does provide tactile feedback, and its name is Sofie... or Surgeon’s Operating Force-feedback Interface Eindhoven. Read More
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Berkeley Bionics’ newest exoskeleton lets wheelchair users walk

By - October 7, 2010 3 Pictures
At a press conference held this morning in San Francisco, California’s Berkeley Bionics unveiled its eLEGS exoskeleton. The computer-controlled device is designed to be worn by paraplegics, providing the power and support to get them out of their wheelchairs, into a standing posture, and walking – albeit with the aid of crutches. The two formerly wheelchair-bound “test pilots” in attendance did indeed use eLEGS to walk across the stage, in a slow-but-steady gait similar to that of full-time crutch-users. Read More
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Underwater swimming robot now wirelessly controlled

By - October 2, 2010 7 Pictures
Several years ago, a joint team from Canada’s York, McGill and Dalhousie universities created AQUA, an underwater swimming robot. AQUA has six flippers, three on each side, and uses them to paddle through the water – it’s somewhat reminiscent of a platypus, albeit a six-legged one. Using a different set of appendages, it can even swim underwater, then proceed to sort of slap its way onto and across dry land. All of this is very cool in and of itself, but the little robot now has a new ability: it can receive commands visually underwater, thus freeing it from cumbersome umbilical cords. Read More
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The Kid's Walker: 1.6 metre bi-pedal exoskeleton for children

By - September 30, 2010 1 Picture
Six years back we covered the amazing 3.4 meter bi-pedal exoskeleton from Japan known as the Landwalker. Imagine our surprise when we found that its producer, machinery and robotics manufacturer Sakakibara-Kikai, has developed a smaller exoskeleton called the Kid's Walker. It didn't get that name because of its diminutive size either – the Kid's Walker is a functioning bi-pedal exoskeleton designed to be piloted by children! Read More
— Robotics

Aerial swarming robots to create communications networks for disaster relief

By - September 28, 2010 4 Pictures
Swarms of flying robots might sound a bit ominous to those of us anxiously awaiting the inevitable robot uprising that will see humanity drop a notch on the scale of planetary dominance. But swarms of flying robots are just what a project at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland is working to create. However, instead of keeping an eye on prisoners in a robot-run internment camp, the Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network (SMAVNET) Project aims to develop robot swarms that can be deployed in disaster areas to rapidly create communication networks for rescuers. Read More
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Raytheon XOS 2: second generation exoskeleton

By - September 28, 2010 45 Pictures
The widespread usage of exoskeletal robotics to augment human beings moved a step closer this week when Raytheon demonstrated its second generation Exoskeleton, the XOS 2. The new robotic suit (think of it as wearable robot guided by a human brain) is lighter, faster and stronger than the original proof-of-concept XOS 1, yet uses half the power. While Raytheon's development is primarily focused on military usage, exoskeletons for the mobility-impaired are already at market and industrial exoskeletons from Japan, Korea and Isreal are not far behind. One day in the not too distant future, one of these suits will enable us all to have superhuman strength, speed and endurance. Read More

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