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Robotics

Soft robotic gripper gets a grasp on fragile objects using electroadhesion

Building machines that replicate the delicate touch of a human hand is a complex undertaking that has seen the development of all kinds of soft robotic grippers, from squishy green blobs to boa constrictor-inspired claws. Scientists are now claiming an important advance in this area, demonstrating a robotic device that can better grasp fragile objects through the help of electroadhesion, the very same phenomenon that sees balloons cling to ceilings after being rubbed on your hair.Read More

Atlas robot told to clean its room

If the current batch of robot vacuum cleaners don't seem Jetsony enough, then the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) Robotics lab may have something that fits the bill – an Atlas robot pottering about the lab with a Hoover. While the scenario may not provide an accurate picture of the domestic help of tomorrow, it does show what you can do when you've got a very expensive state-of-the-art humanoid automaton going spare.Read More

Soft robotic grippers lend a delicate hand in undersea exploration

While underwater robotics solutions are becoming more and more impressive as the years go by, machines used for delicate activities like collecting samples of marine life or conducting underwater archaeology still sport clunky robotic hands that lack the necessary soft touch. A research team from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has been working to tackle the issue, designing, building and testing a soft gripper solution.Read More

Robotic 3D printer on wheels looks to fill the potholes of the future

From filling potholes to repairing busted power lines, maintaining a city's infrastructure involves some serious man hours. This labor-intensive task has recently become the target of some roboticists and engineers, who have set their sights on automating at least part of the process. Now startup Addibots is looking to get in on the action, wheeling out a roving 3D printing robot it imagines will scoot around town mending dodgy road surfaces. Read More

NASA crowdsources design ideas for its new ISS-bound robot

Since arriving in 2006, NASA's SPHERES robots have roamed the International Space Station assisting in microgravity research by serving as engineering and robotic testbeds. Now it is time for an upgrade. As NASA prepares to launch SPHERES' successor, a free-flying cube-shaped robot known as Astrobee, it is crowdsourcing design concepts for one of new machine's more noteworthy features, a robotic arm to be used for perching and interacting with objects.Read More

Modular ZoZbots can be programmed for all kinds of modern household games

Not all that long ago a bag of marbles or a deck of cards might have been the go-to tools for a bit of family fun, but today's households harbor all kinds of games, both virtual and real-world. Combining the two by bringing robotics into the mix promises an interesting blend of education and entertainment, something startup CutThroatRobotics is aiming to achieve with ZoZbot. A basic omnidirectional rover at a minimum and a customizable, multi-purpose gaming platform at most, ZoZbot can be put to work in everything from lounge room floor soccer matches to table-top games of pool.Read More

Segway's latest take on personal mobility is a robotic helper you can ride

Though it has been adapted to a number of inventive shapes and sizes ranging from three-wheeled patrollers to self-balancing two seaters, the Segway never quite found the commercial success envisaged when the first models appeared way back in 2002. Now the company is bringing a little robotics into the mix to give it a new edge. The Segway Robot builds on the company's approach to self-balancing urban transport by converting into a robotic helper once you hop off.Read More

New sensor system enables robots to look inside luggage

Luggage lying around unattended at an airport justifiably triggers the jitters. The hazardous task of getting up close to inspect what could potentially be a bomb that could explode any time invariably falls to the bomb squad. Researchers have come up with a way to minimize the risk by creating a sophisticated, robot-mountable, sensor system that allows authorities to scan a piece of luggage and get an accurate image of its contents. The contact-free detection system could not only potentially help bomb specialists assess the danger quickly, but it could also help them obtain vital evidence.Read More

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