Robots with "eyes" in their hands may prove more dextrous than others

When we think of robots, we all too often anthropomorphize them by giving them eyes in their heads, fingers on their hands, and toes on their feet. But just because this is the way humans evolved doesn’t make it ideal. Robots with eyes where they need them most, for example, could be much more efficient than just having them restricted to one place. In this vein, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) recently developed a tri-fingered robotic hand with numerous inbuilt optical detectors to act as adjunct sensors. At the same time, they also fashioned a new type of stretchable optical sensor to accompany such devices.Read More

Inflatable graspers let robots "handle with care"

It turns out that the creators of the movie Big Hero 6 may have been onto something – inflatable robots might just be the way to go. If not their whole bodies, then at least their hands. Scientists at Disney Research have made steps in this direction, by creating inflatable graspers that excel at handling delicate objects without breaking them.Read More

Painting robot controlled entirely by a look

It's no Michelangelo, but a robotic arm wielding a brush has completed a multi-colored oil painting at the behest of nothing other than human eyes. The system has been developed as engineers search for intuitive means of controlling robotic limbs, demonstrating how one day we might be able to wash the dishes while playing video games at the same time.Read More

Baby-faced robot used to analyze why infants smile

Babies may like to be smiled at, but they don't put undue effort into smiling at people in order to make that happen. That's one of the findings of a study conducted by a team of computer scientists, roboticists and developmental psychologists at the University of California, San Diego. To develop their theory, they enlisted the help of a robot you won't soon forget.Read More

Volvo's robots will quietly pick up and empty your garbage bin

Volvo has announced a collaboration with companies and universities in Sweden and the US on ROAR (Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling). The project aims to build robots that will assist garbage truck operators by doing all the heavy lifting for them, picking up and emptying refuse bins autonomously (under the driver's supervision) and as quietly as possible.Read More

"Autobiographical memory" lets robots act as knowledge go-betweens for ISS crews

Anyone who's had to take on job responsibilities from someone who left the company months ago will appreciate this robotic system designed with the International Space Station (ISS) in mind. With the design challenge of retaining important experiential information between rotating crews of astronauts, French researchers used the popular Nao robot to form an "autobiographical memory" of human interactions and pass on the know-how to new crew members.Read More

Aquatic robot seeks and destroys reef-killing starfish

On Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Crown-of-thorns starfish is the scourge of the deep as it eats and destroys large swathes of coral and threatens the overall health of the reef. This starfish is proving difficult to find and eradicate with conventional methods, so Queensland University of Technology researchers have created a hunter-killer robot – dubbed the COTSbot – that's designed to automatically search out and destroy these aquatic pests.Read More

Smooth-moving robots cut energy consumption

With their precise mechanical movements, robots seem like the most efficient of workers, but they can actually waste a good deal of energy. Chalmers University of Technology is developing a new optimization tool that acts like an efficiency expert for industrial robots by smoothing their movements to reduce their energy consumption by as much as 40 percent.Read More

3D-printed microscopic fish could be forerunners to smart "microbots"

Tiny 3D-printed robotic fish smaller than the width of a human hair may one day deliver drugs to specific places in our bodies and sense and remove toxins, thanks to research at the University of California, San Diego. The so-called microfish are self-propelled, magnetically steered, and powered by hydrogen peroxide nanoparticles. And they might be just the first chip off the block for a future filled with "smart" microbots inspired by other biological organisms such as birds, each with its own specialized functionality.Read More

Makr Shakr robo-bar exterminates your thirst

If you've ever wanted the perfectly mixed drink, you may soon be in mechanized luck. An automated bartender is about to begin serving the public. Makr Shakr is claimed to be the world’s first robotic bar and can apparently mix one Googol (the digit 1 followed by 100 zeroes) drink combinations.Read More


    See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning