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Robotics

It may sound a touch like the plot of a horror movie, but tiny robotic swarms have been unleashed – albeit in the controlled environment of a scientific lab. The development comes courtesy of computer scientists at the University of Lincoln, who, with help from researchers at Tsinghua University in China, have created Colias, a low-cost autonomous micro-robot that in large numbers replicates the behavior of swarming honeybees. Read More
Once upon a time, robots were imagined as human-like machines with a distinct body complete with head, arms, hands, feet, and legs. More recently, designers have explored the benefits of emulating other creatures and their capabilities, with robots that can fly like birds, run like cheetahs, swim like a squids or, in this case, slither like snakes. Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) have come up with a single 3D printed, soft-shelled tentacle that is designed to navigate through all manner of pipes, channels, and burrows. Read More
Researchers at MIT have announced the latest developments in their robotic cheetah project. The project aims to provide insights into how cheetahs can move so quickly. The cheetah is now "wireless" and is electrically powered. Read More
Solar panels need regular cleaning to ensure they are working at their optimum efficiency, and spraying them with the hose from the ground or relying on a heavy downpour won't necessarily get the job done. Like the windows on your house, they need to be scrubbed and polished for maximum effect. Enter Scrobby, a solar-powered, autonomous robot prototype designed to keep domestic solar panels clean and clear. Read More
DARPA has awarded a first-phase US$2.9 million follow-on contract to the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University as part of its Warrior Web program to create a soft exoskeleton. The Wyss Institute is studying the biometrics of walking as part of an effort to develop a soft fabric exoskeleton called the Soft Exosuit that uses robotics and biomimetics to augment the wearer’s musculoskeletal system as a way to reduce fatigue and injuries in soldiers and the disabled. Read More

As far as consumer humanoid robots go, Aldebaran Robotics' NAO is certainly one of the more capable. Among other things, it features a two-camera computer vision system, a sonar distance sensor, two infrared emitters and receivers, nine tactile and eight pressure sensors. Now, the li'l bot can also drive a car – if that car is its new miniature electric BMW Z4. Read More

A collection of autonomous robots designed to scuttle around on distant planets looking for resources and material in much the same way that members of insect colonies do on Earth are currently being tested by NASA engineers. The robots, dubbed ‘swarmies’, are designed to individually survey an area, signal the others when they have found something of value, and then divide up the task of collecting the material and returning it to their base. Read More
In the automotive industry, life is pretty easy for the car-assembling robots ... they just sit in the same place performing the same task, day after day. Things are different in the aerospace industry, however. Airplanes aren’t made on assembly lines, so any robots used in their construction would have to move around them. The member organizations of the European VALERI Project (Validation of Advanced, Collaborative Robotics for Industrial Applications) are now working on making such mobile, autonomous plane-building robots a reality. Read More
Cruise ships can be pretty palatial places. Now, Royal Caribbean has unveiled some of the technologies that will make its newest ship even more luxurious. The Quantum of the Seas will feature high-speed internet, RFID navigation for guests, and robot bartenders. Read More
One of the steps towards to making robots into the all powerful overlords envisioned in books and movies is to teach them all human knowledge. A project named Robo Brain can do this without any help from humans, trawling the web in search of information and then sharing it with robots. Read More
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