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Carnegie Mellon

Mobile Technology

"Acoustruments" could add physical controls to smartphones – using nothing but a plastic tube

While the touchscreen is perhaps the most versatile input method ever created, it's not ideal for every situation, offering little in the way of tangible physical controls. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have put their minds to the problem, creating a series of accessories, known as Acoustruments, which take inspiration from wind instruments to make smartphone interaction more physical – without any Bluetooth or wired connections. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Unpowered ankle exoskeleton takes a load off calf muscles to improve walking efficiency

We might have started off in the water, but humans have evolved to be extremely efficient walkers, with a walk in the park being, well, a walk in the park. Human locomotion is so efficient that many wondered whether it was possible to reduce the energy cost of walking without the use of an external energy source. Now researchers at Carnegie Mellon and North Carolina State have provided an answer in the affirmative with the development of an unpowered ankle exoskeleton.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Speck monitors your home's air quality

Monitoring the level of particulates in the air inside the home can be a life-saver for people with health issues. A new personal air pollution monitor promises a more precise alternative, empowering users to take measures to mitigate and eliminate those tiny particles. Developed at Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, Speck was presented at the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, that took place between March 13 and 17. Read More

Smartwatches

iSkin stickers could be used to control mobile devices

While a wrist-worn smartwatch may be easier to access than a smartphone that has to be retrieved from a pocket, the things certainly have tiny screens. That could make them rather difficult to use for certain tasks, particularly ones where a larger interface area is needed. Well, that's where iSkin comes in. The experimental system allows users to control mobile devices using flexible, stretchable stickers that adhere to their skin. Read More

Robotics

Building a real-life Baymax

The recent animated feature Big Hero 6 is more than a collection of comic book fantasies – there's some hard science behind the soft robots. Baymax, the inflatable robot designed to care for humans who stars in the film may seem as unlikely as a chocolate teapot, but Chris Atkeson, professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon is working on a real life version (minus the karate and flying armor). Gizmag caught up with Atkeson to discuss the project.Read More

Drones

Micro-flyer drone could help a robot to fight fires on ships

This week, the US Office of Naval Research released details regarding a demo of its Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) conducted last November. The robot, as its name implies, is designed to help human crews fight fires in the close confines of naval vessels. In order to get to those fires quicker, SAFFiR may ultimately receive some help itself from an autonomous drone, that was also part of the demonstration. Read More

Robotics

Snake Monster robot can be easily reconfigured to suit user needs

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has created a new robot that has six legs, looks creepily like a spider when it walks, and is dubbed "Snake Monster". Not exactly endearing traits, but the Snake Monster isn’t designed to win any popularity contests. It has been created as an easily reconfigurable platform using a modular system architecture that may be easily programmed to govern robots with a varied array of configurations. Read More

Space

Carnegie Mellon unveils Andy lunar rover

Carnegie Mellon University has unveiled Andy, a four-wheeled unmanned rover designed to explore the rough terrain and recently discovered pits of the Moon. Developed in cooperation with Pittsburgh's Astrobotic Technology, the solar powered robot is CMU's entry for the US$20 million-plus Google Lunar XPrize, and may one day help pave the way toward permanent outposts on the Moon.Read More

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