Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Carnegie Mellon

HERB brandishes a knife in a futile attempt to separate cookie from creme

The dream of an intelligent robot butler that can do the household chores may still be decades away, but a team of roboticists at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute is doing their part to make it a reality. HERB – the Home Exploring Robotic Butler – is one of dozens of robots to come out of CMU's Personal Robotics lab, and its latest trick is separating Oreo cookies in a response to Nabisco's Cookie vs. Creme challenge.  Read More

The BallCam prototype

Viewers of televised football games can now see footage from video cameras mounted on the players’ helmets and the coaches’ heads ... what else could one ask? Of course, let’s see what things look like from the ball’s point of view! Actually, that’s no longer as far-fetched as it once was. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Japan’s University of Electro-Communications (UEC) recently unveiled their BallCam system, which can provide relatively smooth video from a spinning, airborne football.  Read More

The challenge for the designers is for staff to feel like they are sitting on a park bench...

The PNC Financial Services Group hopes to exceed LEED Platinum requirements along with promoting a healthy indoor workplace with its latest development – the Tower at PNC Plaza. Located in downtown Pittsburgh on the corner of Fifth and Wood Streets, the building will be approximately 800,00 gross sq.ft (74,322 sq.mt) in size with a construction budget of approximately US$240 million. The "breathing" design created by architecture firm Gensler moves away from the traditional closed air-conditioned environment and has the lofty aim of becoming the greenest skyscraper in the world.  Read More

Team of robots decoating a cargo plane

If you think stripping paint off an end table can be a messy, time consuming job, imagine removing paint and other coatings from an aircraft like the C-130 transport plane. Tasked with developing a robotic system that would take such a chore out of the hands of maintenance personnel, Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, developed a team of robots that gets the job done – using laser beams, no less.  Read More

A magnetic capsule robot made primarily out of soft elastomer developed at CMU's Nanorobot...

Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU's) Nanorobotics Laboratory has received US$787,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, which will be matched by CMU, to develop a squishy robotic capsule that can be controlled while inside the body. The capsule could replace invasive endoscopes by performing camera imaging, drug injection, tissue sampling, and more.  Read More

The proposed Virtual Traffic Lights system could make lights like these obsolete (Photo: S...

If you’ve ever seen two groups of ants meet up with one another on intersecting paths, you’ll notice that they don’t crash into each other. Instead, the larger group instinctively takes the right-of-way, followed by the smaller group – the same thing applies to bees and termites. Inspired by this behavior, Carnegie Mellon University telecommunications researcher Ozan Tonguz wondered if the same thing could be applied to traffic flow.  Read More

Bossa Nova Robotics has announced it will begin selling a new research platform called mOb...

Bossa Nova Robotics, a spin-off of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, has announced a new research platform called mObi. The mObi platform is based on a design by Professor Ralph Hollis, who developed a robot that balanced and moved on a ball instead of wheels, called the Ballbot. Thanks to its unique form of locomotion, mObi moves gracefully in any direction and could be put to work as a telepresence robot in the future.  Read More

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a system called acoustic barcod...

For many of us, pointing a device at an object and retrieving data about it has become part of our daily lives. The vast majority of our purchases will sport the ubiquitous barcode; an increasing number of printed magazine adverts, online articles and even television shows are using QR codes for access to more information; and most recently, near field communication technology is opening up new ways to interact with the world around us. A team of researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Heinz College Center for the Future of Work Carnegie Mellon University has been looking into an alternative object tagging system called acoustic barcodes. The system takes the sound of a finger, pen or phone scraping across a series of parallel notches etched, embossed or cut into a surface or object, and converts it into a unique binary ID.  Read More

The Polaris lunar water prospecting robot prototyple

Astrobotic Technology Inc., a spin-off company of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), has debuted its full-size flight prototype of its Polaris lunar water-prospecting robot. Polaris is specially designed to work in the permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s poles. Scheduled to be sent to the Moon using a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, the solar-powered rover is a contender in the US$20 million Google Lunar X Prize and is tasked with seeking ice deposits that could be used by future colonists.  Read More

A 3D printed mobile projector accessory with embedded light pipes that direct light to the...

Researchers at Disney Research Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are experimenting with 3D printed optics using clear resin. Printed optics can create a variety of effects within 3D-printed objects, from focusing light within printed prisms to channeling light through honeycomb-like "light pipes," which give the effect of individually lit pixels.  Read More

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