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Carnegie Mellon

— Good Thinking

Voice game helps introduce the illiterate to phone-based services

For people without internet access, telephone-based services can still be an invaluable tool for things like finding jobs. Unfortunately, many poor and illiterate citizens of Pakistan simply don’t know how to use such services. In an effort to introduce them to the concepts involved, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Pakistan's Lahore University have launched a “silly phone game” known as Polly. Read More
— Robotics

Humanoid CHIMP robot can go buggy rollin' on treads instead of walking

Robots either have legs, or they run on something like treads or wheels ... right? Well, not in the case of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)’s new CHIMP robot. The humanoid ‘bot does have arms and legs, allowing it to stand and carry out tasks on a human scale. When it’s time to move, however, it can hunker down on all fours and roll along on rubberized treads built into its feet and forearms – not unlike a slower, all-terrain form of buggy rollin'. Read More
— Robotics

HERB the robot butler takes part in Oreo cookie challenge

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
— Digital Cameras

The BallCam – coming soon to a gridiron near you?

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
— Architecture

Pittsburgh's "breathing" building aims to be the world's greenest skyscraper

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 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
— Robotics

Prototype robots autonomously strip paint from aircraft using lasers

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
— Robotics

Soft squishy robots could replace pill cameras and invasive endoscopes

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
— Urban Transport

Insect-inspired virtual traffic lights could replace – or augment – the real things

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
— Robotics

Bossa Nova Robotics unveils mObi personal ballbot

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