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Georgia Tech

Robotics

Teaching robots new tricks without programming

Don't believe what the sci-fi movies tell you: when it comes to understanding our world, robots are stupid. Like computers, robots only do what we program them to do. And that's a big problem if we're ever going to realize the dream of practical robot helpers for the masses. Wouldn't it be great if anyone could teach a robot to perform a task, like they would a child? Well, that's precisely what Maya Cakmak has been working on at Willow Garage.Read More

Drones

TechJect’s Dragonfly micro UAV flies like a bird and hovers like an insect

Given their impressive flight capabilities, it’s not surprising to see researchers turning to the world of flying insects for inspiration when developing new kinds of micro UAVs. With their ability to both fly at high speeds and hover, the dragonfly would seem an obvious candidate for biomimicry. But with the exception of the DelFly, we hadn’t seen many attempts to model a micro UAV on the dragonfly’s four wing design. That could be changing with a multi-disciplinary team from Georgia Tech having developed a robotic four-winged ornithopter called the TechJect Dragonfly that fits in the palm of a hand and combines the flight capabilities of a quadricopter, helicopter and fixed wing aircraft in one.Read More

Science

Two-part “stutter jumps” could reduce jumping robot power consumption

Researchers at the Georgia Tech School of Physics say they have developed a novel jumping strategy for hopping robots that reduces power consumption. Associate Professor Daniel Goldman and Graduate Student Jeffrey Aguilar analyzed almost 20,000 jumps made by a simple robot designed to test jumping dynamics and discovered that a so-called "stutter jump" – where a robot builds up momentum by first making smaller hops before a big jump – requires a tenth of the power normally expended when performing the bigger jump from scratch.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Clock Drawing Test goes digital for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can make a huge difference in the management of the disease, and this can be achieved by making testing procedures more easily accessible. For that reason, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers led by Ellen Yi-Luen Do have created a digital version of the Clock Drawing Test commonly used to detect cognitive impairment. The two-part evaluation does away with the paper and makes it easier for patients to get tested, besides giving doctors a more sophisticated tool for making assessments. Read More

Robotics

Georgia tech developing "Macgyver" robot

In the television series Macgyver, the eponymous title character was notorious of being able to take a paperclip and some pocket lint and make an aircraft carrier out them. Now researchers at Georgia Tech want to give robots that same ingenuity. A team led by Professor Mike Stilman plans to create a “Macgyver bot” that can go into a disaster area and use whatever is lying around as tools to complete its mission. Read More

Robotics

Tiny robots could be the micro-builders of the future

How small can a robot get? According to a team of researchers at Georgia Tech, really, really small. Described in the July 23 issue of the journal Soft Matter, the Georgia Tech team has been running complex computational models of swimming robots on the micron (0.001 mm or about 0.000039 inches) scale. At this microscopic level, water takes on very different properties from those of the human scale, but despite these challenges the team believes that such robots could have fascinating practical applications.Read More

Medical

U.S. soldiers wired to record blast effects

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have been a major hazard for Coalition and NATO forces in Afghanistan for over the past decade. The toll that they’ve taken in lives and equipment has been terrible, but the U.S. Army hopes to alleviate some of this with new vehicle and body blast sensors shipping to Afghanistan in August 2012. These sensors, built jointly with Georgia Tech Research Institute and the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force are part of wireless information network designed to aid doctors and engineers by collecting blast and pressure data from the vehicles and soldiers themselves.Read More

Wearables

Vibrating musical glove improves sensation and mobility in spinal cord injury patients

Researchers at Georgia Tech have seen an improvement in sensation and movement in the hands of people with paralyzing spinal cord injury (SCI) after wearing a glove that helps them learn to play piano. The Mobile Music Touch (MMT) is a glove that helps them learn to play different songs by vibrating the wearer’s fingers to tell them which keys on a piano keyboard to play. The fact the improved sensation and motor skills occurred in individuals that had sustained their injury more than a year before the study is encouraging as most rehab patients see little improvement after such a period.Read More

Science

Triboelectric generator could allow electricity-generating touchscreens

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have taken advantage of the triboelectric effect, which sees an electric charge generated through friction between two different materials, to develop a generator that could supplement power produced by piezoelectric nanogenerators previously developed at Georgia Tech. The triboelectric generator could be used to produce electricity from activities such as walking and even has the potential to create touchscreens that generate their own power.Read More

Robotics

Shimi the dancing robotic smartphone dock

Researchers at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology have developed a one-foot-tall (30 cm) smartphone-enabled robot called Shimi, which they describe as an interactive “musical buddy.” Leveraging the power of a docked Android smartphone and the music library contained on the mobile device, Shimi can recommend songs, dance to the beat and play tunes based on listener feedback.Read More

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