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Danny Choo's Smart Doll combines anime-style vinyl dolls with robotics technology in a com...

In Japan, clockwork automata (karakuri ningyō) emerged in the 17th century, and were mainly sold to wealthy or important people who used them to impress guests. These little mechanical dolls have an illustrious history, but like their Western counterparts they largely went out of fashion by the 20th century. Now, a modern version of these automata that mixes popular anime-style vinyl dolls and hobby robotics is on its way thanks to Danny Choo of Culture Japan.  Read More

The German Aerospace Center's new humanoid robot TORO looks like it means business (Photo:...

Engineers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have proven once again that they know how to make a snazzy looking robot. Quietly announced to little fanfare, DLR's Robotics and Mechatronics Center recently put the finishing touches on its DLR-Biped, a pair of shiny blue legs that first stepped onto the scene in 2009. Those legs have now been upgraded to the status of a full-fledged humanoid robot, sporting an all-new upper body and a new name: the Torque Controlled Humanoid Robot, or TORO for short.  Read More

At US$354, RAPIRO is a fraction the cost of other hobby robot kits

Have you been reading Gizmag's robot articles and ever thought you'd like to get your hands dirty with a robot of your own? Well, there's a Kickstarter for that. Shota Ishiwatari has just launched RAPIRO, his custom designed Raspberry Pi Robot. The robot is easy to assemble, and comes with RGB LEDs, 12 servos, and an Arduino-compatible servo control board. And the best part is it will only set you back £229 (US$354).  Read More

The self-transforming robot toy revealed by Takara Tomy at Tokyo Toy Show 2013

Remember that awesome transforming robot built by the one-man wonder Kenji Ishida? Well, apparently Takara Tomy took notice of it after videos of the robot went viral last year and is developing its own mass-market version under the official Transformers banner. They showed the automatically transforming toy alongside a robotic lion from its Zoids line, both controlled with an iPhone, at Tokyo Toy Show 2013.  Read More

Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot ATLAS attempts to put a power drill into a bin in simulati...

Teams vying for a spot in the historic DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) must first prove themselves in the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) later this month. The VRC digitally simulates the physical challenges slated to take place at the tail end of the year, where real robots will get down and dirty for the first time. A total of 26 teams qualified to take part in the VRC, but only eight of them will earn the privilege of working with their very own ATLAS humanoid. Others will participate with their own unique robots.  Read More

The KHR-3HV robot's hardware has been slightly modified but would normally cost around US$...

While there are several humanoid robot kits available to hobbyists, most of them leave much to be desired when it comes to walking the way we do. The fact that they can move on two feet at all is pretty cool, but most simply bend their knees and make a series of quick little steps, resulting in a gait which looks like they're shuffling rather than really walking. Professional roboticists and programmers are now beginning to show some improvements that are worth seeing in action.  Read More

The robot matches the type of hand-off with the most appropriate response in its database

They may not make for the showiest videos, but some of the most interesting problems in robotics are to do with the subtleties of human interaction. Even something as apparently simple as receiving an object poses great difficulty, but it's a problem that will need to be solved before multipurpose robots are ready for the home. By building a database of captured human motion, Disney Research and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are making strides towards building a robot that can take an object handed to it by a human.  Read More

COMAN stays on its feet despite being pushed around by its human masters

We've seen robots optimized for stability before, but where, for example, Dr. Guero's modified Kondo KHR-3HV could withstand the odd gentle prod with a finger, the Italian Institute of Technology's COMAN is apparently made of sterner stuff, remaining vertical in the face of rather more determined jostling thanks to its sensor-equipped motorized joints.  Read More

Boston Dynamics' PETMAN stretches realistically to test the chemical protection suit

Back in late 2009 Boston Dynamics revealed it was working on a humanoid robot that would test protective clothing for the military. Having already amazed the world three years earlier with the lifelike balancing capabilities of its quadruped BigDog, this would be the company's first bipedal robot. It was an ambitious project, but it appears the work has paid off. The robot's eerily realistic body movements are made all the more convincing now that its mechanical nature is hidden by a chemical protection suit.  Read More

Dr. Guero's hobby robot kit balances on nail-like stilts on a park bench

When it comes to the diminutive robot kits you find at hobby stores, most have what can only be described as a primitive sense of balance. If, however, you happen to be an expert roboticist like Dr. Guero (aka Masahiko Yamaguchi), then it's surprising how much can be squeezed out of these pet projects with the right programming. His latest trick is to have his robot balance on a pair of nail-like stilts, which you can see it do after the break.  Read More

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