A team led by Kazuhiro Nakadai at Honda Research Institute-Japan (HRI-JP) is improving how robots process and understand sound. The robot, aptly called HEARBO (HEARing roBOt), can parse four sounds (including voices) at once, and can tell where the sounds are coming from. The system, called HARK, could allow future robot servants to better understand verbal commands from several meters away. Read More

The Japanese arm of De Agostini, an Italian-based publishing house known worldwide for magazines that drip feed buyers model components on a weekly basis, has chosen something a bit different for its latest offering. Instead of the traditional model car or boat, the company is letting subscribers build their own robot. After 70 issues, which cost JPY¥1,990 (US$25) apiece, buyers will have a fully assembled Robi that stands 13.4 inches (34 cm) tall and weighs just 2.2 pounds (1 kg). Read More

After years of trial and error, a Japanese hobbyist has built a gymnast robot that can perform a somersault off a horizontal bar in his living room and stick the landing. The man, who goes by the handle Hinamitetu on YouTube, built the first version of the robot out of boredom after being laid off from a job back in 2010. Since then, the robot has gone through twelve revisions. Although somewhat crudely made, the robot incorporates sensors to automatically clamp onto the bar, and an accelerometer to determine when to let go. Read More
Researchers from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology's (KIST) Center for Intelligent Robotics (CIR) demonstrated their household service robot, CIROS, at Robot World 2012. CIROS, the third version of the robot since development began in 2005, is intended to help out around the home by performing simple chores. You can watch it prepare a salad by slicing a cucumber and adding dressing in the video after the break. Read More
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has published concept artwork depicting the robots that will compete in its ambitious DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). The DRC will require robots to drive a car, travel through rubble, open doors, climb ladders, manipulate tools, and more. However, due to the current limitations in artificial intelligence, the robots will be teleoperated by a team of people behind the scenes. The idea is to advance robotics technology so that humans won't have to put their lives at risk in future disaster scenarios. Read More
A Japanese roboticist that goes by the handle Dr. Guero, famous for programming his hobby robots to ride a miniature bicycle and walk on stilts, has managed to get his robot to balance on a tightrope. His Primer-V4 robot is based on the Kondo KHR-3HV hobby kit (which can be purchased for around US$1,800), but features a few modifications that give it the ability to inch its way along a steel wire just over an eighth of an inch (4 mm) thick. Read More
Just in case you haven't had your fill of PSY's viral K-POP sensation, the researchers at Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) have put out a new video of their robot dancing Gangnam Style. While the robot named CHARLI-2 doesn't display any fancy footwork in the video, some of its walking and balancing technology is being implemented in the Navy's Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid (ASH). Read More
The IURO (short for Interactive Urban Robot) is a new humanoid service robot built by Accrea Engineering, a spin-off of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Researchers at TUM as well as ETH Zurich and the University of Salzburg are collaborating on an EU-funded research project that seeks to teach robots directions—the human way. Read More
Samsung's robotics division presented the company's latest humanoid robot, Roboray, at IROS 2012 in Portugal last week. Researchers led by Kyungsik Roh have been co-developing humanoid robots with the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) since 2004 and the Roboray is a departure from their earlier robot (known as "Mahru", of which there are several models) thanks to its torque controlled leg joints, which give it more human-like walking capabilities. Read More
RoboCup soccer provides a fascinating window into the current state-of-the-art in robotics and artificial intelligence. However, building robots much taller than a garden gnome has proven a daunting requirement for university labs with limited budgets and experience. Just five teams qualified to compete in the mid-range TeenSize category this year, for robots three to four feet (95-120 cm) tall. A new open-source hardware platform from the University of Bonn's Team NimbRo fills the gap for newcomers and veterans alike. Read More