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Humanoid

Robotics

Interactive Urban Robot needs you to give it directions

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

Robotics

Samsung's new Roboray humanoid robot walks the walk

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

Robotics

RoboCup's TeenSize League gets champion open-source robot

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

Robotics

Disney develops "face cloning" technique for animatronics

The “uncanny valley” is one of the frustrating paradoxes of robotics. Every year, roboticists make humanoid robots that more accurately imitate human beings, but it turns out that the better the imitation, the creepier the end result. It’s that strange, hair-raising sensation one gets when visiting the Hall of Presidents at Disneyland. True, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln look very lifelike, but there’s always something wrong that you can’t quite describe. In the hope of bridging this valley, a Disney Research team in Zurich, Switzerland, has invented a new robot-making technique dubbed “face cloning.” This technique combines 3D digital scanning and advanced silicone skins to give animatronic robots more realistic facial expressions.Read More

Sports

Swumanoid swimming android developed to improve performance in the pool

With the swimming program of the London Olympics now completed and medals awarded, many will now be casting their attention to Rio in 2016 and how competitors can be helped to swim faster, how they can be made stronger, and what swimwear can be developed to improve their performance. Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology are hoping to answer these questions by developing a humanoid robot able to reproduce realistic swimming strokes. Read More

Robotics

Hanson Robotics unveils latest version of its Zeno humanoid robot

Back in 2007, we did a report on Zeno, a humanoid robot with a remarkable range of movement and impressive artificial intelligence that was aimed at the children’s toy market. Built by Hanson Robotics, the 17-inch (43 cm) tall robot could stand, make eye contact and had artificial intelligence software with voice recognition to enable it to engage in conversations. Projected retail price was US$300. Five years later, Hanson has released a YouTube video announcing that the latest version of Zeno is going into production, though it’s a bit taller and a lot more expensive.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

"Avatar" project aims for human immortality by 2045

Russian media magnate Dmitry Itskov is heading "Avatar," a tremendously ambitious and far-reaching multidisciplinary research project that aims to achieve immortality in humans within the next three decades. He plans to do it by housing human brains in progressively more disembodied vehicles, first transplanting them into robots and then, by the year 2045, by reverse-engineering the human brain and effectively "downloading" human consciousness onto a computer chip.Read More

Robotics

FACE android conveys human emotions with facial expressions

Introduced by Japan’s Masahiro Mori, the “Uncanny Valley” principle states that the more a humanoid robot strives and fails to mimic human appearance, the less appealing it is to humans. In yet another attempt to cross the valley, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Pisa, Italy, endowed a female-form humanoid called FACE with a set of complex facial expression features. They did so in the hope of finding the answer to one fundamental question: can a robot express emotions?Read More

Robotics

Freescale introduces sensor-laden humanoid robot platform for US$200

A hundred years ago, the state-of-the-art of automotive technology was being pushed forward as quickly by shade-tree mechanics as it was by formal industrial R&D. To paraphrase John Steinbeck: "Two generations of Americans knew more about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars." The current situation in robotics could be seen in a similar light - open source hardware and software provide very similar tools and capabilities to hobbyists and robotics start-up company alike. To ease entry into the field, Freescale Semiconductors has just introduced FSLBOT, which provides the basic hardware and software for development of a walking, sensor-laden robot starting at only US$200.Read More

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