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Humanoid

Russian media enterpreneur Dmitry Itskov is heading a project that will try and achieve hu...

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

The FACE robot is capable of mimicking 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

The Freestyle Semiconductor Mechatronics Robot with its 32-bit RISC microprocessor board (...

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

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire teach the iCub robot how to form words, as ...

iCub is an open-source hardware project described as a “cognitive humanoid robotic platform." The project was initiated in Italy, but the technology is now in use at several other labs, including the University of Hertfordshire. Researchers there, taking part in the iTalk project, have carried out experiments to find out how robots can develop basic language skills by interacting with a human.  Read More

TJ* (seen here with an optional paper 'skin') is a robotic human head that is controlled i...

At one time or another, probably just about every little boy has dreamed of having his own version of C-3PO or Robby the Robot. Well, while affordable close-to-human-sized toy robots are still not a reality, TJ* at least offers up the most expressive part of one – the head. About three-fifths the size of an actual adult human head, TJ* incorporates three user-controlled micro servos, that move its eyeballs up and down, left and right, and that open and close its mouth. Some interesting extra features are also in the works.  Read More

SAFFiR, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, is being developed to help put out fi...

If there's one thing that you don't want happening on board a ship, it's a fire. People on board burning ships can't simply run out onto the streets, as they hopefully could in the case of a structural fire, plus many people caught belowdecks don't have windows nearby to climb out of. Then, there's also the fact that crew members fighting such fires have to work in narrow, claustrophobic passageways, instead of wide-open roads. Given that fires are particularly possible on military ships, due to attacks by enemy forces, America's Naval Research Laboratory is now developing a special something to help fight fires at sea - it's called SAFFiR, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot.  Read More

Astronaut Dan Burbank and NASA's Robonaut 2 shake hands on the ISS (Photo: NASA)

History is full of famous handshakes that symbolize a permanent change in the status quo. The 1945 Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin triple handshake. The 1961 Kennedy-Khrushchev handshake. The 1972 Nixon-Mao handshake. The 1993 Rabin-Arafat handshake. The 2012 Burbank-R2 handshake? This historic clasping took place on February 15, 2012, when NASA's Robonaut 2 (nicknamed R2) humanoid robot greeted Commander Dan Burbank aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in the first "man-machine" handshake in space.  Read More

Admirers of lifelike androids could do worse than take a trip to Tokyo's Shinjuku ward, wh...

Visitors to Tokyo's Shinjuku ward my find themselves figuratively transported to the uncanny valley, if they take a stroll past Takashimaya department store, that is. Until Valentine's Day, a prominent display window there will play glassy prison cell to the impressive and unnerving Geminoid-F android. Geminoid-F is so strikingly lifelike in appearance, yet so thoroughly inhuman in many respects (head and eye movement among them), that it can only be the work of that master of the uncanny, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro.  Read More

NAO Next Gen by Aldebaran Robotics

Remember NAO, the robot that stole the show at the recent Robotville event? Well, NAO's already impressive set of abilities have just been extended with Aldebaran Robotics releasing a new version of its cute little humanoid robot. Around two thousand NAOs are used for research and education purposes all around the world but now that the NAO Next Gen is ready, the founder and chairman of Aldebaran Robotics, Bruno Maisonnier, hopes to see it become useful to humans in a more direct sense. It's new abilities are to make it even more versatile and, among other things, prepare it for working with autistic children and the elderly.  Read More

The Robothespian presentation, telepresence and acting humanoid robot by Engineered Arts L...

Engineered Arts Ltd.'s Robothespian is probably one of the first professional robotic actors who made it into the real world (sorry, T-1000). Its elegant movements, extraordinary body language and emotion-conveying skills make it a great communicator. It may not be capable of helping the elderly, it's not nearly as agile and athletic as Boston Dynamics' PETMAN, and it's unlikely to be of any use during eye surgery. But that's OK. Robothespian is an artist. A robot burdened with the task of exploring the ephemeral territory of the arts and claiming it for his robotic brethren. And it seems it is extremely well equipped to get the job done.  Read More

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