Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Robotic

A robot being taught to distinguish between two objects (Photo: University of Plymouth)

It had to happen sooner or later; robots have replaced infants... at least, as subjects in psychological research being conducted by a team at the Indiana University (IU) Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences. The robots are being used to study how infants learn and have revealed that posture and body position are important factors in early learning.  Read More

The 'bionic reconstruction' procedure involves reading electrical activity from transplant...

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna have developed a technique that allows amputees to control a robotic prosthesis with their mind when there's no neural connection left to exploit between the brain and the part of the hand that remains. Called "bionic reconstruction," the procedure was applied to three patients who were able to successfully use the prosthesis to undertake routine activities, thereby improving their quality of life.  Read More

NASA says that the short occurred during operations with Curiosity's drill assembly (Image...

NASA is putting its Curiosity Mars rover on hold for a few days as engineers try to determine the cause and severity of a recent short circuit. The space agency says that during a recent sample-taking operation, the unmanned explorer suffered a transient short circuit that activated an automatic shutdown by the rover's computers.  Read More

Polymer-based soft robotic grippers can perform biopsies and deliver drugs to previously i...

Creating swarms of soft, robotic hands that can safely dissolve within a living body once they've performed surgical procedures or delivered drugs just got a step closer thanks to work done by John Hopkins University scientists. They've created minute biodegradable microgrippers by adding stiff polymers containing magnetic nanoparticles to soft hydrogels, allowing them be magnetically guided to any location in the body.  Read More

Two Spot robots operating together

In 2005, Boston Dynamics unveiled its robot "mule," Big Dog. Now it has a smaller, nimbler littermate called Spot that can take a good kick. Weighing in at 160 lb (72.5 kg), the electrically-powered, hydraulically-actuated, four-legged robot made its debut in a YouTube video released by the company on Tuesday.  Read More

The Mars helicopter is solar powered (Image; NASA)

The next big discovery is always beyond the next hill, but what if you can't see over it? That's the problem facing NASA with its Mars rovers, so the space agency is looking into how robotic helicopters could help scout the land ahead and give engineers back on Earth data to help plot the best route.  Read More

GE is using virtual reality to explain the technology behind its vision for subsea robotic...

In the 1960s, engineers predicted that manned outposts would be built on the bottom of the sea housing hundreds of workers to handle complex tasks like exploiting deep sea oil and natural gas fields. In the 21st century, those outposts are becoming a reality, but as unmanned robotic platforms that are rarely visited by humans. To show how these will be built and operated, GE has created a 3D virtual exhibit for its new research center in Rio de Janeiro.  Read More

The prototype Cooki robotic chef at CES (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

Some claim that cooking is becoming a lost art, with many in Gen Y relying on frozen pre-packaged meals or eating out rather than learning the required skills from their parents. The Cooki from Sereneti Kitchen might not do anything to reverse this trend, but it could at least enable the cooking-impaired to enjoy a meal made from fresh ingredients. On display at CES in prototype form, this ambitious culinary contraption uses a robotic arm to whip up meals from pre-portioned ingredients.  Read More

Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla Motors is working on a robotic arm to take over the task of c...

Showing his penchant for dropping bombshells on Twitter, Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company is working on a robotic arm for recharging its Model S electric cars.  Read More

Hector the stick insect-inspired robot traversing an obstacle course (Photo: Bielefeld Uni...

Hector, the stick insect-inspired robot built by a research team at Bielefeld University in Germany that we first covered in 2011, could be forgiven for feeling lonely as the only one of its kind in world, but has lately been too busy learning to walk to worry on its unique status. It is hoped that Hector, which stands for Hexapod Cognitive autonomously Operating Robot, will benefit not only roboticists but also biologists interested in animal movement.  Read More

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