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Robotic

Marine

Europe's first ultra-deep-sea robotic glider to monitor deep sea pollution

The deep sea is the new frontier for mining, oil exploration, and other industrial activities as they leave the continental shelves for areas miles beneath the ocean surface. Along with this comes greater dangers to the environment, which will require constant monitoring. To provide the needed eyes, Britain's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and partners are developing the BRIDGES Glider. As Europe’s first ultra-deep-sea robot glider, the craft is capable of reaching 75 percent of the world's oceans to depths of up to 5,000 meters.Read More

Military

MAXFAS exoskeleton improves soldiers' aim

Mention military exoskeletons and it will likely conjure up visions of something like Iron Man, that gives a soldier super strength or the ability to march all day with a pack the size of a piano. However, exoskeletons can provide more than brute strength. Taking a page from therapy exoskeletons, Dan Baechle, a mechanical engineer at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), is developing the MAXFAS exoskeleton that doesn't make soldiers stronger, but better shots instead.Read More

Robotics

MIT's robotic cheetah can now leap over obstacles

The last time we heard from the researchers working on MIT's robotic cheetah project, they had untethered their machine to let it bound freely across the campus lawns. Wireless and with a new spring in its step, the robot hit speeds of 10 mph (16 km/h) and could jump 13 in (33 cm) into the air. The quadrupedal robot has now been given another upgrade in the form of a LIDAR system and special algorithms, allowing it to detect and leap over obstacles in its path.Read More

Robotics

Cornell's robot barista learns as it brews

If robots are going to become part of our everyday lives, they'll need to learn to work with everyday things. That means being able to read instruction manuals and figuring out how to use new machines. That's the plan of researchers at Cornell University, who have programmed a robot barista that can not only make a latte, but figure out how to use an unfamiliar espresso maker.Read More

Medical

Prosthetic arm takes alternate route to mind control

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

Space

Curiosity suffers short circuit

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

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