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NASA is seeking commercial partners to develop robotic lunar landers (Image: NASA)

With China successfully landing a robotic rover on the Moon, there’s been speculation in some circles as to whether or not a new space race between China and the United States will start soon. That’s as maybe, but if Space Race Mk II does happen, the American landing craft might be owned and operated by a private firm. Lending strength to this argument is NASA's recent announcement of its Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) initiative, which aims at kickstarting private development of commercial lunar transports through partnerships with the space agency.  Read More

The EmoSpark console is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled cube that used a combination of faci...

For as long as we’ve been imagining emotionally intelligent machines, we have pictured something at least mildly resembling the human form. From George Lucas’ C-3PO to the recently-developed Robokind Zeno R25, our vision for robotic companionship has typically involved two arms and two legs. Taking a different approach is inventor of the EmoSpark console Patrick Levy Rosenthal, who aims to bring artificial intelligence to consumers in the form of a cube small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.  Read More

Gizmag's pick of the 10 coolest high tech toys

Christmas is just around the corner and the hunt for the best kids toys out there has never been more exciting. With iPhone-controlled toys, customizable robots and smart toys that aim to teach kids life skills while entertaining them, the latest breed of high-tech toys have a lot to offer. Even books and pens, augmented with a little technology can read to kids or coach them to write. If you're looking to surprise junior with toys that feature a delightful technological twist, Gizmag's top 10 coolest tech toys for kids should give you plenty of ideas.  Read More

The Moon Express MX-1 lunar lander acts as a hub for activity on the lunar surface, sendin...

Moon Express, a privately held company driven by a short-term goal of winning the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition, and a longer-term strategy of mining the Moon, last week revealed its MX-1 lunar lander at the closing session of Autodesk University in Las Vegas. Not a one-trick pony, the MX-1 is being designed as the first of a series of robotic spacecraft that can carry out a multitude of tasks in Earth orbit as well as in deep space.  Read More

Knightscope's Autonomous Data Machines are designed to help 'predict and prevent' local cr...

Silicon Valley startup Knightscope Inc. is developing an "Autonomous Data Machine" with the potential to perform the oftentimes monotonous task of keeping watch over property more cost effectively and comprehensively than a human security guard. The company today revealed it has already started securing beta customers for its first two models, the Knightscope K5 and K10.  Read More

From left: the 2011 NWR 002 prototype, the 2013 commercially-ready LIGHBOT and the prototy...

There is no better example of the rapid rate of product development than NSK's move into the area of robotics. At IREX 2011, NSK showed a prototype robot designed to safely guide the visually-impaired, with a footprint of 520 x 660 mm (20 x 26 in) and weight of 40 kg (88 lb). This week, just two years later, NSK showed two versions its Lighbot guide robot that represent a 75 percent weight reduction and an 83 percent footprint reduction. The ingenious right-or-left-hand-drive interface has been both replaced and improved, and all other aspects of the latest bots are equal to or better than the original.  Read More

The Roomba 800 Series has no bristles

According to iRobot, the global market for vacuum cleaners costing over US$200 is worth $6 billion a year. The company is looking to grab a greater share of this pie with its new Roomba 800 Series robot vacuum that was rolled out this week. The 800 Series boasts a number of innovations, the biggest of which is its new AeroForce Extractors, which see conventional bristles replaced with textured rollers to provide what the company claims is a 50 percent improvement in performance.  Read More

The UNiMO Grace is a stylish Apple-esque armchair-on-wheels, while the Adventure model is ...

The tracked UNiMO 400 W EV drive-train debuted at IREX last week, promising new levels of personal mobility for wheelchair users. Both models of the Unimo wheelchair will be in production by the end of this month: the US$18,000 Unimo Grace and the US$10,000 Unimo Adventure, one a stylish armchair on wheels, the other a sport model for going places you cannot normally go in a wheelchair.  Read More

The HX-1 Rescue Helicopter (Photo: Mike Hanlon/Gizmag)

The Hirobo stand at the International Robotics Exhibition in Tokyo this week was full of surprises. The first was the appearance of the HX-1 unmanned electric helicopter, due to go into production before the end of the year, but an even bigger surprise was in store when you opened the brochure – details of the company's planned personal (manned) BIT electric micro helicopter.  Read More

Asahi's new robotic draft beer dispenser

Japan's Asahi brewery looks set to steal a march on its competition by developing a robotic draft beer pouring machine for high-volume bars. Connecting to the keg, the machine pours six perfect beers, taking around 12 seconds per glass with zero wastage. The machine was shown for the first time at the International Robotics Expo in Tokyo yesterday, and is expected to be available within two years.  Read More

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