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Hitachi's ROPITS' navigation system combines GPS, stereo cameras, and multiple laser range...

Toyota, Honda, and General Motors have been toying with the concept of eco-friendly single-seater urban vehicles over the past few years, and Hitachi has taken notice. Although it may look like a miniature car, Hitachi's ROPITS is more like a robotic wheelchair designed to assist people with difficulty walking (i.e. Japan's growing elderly population). The key difference is that – unlike the concept vehicles demonstrated by the auto makers – ROPITS drives itself.  Read More

The lesser dog-nosed bat and the robotic bat wing

Recently, we've seen a robotic ostrich. Now, there’s a robot bat – or at least, part of one. Joseph Bahlman, a graduate student at Brown University, with the help of Professors Kenneth Breuer and Sharon Swartz, has developed a robotic bat wing that mimics the ligaments, skin and structural supports of the real thing. The purpose of the motorized plastic bat is to gain a better understanding of how bats are engineered and fly.  Read More

Dr Rickard Brånemark tests the functionality of the world's first muscle and nerve control...

It took some time, but the age of the cyborg is upon us. For the first time, neuromuscular electrodes that enable a prosthetic arm and hand to be controlled by thought have been permanently implanted into the nerves and muscles of an amputee. The operation was carried out recently by a surgical team led by Dr Rickard Brånemark at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden.  Read More

Sir James Dyson at the Sydney launch event for Dyson's new line of Airblade hand dryers

A launch event in Sydney, Australia, this week was the latest stop on Sir James Dyson’s world tour introducing his company’s new line of Airblade hand dryers. While the dryers and the new digital motor that powers them were the main focus, the billionaire British industrial designer also confirmed that his company is still working to perfect an autonomous vacuum cleaner.  Read More

Students at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine can train in a simulation ...

Medical students have been honing their skills on human simulations for years and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has been using the world's first robotic dog simulator Robo-Jerry II and Robo-Fluffy, his feline counterpart, to give aspiring vets experience since 2010. The robo-pets now have a new home in the form of a new robotic simulation center the University claims is the first of its kind in the world, with work underway on a more advanced robotic dog called "Butch" that will boast more realistic features and which will run on cheap, standard components.  Read More

This bionic man contains US$1 million worth of artificial limbs, organs, and blood (Photo:...

Are the famous lines "Gentlemen, we can rebuild him – we have the technology" from The Six Million Dollar Man coming true? Perhaps not entirely, but a new Channel 4 documentary entitled How to Build a Bionic Man will demonstrate the current state of the art in artificial limbs, organs, and even blood, through the construction of a 6-foot tall android. The documentary is set to air on British televisions come February 7, but you can learn about what went into it after the break.  Read More

The DLR Robotic Motion Simulator accurately recreates the sensation of swerving on the roa...

Computer simulations designed to teach people how to operate a vehicle can reproduce a reasonable facsimile of real-world conditions, but they lack one key ingredient: a realisic sense of motion. That's why companies like Toyota has spent millions developing motion simulators that typically move on six hydraulic arms to recreate the sensation of actual driving. Now, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has built a cost-effective motion simulator powered by a single industrial robot arm that can handle extreme scenarios, such as spin maneuvers and even flight take-off and landing.  Read More

Artist's concept of a Phoenix tender in action

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released a new video showing the progress of its Phoenix project, which aims at salvaging parts from defunct communications satellites to build new ones. Based on a new class of nanosatellites and a robotic “tender,” its purpose is to use repurposed satellites to construct a new communications net for the military at low cost.  Read More

Russia is planning to launch probe Luna-Glob in 2015 as a first step toward building a ful...

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is planning to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 2015, a first step toward the ambitious long-term plan to establish a robotic base on the surface of our largest satellite. The spacecraft, called Luna-Glob ("Moon globe"), will be followed by two more orbiters and two rovers that will study the lunar soil locally and collect samples of rocks and dust, bringing them back to Earth for analysis.  Read More

Panasonic Activelink's Power Loader Light appears on video for the first time

Robotic exoskeletons that artificially augment puny human muscles have been in development for years, but we're yet to see any of them really take off. Panasonic is still betting on its own solution, the Power Loader Light (yes, named after the one seen in the sci-fi film Aliens), which is being developed by Activelink, one of its subsidiaries. The company has made some modifications since its initial appearance in 2010 and is showing off how it works on video for the first time.  Read More

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