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Robotics

The Social Drink Machine is a robotic bartender that takes your order via Facebook or Twit...

Robofun, which bills itself as the largest open-source hardware store in Romania, has built a robotic bartender called The Social Drink Machine. It takes its inspiration from another recently created "botender," The Inebriator, which the team at Robofun felt could be improved with a social media interface. They built their own robot from scratch in just 10 days and added Facebook and Twitter apps that let you order drinks from a mobile phone.  Read More

A test subject teaches the PR2 robot how to fold a t-shirt through demonstration

Don't believe what the sci-fi movies tell you: when it comes to understanding our world, robots are stupid. Like computers, robots only do what we program them to do. And that's a big problem if we're ever going to realize the dream of practical robot helpers for the masses. Wouldn't it be great if anyone could teach a robot to perform a task, like they would a child? Well, that's precisely what Maya Cakmak has been working on at Willow Garage.  Read More

The complete Robi robot can be assembled from parts that come with each magazine issue

The Japanese arm of De Agostini, an Italian-based publishing house known worldwide for magazines that drip feed buyers model components on a weekly basis, has chosen something a bit different for its latest offering. Instead of the traditional model car or boat, the company is letting subscribers build their own robot. After 70 issues, which cost JPY¥1,990 (US$25) apiece, buyers will have a fully assembled Robi that stands 13.4 inches (34 cm) tall and weighs just 2.2 pounds (1 kg).  Read More

Hinamitetu's Horizontal Bar Gymnast Robot 'sticks' a perfect landing

After years of trial and error, a Japanese hobbyist has built a gymnast robot that can perform a somersault off a horizontal bar in his living room and stick the landing. The man, who goes by the handle Hinamitetu on YouTube, built the first version of the robot out of boredom after being laid off from a job back in 2010. Since then, the robot has gone through twelve revisions. Although somewhat crudely made, the robot incorporates sensors to automatically clamp onto the bar, and an accelerometer to determine when to let go.  Read More

The PatrolBot Mark II shows an unsuspecting garden sculpture who's boss

Steve Norris, a software engineer with a knack for robotics, has built himself a remote-controlled robot in his spare time that could give professional bots a run for their money. The aptly titled PatrolBot Mark II trundles around on wheels and sends its operator a live video feed from its night vision camera. Of course, being a hobby project it isn't designed to be dangerous – but its 100-db car horn and water gun might put a scare into trespassing raccoons.  Read More

A magnetic capsule robot made primarily out of soft elastomer developed at CMU's Nanorobot...

Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU's) Nanorobotics Laboratory has received US$787,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, which will be matched by CMU, to develop a squishy robotic capsule that can be controlled while inside the body. The capsule could replace invasive endoscopes by performing camera imaging, drug injection, tissue sampling, and more.  Read More

The TechJect Dragonfly fits in the palm of a hand

Given their impressive flight capabilities, it’s not surprising to see researchers turning to the world of flying insects for inspiration when developing new kinds of micro UAVs. With their ability to both fly at high speeds and hover, the dragonfly would seem an obvious candidate for biomimicry. But with the exception of the DelFly, we hadn’t seen many attempts to model a micro UAV on the dragonfly’s four wing design. That could be changing with a multi-disciplinary team from Georgia Tech having developed a robotic four-winged ornithopter called the TechJect Dragonfly that fits in the palm of a hand and combines the flight capabilities of a quadricopter, helicopter and fixed wing aircraft in one.  Read More

JTEKT demonstrated the NOBOROT's stair-climbing capabilities at JIMTOF 2012

Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Kamata lab are working on a new wheeled robotic vehicle that can climb stairs. Called the NOBOROT, it uses a proximity sensor to detect when it is next to a step and is able to maintain a level posture while ascending and descending to ensure a smooth ride.  Read More

This simple jumping robot designed by Georgia Tech Grad Student Jeffrey Aguilar performed ...

Researchers at the Georgia Tech School of Physics say they have developed a novel jumping strategy for hopping robots that reduces power consumption. Associate Professor Daniel Goldman and Graduate Student Jeffrey Aguilar analyzed almost 20,000 jumps made by a simple robot designed to test jumping dynamics and discovered that a so-called "stutter jump" – where a robot builds up momentum by first making smaller hops before a big jump – requires a tenth of the power normally expended when performing the bigger jump from scratch.  Read More

Dr. Guero's Primer-V4 robot works its way across the tightrope

A Japanese roboticist that goes by the handle Dr. Guero, famous for programming his hobby robots to ride a miniature bicycle and walk on stilts, has managed to get his robot to balance on a tightrope. His Primer-V4 robot is based on the Kondo KHR-3HV hobby kit (which can be purchased for around US$1,800), but features a few modifications that give it the ability to inch its way along a steel wire just over an eighth of an inch (4 mm) thick.  Read More

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