Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Robotics

Murata Manufacturing's KeePace, a walk-assist device for the elderly or disabled, stands n...

Murata Manufacturing, a Japanese electronics company, has developed a walker called KeePace that stays upright on its own. The walker uses the same sensors famously demonstrated by the company's self-balancing robots which ride bicycles and unicycles without falling over.  Read More

Scientists believe the tuna fish has a natural body framework that's tailor-made for UUV-l...

Scientists involved in robotics research are increasingly looking toward biological systems for solutions to specific challenges, and when one considers that nature has been solving problems for rather a lot longer than we humans have, this makes sense. Such is the reasoning behind BIOSwimmer: an underwater surveillance robot created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S and T) that takes its design cues from the tuna fish.  Read More

Aisoy 1 II includes a dialogue system for speech recognition and synthesis, as well as com...

Spanish start-up Aisoy Robotics is marketing a new robot that, while it may look similar to the famous Furby, is actually a fully programmable research and development platform. The Aisoy1 II robot comes with a variety of sensors (touch, light, position, temperature, and camera), microphone and speaker, a 70 mini-LED matrix display (for animated lips) and includes a dialogue system for speech recognition and synthesis, as well as computer vision software for face and object recognition, all running on the Linux operating system.  Read More

Scientists have created a solar-powered swimming underwater robot, inspired by the ocean s...

Previously, we’ve seen swimming robots inspired by the cow-nosed ray, the black ghost knife fish, and the jellyfish – to name just a few. Now, the engineers at AeroVironment have taken it upon themselves to replicate the mola (also known as the ocean sunfish), and the result is an ocean-going robot that gathers its own solar power.  Read More

The Double docks an iPad and moves it up and down

Video calling and chat services like Skype have revolutionized the way people communicate over distances. It's now possible to have face-to-face conversations with people that are halfway around the globe - something that was pure science fiction just a few decades ago. The next step appears to be enabling more natural face-to-face communications complete with movement and body language. While we wait for a practical holographic or 3D telepod system system, Double Robotics, a start-up founded last year, offers a sort of robot surrogate based around the iPad.  Read More

Face cloning: steps in modeling the digital face and the final result in silicone (Image: ...

The “uncanny valley” is one of the frustrating paradoxes of robotics. Every year, roboticists make humanoid robots that more accurately imitate human beings, but it turns out that the better the imitation, the creepier the end result. It’s that strange, hair-raising sensation one gets when visiting the Hall of Presidents at Disneyland. True, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln look very lifelike, but there’s always something wrong that you can’t quite describe. In the hope of bridging this valley, a Disney Research team in Zurich, Switzerland, has invented a new robot-making technique dubbed “face cloning.” This technique combines 3D digital scanning and advanced silicone skins to give animatronic robots more realistic facial expressions.  Read More

Robotic arms and hands on an adjustable gantry designed to simulate a UAV’s movements

UAVs have proven very successful as surveillance, intelligence-gathering and mapping craft, but their ability to interact with the ground has been largely confined to launching missiles. Now, Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is planning to endow them with arms and hands to allow them to work on such tasks as repairing infrastructure and disaster recovery while hovering near the ground.  Read More

Emma's custom 'magic arms' were created using 3D printing technology

A two year old girl born with arthrogryposis, a congenital disease that left her unable to lift her own arms, although able to walk, has been given a new lease on life by a 3D printed robotic exoskeleton, enabling her to move freely for the very first time. The exoskeleton, made of a similar material to Lego, was manufactured using a Stratasys Dimension 3D printer so as to create a prosthetic light enough for young Emma to continue walking around freely.  Read More

Stompy isn't just an overcooked fair ride though - it has practical purposes as well

Project Hexapod is aiming to make the construction of large scale robots cheaper and easier for hobbyists with Stompy - an 18 ft wide, 4,000 pound, 6-legged hydraulic robot that you can ride. The Massachusetts-based team behind the project has already made significant progress with the giant robot and are looking to raise funds to complete the ambitious build before making it "open hardware" by releasing all of the plans, diagrams and the list of materials used in the construction to anyone brave enough to build one of their own.  Read More

Zeno the humanoid robot from Hanson Robokind is all grown up and now stands 27-inches (67 ...

Back in 2007, we did a report on Zeno, a humanoid robot with a remarkable range of movement and impressive artificial intelligence that was aimed at the children’s toy market. Built by Hanson Robotics, the 17-inch (43 cm) tall robot could stand, make eye contact and had artificial intelligence software with voice recognition to enable it to engage in conversations. Projected retail price was US$300. Five years later, Hanson has released a YouTube video announcing that the latest version of Zeno is going into production, though it’s a bit taller and a lot more expensive.  Read More

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