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Robotics

Like a teenager going off to college, DARPA's Atlas robot has cut the tether and is walking on its own without a safety line. The centerpiece of this year's DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), the upgraded Atlas robot was unveiled to the competing teams in Waltham, Massachusetts last week during a technical shakeout. Read More
Six and a half years after the previous iteration, the Fraunhofer Institute has released an update to Care-o-bot. The affordable service robot for personal and professional use has been made it more agile, more modular and much more personable ,  bringing science fiction fantasy a little closer to reality. Read More
The robot revolution continues at NASA this month as its Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia prepares to bring its Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISAAC) robot online. One of only three robots like it in the world, it will be formally commissioned on January 26 before being put to work making lighter, stronger composite components for aerospace vehicles. Read More
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has created a new robot that has six legs, looks creepily like a spider when it walks, and is dubbed "Snake Monster". Not exactly endearing traits, but the Snake Monster isn’t designed to win any popularity contests. It has been created as an easily reconfigurable platform using a modular system architecture that may be easily programmed to govern robots with a varied array of configurations. Read More
Space may be vast, but the planets can be pretty cramped – especially when it comes to volcanoes. This is unfortunate because the difficult to navigate fissures that are a major volcanic feature contain clues as to the interior of planets and moons and the mechanisms that formed them. To help learn more, NASA is dropping miniature robots down crevices inaccessible to humans as a way of extracting information about volcanoes on and off the Earth. Read More
It may look like the ultimate gaming joystick, but its purpose is very serious. On the International Space Station, astronauts recently finished putting the European Space Agency's (ESA) Haptics-1 joystick through its paces. The purpose of the first force-reflecting joystick in space is to improve how robots and humans interact in weightlessness. Read More
Bigger may be better, but better isn't always better. In October, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California unveiled a new and improved version of its RoboSimian robot. Called Surrogate, it has many advantages over its predecessor, but it's RoboSimian that is going to next year's DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals. Read More
Carnegie Mellon University has unveiled Andy, a four-wheeled unmanned rover designed to explore the rough terrain and recently discovered pits of the Moon. Developed in cooperation with Pittsburgh's Astrobotic Technology, the solar powered robot is CMU's entry for the US$20 million-plus Google Lunar XPrize, and may one day help pave the way toward permanent outposts on the Moon. Read More
A couple of years ago, we first heard about the SoloShot. It's a robotic device that sits between a video camera and a tripod, automatically panning the camera to keep the surfing, skiing, etc subject centered in the shot. The idea is that you can get video of yourself doin' your thing, without calling upon someone else to act as a videographer. The SoloShot2 takes things a step further, most notably by also tilting the camera. Read More

Most cats enjoy a good hunt, but your average cat toys pale in comparison to stalking real prey, as they're too predictable and don't react to an attack. The creators behind Mousr reckon their robotic cat toy is the most engaging cat toy ever made, as it reacts to a cat's attack and can intelligently avoid obstacles. Read More