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Robotics

Robotics

Bipedal robot conquers uneven ground

Getting a robot to walk is one thing, getting it to walk without tripping on the first obstacle it encounters is quite another. Engineers at the University of Michigan are developing a set of algorithms that allow an unsupported bipedal robot named MARLO to negotiate steep slopes, thin layers of snow, and uneven, unstable ground without toppling over. Designed as a general purpose robotic system, the algorithms may also have applications in advanced prosthetics.Read More

Robotics

Roach-inspired robots buddy up to climb stairs

If you've ever watched a war or adventure movie, you're well familiar with the "no man left behind" ethic. Now, thanks to an advance involving their VelociRoACH, researchers at University of California at Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab have figured out a way to create machines that will have a "no robot left behind" sense of duty – at least when it comes to climbing stairs.Read More

Medical

Robot betters expert surgeons at soft tissue stitching

In the 2012 film Prometheus, archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw seals herself in a medical pod and undergoes a robotic surgical procedure to remove an alien growing in her abdomen. While people not involved in a sci-fi universe shouldn't ever need such a procedure, robotic surgery certainly has its benefits. Working with the body's soft tissue has proved difficult, however, because of how much it can squish and change during surgery. A new machine called the Smart Tissue Automation Robot (STAR) at Johns Hopkins University has overcome this obstacle and proven its ability by operating on pigs.Read More

Space

Mouthy sea urchin inspires engineers to take a bite out of other planets

The sea urchin may be a restaurant delicacy, but it's also well equipped to satisfy its own appetite. The spiny invertebrate has a rock-crushing mouth so powerful that a herd of them can destroy a kelp forest or devastate a coral reef. Now its dinner manglers have inspired a team of engineers and marine biologists at the University of California, San Diego, to create a claw-like manipulator for robotic rovers tasked with collecting soil samples on other planets.Read More

Robotics

Big-i robot butler learns from its masters

It may look like a one-eyed trash can, but Nxrobo calls its Big-i a "personal robot butler." Combining the features of domestic robot, home automation, and personal assistant that learns and adapts to its owner's behavior, the multi-function automaton was recently unveiled at Pepcom DigitalFocus in New York by its inventor, Dr Tin Lun Lam.Read More

Robotics

Cheaper, transparent smart skin powers itself

Flexible, wearable sensors open the door for everything from more effective health monitoring to robots with a sense of touch that can respond to stimuli like humans. While numerous electronic skin technologies have been developed, getting costs down has remained a problem. A Chinese team of scientists has now developed a new transparent smart skin that they claim is not only cheaper to produce, but is also able to harvest mechanical energy to power itself from movement.Read More

Robotics

Hitachi robot can lend shoppers a helping hand

Hitachi has unveiled the latest iteration of its humanoid customer service robot. Designed to identify and assist customers who look like they need help, EMIEW3 can pass sales information on to other robots, and even stand up if it's knocked over in the hustle and bustle of a sales environment. Read More

3D Printing

Cocooning caterpillars inspire new 3D printer design

As with its SmartBird, BionicKangaroo and robotic ants, Festo's Bionic Learning Network has once again looked to the natural world for inspiration during the development of a new 3D printing solution. Rather than gradually forming an object layer by layer like a desktop extruder, the 3D Cocooner works more like a sophisticated robotic version of a CreoPop 3D printing pen, hardening the printed material with UV light as the structure is formed. Objects are created in a similar fashion to a spider spinning its web or a caterpillar making its cocoon, resulting in complex, free-standing, three-dimensional lattice structures.Read More

Robotics

Scorpion Hexapod has a sting in its tail

Students from Ghent University in Belgium have developed a six-legged floor crawler that's sure to leave its mark on those it comes into contact with. The Scorpion Hexapod, which wouldn't look too out of place in the robotic menagerie of German automation technology company Festo, fires its stinger at the hand of anyone covering its eyes, leaving a red mark as a reminder of the encounter.Read More

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