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Robotics

Briggo's Coffee Haus is now in use at the University of Texas at Austin

Do you like visiting with that cute barista at the local coffee shop? Well, she/he may be on their way to being replaced by a machine ... maybe. This July, Texas-based company Briggo announced the installation of its first "intelligent" Coffee Haus on the University of Texas at Austin campus. The machine grinds and brews espressos, mochas and other specialty coffees on the spot, to the exact specifications of the customer.  Read More

M-Blocks are able to roll, jump and join together (Photo: MIT)

Imagine if an army of completely flat-faced cubes could roll around and even jump on their own, joining with one another to form a variety of large-scale structures. Well, that's exactly what a team of robotics researchers at MIT are trying to turn into a reality – and they've already developed the cubes that could do it.  Read More

A sketch from the book 21st Century Robot which is being used as a vehicle for the open-so...

Intel's Futurist and Director of Future Casting, Brian David Johnson, was at this week's Maker Faire in New York City to introduce an open source, 3D printed companion robot called Jimmie.  Read More

Robots with artificial muscles would have superhuman strength (Image: Shutterstock)

It's a classic science fiction scene: an android is injured and its human-like exterior is laid bare to reveal the metallic gears and cables of its true mechanical nature. The future is, unsurprisingly, not likely to match this scenario as our ability to mimic biology with innovations like artificial muscles improves. The latest breakthrough in this field comes from the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Engineering where researchers have developed a “robotic” muscle that extends like real muscle tissue to five times its original length, has the potential to lift 80 times its own weight and holds out the promise of smaller, stronger robots capable of more refined movements.  Read More

Easton LaChappelle demonstrates his prosthetic arm to President Barack Obama at the third ...

Advanced prosthetics have come a long way in the last few years, but the costs have also skyrocketed. A cheaper alternative may be on its way thanks to Easton LaChappelle, a 17-year old high school student from Colorado, who is using free online resources and the boom in inexpensive 3D printers to develop a functional prosthetic arm and hand. His projects have already earned him an invitation to the White House, and he's now working at NASA on the Robonaut team.  Read More

The Tsinghua University (Beijing) successfully completed the 2013 IARC Mission Six (Photo:...

For the past 23 years, the International Aerial Robotics Competition has challenged college teams with missions requiring complex autonomous robotic behaviors that are often beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated military robots. This year's competition, which was held in China and the United States over the past week, saw the team from Tsinghua University in Beijing successfully complete the current mission – an elaborate espionage operation known as Mission Six that was first proposed in 2010.  Read More

Students at UC Berkeley have developed the STAR, a 3D-printed robot that flattens its legs...

Nature has been the source of inspiration for a variety of different forms of robotic locomotion. Yet another example is the STAR, a 3D-printed robot modeled after an insect's ability to squeeze into even the tiniest spaces. Developed by students at UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab the STAR, which stands for Sprawl Tuned Autonomous Robot, is able to flatten its legs down to slip under a small gap and then raise them up again to climb over larger obstacles.  Read More

The Italian Institute of Technology's HyQ quadruped robot steps over an unseen obstacle au...

Similar in size to Boston Dynamics' BigDog, the HyQ hydraulically-actuated quadruped robot can walk, trot, kick, and jump, but its reflexes need an upgrade before it can move from flat ground to more challenging terrain. To that end, researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology's (IIT) have developed an animal-like step reflex algorithm that quickly detects when the robot's feet run into obstacles, preventing trips and falls.  Read More

When hexapods become pentapods

What good is a robot if, when left to its own devices, it breaks down at the first sign of trouble? What if that robot has been sent off to some inhospitable place where rescue is impossible, much less repair. Robots on the cutting edge are expensive things, so the ability to self-repair could be extremely valuable. But if it can't self-repair, the ability to simply make do would be rather useful too. That's the thinking behind this hexapod robot which can work out how best to adjust its gait in the unfortunate event that it loses a leg.  Read More

A six-axes robotic arm allows the printer to follow 3D vector-based toolpaths

The additive layer process of conventional 3D printers means they are usually limited to bottom up fabrication on three axes. The Mataerial printer managed to defy gravity by using a quick-solidifying print material, but now the LA-based NSTRMNT team led by Brian Harms, a Masters student at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, has created a 3D printing process called suspended disposition that gets around gravity by printing objects within a gel. Not only does this allow freeform additive fabrication on six axes, it also enables an "undo" function.  Read More

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