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Robotics

Robotics

Golf ball-gathering Ball Picker robot is like a Roomba for the range

Roaming around a driving range retrieving the endless scattering of golf balls is a pretty tall order for staff, especially when you consider the bays full of weekend hackers taking aim at their caged buggies. But one company is looking to give golfers a smaller moving target to aim at. The Ball Picker robot autonomously scoots around sucking up golf balls and returns them to a ball dispenser to be teed up once again.Read More

Robotics

NASA sends humanoid robots to university

If one thing has been learned in the last half century, it's that sending astronauts into the harsh, unforgiving environment of space is both dangerous and expensive. To find a way to minimize risk and cost, NASA is sending a pair of prototype humanoid robots back to school. The space agency is giving two R5 "Valkyrie" robots to university groups at MIT and Northeastern University for advanced research and development of robotic astronauts that could act as vanguards for manned missions or as assistants for humans traveling to Mars.Read More

Robotics

Row-bot cleans dirty water and powers itself by eating microbes

Inspired by the water boatman bug, a team at the University of Bristol has created the Row-bot, a robot prototype that is designed to punt itself across the top of the water in dirty ponds or lakes, and "eat" the microbes it scoops up. It then breaks these down in its artificial stomach to create energy to power itself. In this way, it generates enough power to continuously impel itself about to seek out more bacteria to feed upon.Read More

Automotive

Toyota Research Institute to further AI and robotics research

Committing US$1 billion over the next five years, Toyota Motor Corporation has announced the establishment of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a research and development center initially focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. The company is tasked with developing technologies to increase driving safety and improve mobility and quality of life, particularly for the elderly..Read More

Automotive

Ford makes robotic test driving tech available to other automakers

In 2013, Ford revealed a robotic test driving technology designed to spare human drivers the ordeal of on- and off-road vehicle durability testing. This autonomous system wasn't intended for inclusion in production vehicles, but for closed proving grounds where manufacturers subject their vehicles to high stress to simulate years of tough use in the real world. Ford has partnered with Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) to continue development of the technology, which it is now licensing to other automakers.Read More

Medical

Fraunhofer device could be a surgeon's third arm

Being a surgeon is a pretty high-stress job, and relies heavily on surgical assistants for things like setting clamps and holding tools. Researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute are looking to lighten the load a little, by developing a metal hand that lets surgeons more directly control what's happening on the operating table.Read More

Robotics

Robots with "eyes" in their hands may prove more dextrous than others

When we think of robots, we all too often anthropomorphize them by giving them eyes in their heads, fingers on their hands, and toes on their feet. But just because this is the way humans evolved doesn’t make it ideal. Robots with eyes where they need them most, for example, could be much more efficient than just having them restricted to one place. In this vein, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) recently developed a tri-fingered robotic hand with numerous inbuilt optical detectors to act as adjunct sensors. At the same time, they also fashioned a new type of stretchable optical sensor to accompany such devices.Read More

Drones

Drones autonomously build a walkable rope bridge

As we learned earlier this year, researchers at ETH Zürich's institute for Dynamic Systems and Control are looking at ways in which flying construction robots can be programmed to autonomously build tensile structures. Now it appears they've taken a significant step forward. Literally. The team has demonstrated a rope bridge built by drones that can support the weight of an adult human as they walk across it.Read More

Robotics

"Autobiographical memory" lets robots act as knowledge go-betweens for ISS crews

Anyone who's had to take on job responsibilities from someone who left the company months ago will appreciate this robotic system designed with the International Space Station (ISS) in mind. With the design challenge of retaining important experiential information between rotating crews of astronauts, French researchers used the popular Nao robot to form an "autobiographical memory" of human interactions and pass on the know-how to new crew members.Read More

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