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Robotics

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

Test subjects ride the Toyota Winglet personal mobility robot on public sidewalks and road...

Toyota is taking to the public sidewalks of Japan with the Winglet, its two-wheeled personal mobility robot that looks like a miniature Segway. The trial, designed to test the Winglet's safety and practicality in the real world, takes place in Tsukuba city's Mobility Robot Experimental Zone, an area designated for just this type of thing. The move points to a possible commercialization of the robot in the future, which has been demonstrated only as a concept thus far.  Read More

The tick rover drags an insecticide-laced cloth behind it (Photo: VMI Photos by John Rober...

It's summertime in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means the bugs are out – specifically, ticks. In light of the ensuing infestation, otherwise known as the annual repopulation, three professors at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) have crossed the business of pest control with the world of robotics by last month testing their robotic "tick rover" to determine its efficiency at removing the blood suckers from the yard.  Read More

Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory is developing 2D objects that can give themselves an extr...

Sure, flat-pack furniture is inexpensive and easy to transport, but when you open the box the first question almost everyone asks is, “Wouldn't it be great if it would assemble itself?” You could get a robot to help, but engineers at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory are working on ways to get objects to assemble themselves ... and they might give 3D printing a run for its money at the same time.  Read More

An incredibly detailed ink sketch of a bird by the robot artist eDavid

The line between art and technology isn't just being blurred, it's being erased altogether. Painting and sketching from photographs and life, for example, is a technique that is now being mastered by robots. The latest, called eDavid, combines a camera, computer vision software, and a standard welding robot arm to skillfully recreate (in a variety of styles no less) any image you feed its software. It seems that even art, a cornerstone of human ingenuity since the dawn of man, isn't safe from a robot takeover.  Read More

An incomplete version of the ATLAS robot maintains its balance even when hit with a 20 lb ...

DARPA has revealed the completed ATLAS humanoid robot, which is to star in the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) – and it cuts a striking figure. Designed by Boston Dynamics (the guys behind the BigDog, Cheetah, and LS3 quadrupeds), it's being given to the top teams that recently competed in the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC). Now those teams have less than six months to fine tune their software with the real robot before they face the first of two live challenges.  Read More

The Next-Generation Canadarm (NGC) facility provides a suite of robotic systems with the c...

The Space Shuttle may be gone, but one part of it is still going strong. The Canadian-built Canadarm robotic arm first flew on the Shuttle in 1981 and its successor, Canadarm2, is still working on the International Space Station (ISS) helping with experiments, supporting space-walking astronauts, and aiding unmanned cargo ships to dock. Not content to rest on its laurels, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is working on the Next Generation Canadarm (NGC). More flexible and compact than its predecessor, it’s part of a new 5-part system designed to fulfill the need for robotic arms to help with satellite repair and refueling.  Read More

A school girl wearing Sagawa Electronics' Power Jacket MK3 stands above a grown man

In recent years Japan has erected life-sized statues of giant robots like Tetsujin-28 go (Gigantor) and a Gundam mobile suit, but statues can't defend the island nation from kaiju attack. Perhaps that is why Sagawa Electronics is bridging the gap between fantasy and reality with a working robotic exoskeleton it calls the Power Jacket MK3 that mimics your every move. And it says it will produce up to five of them for about US$123,000 apiece.  Read More

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