2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show


Rear view of a simulated ATLAS robot preparing to drive a utility vehicle as part of DARPA...

DARPA has announced the nine winners of its Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC). The VRC, which ran from the 17th to the 21st of this month, was the first of three events that make up the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) and tasked the 26 competing teams with developing software that would enable a disaster response robot to quickly and successfully perform three tasks that it would likely encounter in a disaster zone.  Read More

DFKI's iStruct is an ape-like robot that was developed with funding from the German Aerosp...

If you thought the monkey-like robot AMEE seen in the Val Kilmer sci-fi flick Red Planet was a tad far-fetched, think again. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen are working on an ape-like robot called the iStruct Demonstrator that it classifies as a "Space Robot." Lately the mechanical monkey has been practicing how to walk and balance in the center's mock lunar landscape.  Read More

At US$354, RAPIRO is a fraction the cost of other hobby robot kits

Have you been reading Gizmag's robot articles and ever thought you'd like to get your hands dirty with a robot of your own? Well, there's a Kickstarter for that. Shota Ishiwatari has just launched RAPIRO, his custom designed Raspberry Pi Robot. The robot is easy to assemble, and comes with RGB LEDs, 12 servos, and an Arduino-compatible servo control board. And the best part is it will only set you back £229 (US$354).  Read More

The Bimanual Dexterous Robotics Platform equipped with Modular Prosthetic Limbs (both deve...

A new bomb disposal robot developed at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is blurring the line between advanced prosthetics and robotics. Rather than building arms and hands from scratch specifically for the robot, the Bimanual Dexterous Robotics Platform (BDRP) is equipped with artificial limbs designed for amputees. The combination is relatively unique, and provided the team with a secondary use for the Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) it developed for the DARPA Revolutionizing Prosthetics program.  Read More

Robot Zoë in the Atacama Desert where it will test technologies and techniques to search f...

Scientists looking for life on Mars are studying the driest desert on Earth. This month, Carnegie Mellon University's Zoë robot will traverse Chile’s near-uninhabitable Atacama Desert as part of an astrobiology experiment aimed at testing technologies and techniques for NASA’s next rover to search for life on Mars at the end of the decade.  Read More

Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot ATLAS attempts to put a power drill into a bin in simulati...

Teams vying for a spot in the historic DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) must first prove themselves in the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) later this month. The VRC digitally simulates the physical challenges slated to take place at the tail end of the year, where real robots will get down and dirty for the first time. A total of 26 teams qualified to take part in the VRC, but only eight of them will earn the privilege of working with their very own ATLAS humanoid. Others will participate with their own unique robots.  Read More

The Charlotte hexapod robot

There are robots that walk around like spiders, there are robots that avoid objects, and there are robots that talk, but what about a robot spider that talks while avoiding objects? Hobbyist Kevin Ochs’ creation, Charlotte, is just that. Charlotte is a hexapod robot with a talking head that lets it narrate its progress as it avoids collisions.  Read More

A finger on the hydrogel hand bends in response to near-infrared laser light

For many people, the word “robot” is likely to conjure up images of metal, mechanical men not unlike Cygan. But instead of creating robots in our own image, the relatively new field of “soft robotics” takes inspiration from creatures such as octopuses, squids, starfish and caterpillars for soft, flexible robots that could squeeze through small spaces. Such robots could benefit from a new hydrogel developed at the University of California, Berkeley that flexes in response to light.  Read More

The anticipatory robot pouring beer

What’s better than as robot bartender that can pour you a beer? How about a robot waiter that can see you need a refill and comes over to pour you another one. Hema S. Koppula, a Cornell graduate student in computer science, and Ashutosh Saxena, an assistant professor of computer science are working at Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab on just such a robot. Using a PR-2 robot, they've programmed it to not only carry out everyday tasks, but to anticipate human behavior and adjust its actions.  Read More

UPenn's XRL robot jumping and grabbing the edge of a cliff five times its own height (Phot...

Most land-dwelling animals with skeletons (exo or endo) have the ability to jump. It is of particular importance to survival, as running primarily consists of a long series of jumps. Without the ability to jump, a robot's freedom to move around is limited, something that is particularly true of smaller robots for which even relatively narrow trenches or low walls can prove too much of an obstacle. A robotics group at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has taught a six-legged crawling robot to jump, giving it remarkable acrobatic capabilities.  Read More

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