Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Robots

While traveling in a 'swarm,' as the developers are calling it, the robots will wirelessly...

Over the past few years, jellyfish populations along South Korea's coastline have risen to the point where they are adversely affecting the fish populations and marine industries in the area, costing the country over 3 billion won (about US$2.8 million) each year. A team led by Associate Professor Hyun Myung of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology however may have a solution with the JEROS (Jellyfish Elimination RObotic Swarm), a series of autonomous robots that work together to track down jellyfish in the ocean and grind them into a fine pulp.  Read More

Unlike Cheetah, WildCat has to balance itself without the aid of a stabilizing boom arm an...

Boston Dynamics, the company behind DARPA's most advanced legged robots such as PETMAN, BigDog, and Atlas, has unveiled the free-roaming version of their sprinting robot Cheetah. The new robot is called WildCat, and it's already galloping at speeds up to 16 mph (25.7 km/h) on flat ground. You don't want to miss the video tucked after the break.  Read More

This UAV competes in Eurathlon, a mock disaster-response competition for robots

Roboticists are competing in Europe this week to prove their superiority at bomb disposal and other dangerous tasks, but the teams are not comprised of military or emergency response personnel. Instead, unmanned autonomous vehicles and their human operators have gathered in Berchtesgaden, Germany at the first ever Eurathlon, a competition and convention designed to push innovation in smart robots that perform tasks that are too risky for humans.  Read More

Jobs involving cognitive tasks are among those under threat, according to the study (Photo...

Almost 47 percent of US jobs could be computerized within one or two decades according to a recent study that attempts to gauge the growing impact of computers on the job market. It isn't only manual labor jobs that could be affected: The study reveals a trend of computers taking over many cognitive tasks thanks to the availability of big data. It suggests two waves of computerization, with the first substituting computers for people in logistics, transportation, administrative and office support and the second affecting jobs depending on how well engineers crack computing problems associated with human perception, creative and social intelligence.

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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

James serving a customer

Meet James. He’s a barman with a cheery disposition, is quick with your order, and doesn't tolerate queue jumping. He’s also a one-armed robot with a tablet for a head. But the really curious thing about James is that he can read your body language to find out whether or not you want to order a drink.  Read More

Artist's impression of a robot snake and a rover on Mars (Image: James Steidl/Shutterstock...

Mars is essentially one big desert, and what do you tend to find in deserts? Snakes. There’s a reason for this, so the European Space Agency-funded SERPEX project is conducting a feasibility study on how robot snakes could one day be used to explore the Red Planet.  Read More

MIT's new digital material allows the assembly of huge structures like towers, spacecraft ...

MIT researchers have invented a new digital material with a block-like design which could allow the assembly of huge structures like towers, spacecraft and airplanes – simply by snapping blocks together. Parts 10 times stiffer than existing ultralight materials can be assembled instead of engineered, by small robots crawling over the structure adding pieces of material bit by bit. Not only does the tinkertoy-like block construction method enable any structure to be assembled and disassembled easily, it's also possible to recycle them into entirely new configurations.  Read More

Tradinno is the star of Germany's oldest folk play

St. George is famous for slaying a dragon, but he’d have a real challenge on his hands if he showed up today in Furth im Wald, Germany. There he’d discover the streets of this town of 9,000 being stalked by an 11-ton fire-breathing dragon with a steel skeleton and a diesel engine for a heart. Built by Zollner Elektronik AG, the robotic monster is the star of Germany’s oldest folk play and, according to the 2014 edition of the Guinness World Records book, the world's largest four-legged walking robot.  Read More

The Hydra System is composed of several parts: the delivery system, shelters that may rest...

DARPA has floated a fascinating new unmanned systems project that would see undersea motherships launching smaller submarines and flying vehicles to conduct pop-up surveillance on pirates, terrorists and hijackers. The Hydra Project, named after the Greek legend of the multi-headed snake that grew two new heads whenever one was cut off, looks to provide low cost response to quickly changing situations on or near the water.  Read More

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