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Robots

If there's one job that a person would probably prefer to lose to a robot, it would be fighting fires aboard ships. To help make such a vision a reality, the US Navy and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) released details of demonstration exercises conducted by their Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) aboard the fire training ship USS Shadwell last November. Read More
Robots and other mechanical beings are cropping up in the most unexpected places. Case in point: Pay a visit to the Institute for Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and you'll find yourself greeted in the lobby by a human mechanical surrogate. Operated by a human in a remote location, the surrogate is not intended to put Walmart greeters out of a job, but is part of a program by the Office of naval research (ONR) to create robots, avatars, and animatronic surrogates for military training. Read More
Like a teenager going off to college, DARPA's Atlas robot has cut the tether and is walking on its own without a safety line. The centerpiece of this year's DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), the upgraded Atlas robot was unveiled to the competing teams in Waltham, Massachusetts last week during a technical shakeout. Read More
Six and a half years after the previous iteration, the Fraunhofer Institute has released an update to Care-o-bot. The affordable service robot for personal and professional use has been made it more agile, more modular and much more personable ,  bringing science fiction fantasy a little closer to reality. Read More
Meccano is one of those toys with a very strong nostalgia element, involving memories of hours spent bolting together a toy wheelbarrow or a coffee table-size Forth Bridge. But 21st century kids relate more to smartphones than traveling cranes, so Meccano has come up with its Meccanoid G15 KS – a kit robot that can be programmed using motion capture. Read More
The robot revolution continues at NASA this month as its Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia prepares to bring its Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISAAC) robot online. One of only three robots like it in the world, it will be formally commissioned on January 26 before being put to work making lighter, stronger composite components for aerospace vehicles. Read More
Building and playing with robots can be a whole lot of fun for kids of all ages, but making the robot do your bidding by creating lines and lines of code can be a bit, well, dull. Wigl takes a different approach. Rather than generate commands using a smartphone or computer, young programmers just need to pick up an instrument and hit the right note. The little bot then responds with bustin' moves, flashing lights or special dances. Read More
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has created a new robot that has six legs, looks creepily like a spider when it walks, and is dubbed "Snake Monster". Not exactly endearing traits, but the Snake Monster isn’t designed to win any popularity contests. It has been created as an easily reconfigurable platform using a modular system architecture that may be easily programmed to govern robots with a varied array of configurations. Read More
Space may be vast, but the planets can be pretty cramped – especially when it comes to volcanoes. This is unfortunate because the difficult to navigate fissures that are a major volcanic feature contain clues as to the interior of planets and moons and the mechanisms that formed them. To help learn more, NASA is dropping miniature robots down crevices inaccessible to humans as a way of extracting information about volcanoes on and off the Earth. Read More
Cooking, they say, is as much an art as a science, so it's no surprise that robots have a difficult time in the kitchen. Perhaps one day robot chefs will be as commonplace as blenders, but they will still need to learn their job. To help them, scientists at the University of Maryland and NICTA, Australia are working on ways for robots to learn how to cook by watching YouTube videos. Read More
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