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Robots

Robotics

Robo Wunderkind is a modular robot even a five-year-old can program

Minecraft has partly replaced Lego bricks as a creative platform for young tinkerers, but while it is a fantastic avenue for training computer and block-building skills, Mojang's hit videogame also does little to improve handcrafting. Robo Wunderkind, from the German "wonder child," is a modular toy that promises to marry the old with the new by letting even the youngest hands and minds (aged five and up) build and program their own robot creations.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

Robotics

Painting robot controlled entirely by a look

It's no Michelangelo, but a robotic arm wielding a brush has completed a multi-colored oil painting at the behest of nothing other than human eyes. The system has been developed as engineers search for intuitive means of controlling robotic limbs, demonstrating how one day we might be able to wash the dishes while playing video games at the same time.Read More

Robotics

Volvo's robots will quietly pick up and empty your garbage bin

Volvo has announced a collaboration with companies and universities in Sweden and the US on ROAR (Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling). The project aims to build robots that will assist garbage truck operators by doing all the heavy lifting for them, picking up and emptying refuse bins autonomously (under the driver's supervision) and as quietly as possible.Read More

Space

Spiky Hedgehog robots to hop around asteroids and comets

As demonstrated by the bumpy landing of ESA's Philae lander on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, exploring comets, asteroids, and small moons can be difficult due to their low gravity. Not only can landing on one be like trying to alight on a trampoline, but roving around their surfaces is next to impossible because the negligible gravity offers practically no traction. To overcome this, a team of engineers is developing Hedgehog, a completely symmetrical robot rover for low-gravity exploration that moves by hopping.Read More

Around The Home

Neato's robot vacuum cleaner joins the Internet of Things

We first came across Neato Robotics' XV-11 robot vacuum cleaner at CES 2010, and the company has been rolling out additions to its lineup ever since, introducing the "pet-strength" XV-21 in 2012, its Signature Series in 2013 and the Botvac line in 2014. At IFA, Neato is showing the latest dust-sucker to join its Botvac team. The Botvac Connected, as the name suggests, packs Wi-Fi connectivity for control from a user's smartphone.Read More

Robotics

Smooth-moving robots cut energy consumption

With their precise mechanical movements, robots seem like the most efficient of workers, but they can actually waste a good deal of energy. Chalmers University of Technology is developing a new optimization tool that acts like an efficiency expert for industrial robots by smoothing their movements to reduce their energy consumption by as much as 40 percent.Read More

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