Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Robots

New components and techniques could allow robots to self-assemble when heated (Photo: MIT)

Lots of people make their own robots, and in all sorts of ways, but have you ever heard of anyone baking one in an oven? Researchers at MIT have demonstrated how to create self-assembling bodies that fold together when baked, as well as showing how a similar technique can be used to generate electronic components to control them.  Read More

Intel has announced that its 3D printed Jimmy robot will be available to consumers later t...

At the Code Conference in California this week, Intel revealed that its 3D-printed Jimmy Research Robot, which debuted at Maker Faire NYC last year, will be available through its 21st Century Robot Project later this year. Users will be able to download the files required for printing.  Read More

Reconfigurable Roombot modules can attach to existing furniture, or rearrange themselves t...

Envision small robotic modules, lifting the lid of a storage box, spilling out, rearranging themselves to be the box's legs and transporting it to where you might be seated. That's exactly what Swiss researchers are aiming to create with Roombots, reconfigurable robotic modules that connect to each other to transform themselves into any type of furniture and change shape when needed (from a chair to a table, for example). Designed to help the disabled or elderly, by morphing to suit their needs, the adaptive robotic furniture modules can even be attached to existing furniture to give greater flexibility and the power to move.  Read More

Researchers are exploring how they might create robots endowed with their own sense of mor...

A group of researchers from Tufts University, Brown University and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are collaborating with the US Navy in a multi-year effort to explore how they might create robots endowed with their own sense of morality. If they are successful, they will create an artificial intelligence able to autonomously assess a difficult situation and then make complex ethical decisions that can override the rigid instructions it was given.  Read More

How a snake-like robot developed by Fraunhofer winds its way through the narrow openings i...

Although modern jet airliners may be at the cutting edge of technology, assembling them is, in many ways, still as much of a craft as 18th century shipbuilding, requiring loads of skill and manual labor to get the job done. The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (IWU) in Chemnitz, Germany wants to bring airplane construction into the 21st century with a snake-like robot that can assemble airplane wings by reaching into narrow, hard to reach cavities.  Read More

One of the 3D spec-wearing mantises, which probably isn't actually smiling

Although us humans take 3D vision for granted, it's not a standard feature throughout the animal kingdom. In fact, praying mantises are the only invertebrates known to possess it – a fact which makes them excellent hunters. Scientists at Britain's Newcastle University are now studying the insects' ability to see in 3D, to determine if it could be copied in human technologies such as robot vision systems. As part of that study, they're equipping mantises with the smallest pairs of 3D glasses ever made.  Read More

Zuta Labs has created a mini robotic portable printer

A portable robotic printer that works by traveling across the surface of a piece of paper is well on its way to reaching its US$400,000 Kickstarter target. Designed by Israel's Zuta Labs, the device is intended to provide users with a means of printing on the go.  Read More

Accomplice is an artwork in which artificially intelligent robots gradually destroy a wall

Generally speaking, we use robots to help us build or create things. An artwork on display at the UK's Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), however, does quite the opposite. Accomplice comprises a number of robots systematically destroying a gallery wall.  Read More

The panels at the Ketura Sun solar plant in Israel are now cleaned autonomously by E4 robo...

The dusty desert environments where many solar plants are located can make their photovoltaic arrays dirty and reduce their effectiveness. Cleaning the panels can be a time-consuming and expensive process. An Israeli solar plant is now said to be the first to have fully-automated cleaning in place.  Read More

The Cubestormer 3 robot used ARM technology to set the new record

A specially designed robot known as Cubestormer 3 has been used to break the world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube. The robot, which broke the previous record by more than two seconds, is powered by an octa-core Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.  Read More

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