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This robotic leaf fish may not look scary to you, but then you're not a zebrafish

With some help from a robotic fish, scientists have discovered that zebrafish are much like humans in at least one way – they get reckless when they get drunk. OK, “drunk” might not be technically accurate, but when exposed to alcohol, the fish show no fear of a robotic version of one of their natural predators, the Indian leaf fish. When they’re “sober,” they avoid the thing like crazy. The researchers believe that the experiments indicate a promising future for robots in behavioral studies.  Read More

The Italian Institute of Technology's HyQ quadruped robot steps over an unseen obstacle au...

Similar in size to Boston Dynamics' BigDog, the HyQ hydraulically-actuated quadruped robot can walk, trot, kick, and jump, but its reflexes need an upgrade before it can move from flat ground to more challenging terrain. To that end, researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology's (IIT) have developed an animal-like step reflex algorithm that quickly detects when the robot's feet run into obstacles, preventing trips and falls.  Read More

When hexapods become pentapods

What good is a robot if, when left to its own devices, it breaks down at the first sign of trouble? What if that robot has been sent off to some inhospitable place where rescue is impossible, much less repair. Robots on the cutting edge are expensive things, so the ability to self-repair could be extremely valuable. But if it can't self-repair, the ability to simply make do would be rather useful too. That's the thinking behind this hexapod robot which can work out how best to adjust its gait in the unfortunate event that it loses a leg.  Read More

The first prototype

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a remarkable drone aircraft that can also walk on land using only its wings for locomotion. Named DALER, a backronym standing for Deployable Air Land Exploration Robot, the robot is named after creator Ludovic Daler of the EPFL's Laboratory of Intelligent Systems.  Read More

X-RHex-Light shows off its obstacle beating agility

Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible. It's a challenge for humans, so how would robots fare? In an effort to push the boundaries of robotic agility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to find out by teaching their RHex robot some Parkour moves.  Read More

Kawasaki Heavy Industries' MSR05 arm at Interphex Japan

If you were designing a robotic arm for use in pharmaceutical research, you’d want to make it easy to sterilize between uses. That’s why Kawasaki Heavy Industries has encased its snazzy-looking new MSR05 arm entirely in stainless steel.  Read More

With Disney Research's new software, even complex movements like four-legged walking can b...

Mechanized characters, such as clockwork automatons that move using a series of gears, go back hundreds of years. Now the most difficult aspect of their mechanical design, which took specialized engineering skill and lots of trial and error, has largely been eliminated by a pair of new software tools developed by Disney Research labs in Zürich and Boston, and labs at ETH Zürich and MIT. They're being presented this week at ACM SIGGRAPH 2013, the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.  Read More

The interactive electronic skin developed at UC Berkeley (Photo: Ali Javey/Chuan Wang, Ber...

The stereotype of the clumsy robot may soon become a thing of the past thanks to ongoing research at the University of California, Berkeley, where a team of engineers has created a thin and interactive sensor network that can be layered onto the surfaces of virtually any shape. The device gives out immediate feedback via an LED light when touched, and could be used to create smart bandages that monitor vitals in a patient in real time, wallpapers that act as touchscreens, or even to give humanoid robots that elusive "human touch."  Read More

As the united band of robots hovers and climbs off the ground, each robot module is using ...

Researchers at ETH Zurich have demonstrated an amazing capability for small robots to self-assemble and take to the air as a multi-rotor helicopter. Maximilian Kriegleder and Raymond Oung worked with Professor Raffaello D’Andrea at his research lab to develop the small hexagonal pods that assemble into flying rafts. The true accomplishment of this research is that there is not one robot in control – each unit in itself decides what actions to take to keep the group in the air in what's known as Distributed Flight Array.  Read More

The WaterColorBot painter

Robots are already starting to make a mark on the adult art world with automated machines like the eDavid, which creates stunning painting in a variety of styles. But what about works at the other end of the artistic spectrum, like children's watercolors? Thanks to an invention from a 12 year-old, even young children can soon use robotics to make their own artwork. The WaterColorBot paints colorful pictures on paper based on existing graphics or follows along with users as they draw on a computer.  Read More

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