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Robot Diaries: Volume 1


robot hand
Robot hand controlled by thought alone
(May 27, 2006)

A robotic hand controlled by the power of thought alone has been demonstrated by researchers in Japan. The robotic hand mimics the movements of a person's real hand, based on real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of their brain activity. It marks another landmark in the advance towards prosthetics and computers that can be operating by thought alone. The system was developed by Yukiyasu Kamitani and colleagues from the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, and researchers from the Honda Research Institute in Saitama.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Madeleine robotic turtle
Robo-turtle answers some flippery questions
(Apr 25, 2006)

A robotic turtle could help engineers build better autonomous underwater vehicles and answer fundamental questions about how prehistoric beasts swam. The robot, called Madeleine, is already helping researchers understand when it is best to swim with four flippers and when to use two. Madeleine is similar in size and weight to a Kemp's Ridley or Olive Ridley sea turtle, measuring 80 centimetres by 30 cm and weighing 24 kilograms. The robot also has a comparable power output, between 5 and 10 watts per kilogram, depending on how hard it is working.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

I, Robot trivia

Did you know that in the film I, Robot
Dr. Lanning's cat is named Asimov
In the display window of an antique robot store is Sony's AIBO robotic dog
The car used by Will Smith's character is a concept car called Audi RSQ, which was designed exclusively for the film
Sonny's eyes are blue, while all the other NS-5 robots' eyes are gold

Robotic 'pack mule' displays stunning reflexes
(Mar 4, 2006)

A nimble, four-legged robot is so surefooted it can recover its balance even after being given a hefty kick. The machine, which moves like a cross between a goat and a pantomime horse, is being developed as a robotic pack mule for the US military. BigDog is described by its developers Boston Dynamics as “the most advanced quadruped robot on Earth”. The company have released a new video of the robot negotiating steep slopes, crossing rocky ground and dealing with the sharp kick.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

The future of today's technology
(Feb 7, 2006)

Ian Hardy checks out the gadgets that will be making an appearance in shops in the near future. Commercial robots are becoming increasingly sophisticated Imagine it. A fold-out futon with built in iPod dock and surround-sound speakers. For $1200 (£680) Robonova-1 will come and live with you, cartwheeling the day away, along with some push-ups and back flips. This is the latest, greatest in robotics.

Read more. Source: BBC

robot Enryu
Giant robot rescues cars from deep snow
(Feb 3, 2006)

Enryu's 15-foot arms are powerful enough to lift a small passenger car, and its hands are almost as dexterous as a human being's. And the 5-ton, 11.5-foot robot may soon be helping communities across Japan reach avalanche sites and clear snow, as the nation struggles to deal with its snowiest winter in decades, said Japanese company Tmsuk Co.

Read more. Source: MSNBC/AP

Sony Aibo
What happened to the Robot Age?
(Jan 28, 2006)

Sony's decision to ditch its Aibo robotic dog, along with its entire robot development team, is a reminder that we are still a long way from the age of automated domestic servants. Architects of the Robot Age have been busy rethinking the future. In the 1980s you could hardly move for suggestions that the Robot Age was upon us.

Read more. Source: BBC

Robert the Robot Robert the Robot, a plastic and tin toy robot manufactured by the Ideal Toy Corp. of Hollis, New York, in the 1950s. Robert's movement is controlled by a remote controller that attaches to his back via a wire. Turning the crank on the controller makes him walk or back up, while squeezing the controller's trigger makes him turn right or left. His arms swing back and forth and his eyes light up. Robert also has a talking device, controlled by a crank on his back.

surgical mini-robots
Dextrous mini-robots to aid ops
(Jan 26, 2006)

Scientists are developing a new generation of dextrous mini-robots for use in minimally invasive surgery. New Scientist magazine reports that several prototypes of the radio-controlled robots are being tested in animal models. They have been used to help perform gall bladder and prostate removal in pig experiments. The University of Nebraska team believe they could potentially revolutionise minimally invasive keyhole surgery.

Read more. Source: BBC

robotic car racing
Robotic racers achieve milestone
(Oct 10, 2005)

A team from Stanford University's School of Engineering has made motoring history, winning a $2m (£1.14m) prize in the process. Its car, a Volkswagen Touareg nicknamed "Stanley", has become the first self-navigating vehicle to successfully complete the gruelling 131.6 mile (211km) cross-country Darpa Grand Challenge, a race for autonomous robot vehicles held in Nevada's Mojave desert.

Read more. Source: BBC

New breed of 'fish-bot' unveiled
(Oct 8, 2005)

The world's first autonomous robotic fish are the latest attraction at the London Aquarium. Biologically inspired by the common carp, the new designs can avoid objects and swim around a specially designed tank entirely of their own accord. This new kind of cyber-fish took three years to develop, by a team of scientists from Essex University. Future generations may be used for seabed explorations, detection of leaks in oil pipelines, or even as spies.

Read more. Source: BBC

Dartmouth College miniature robot
Dartmouth researchers build world's smallest mobile robot
(Sep 19, 2005)

In a world where "supersize" has entered the lexicon, there are some things getting smaller, like cell phones and laptops. Dartmouth researchers have contributed to the miniaturizing trend by creating the world's smallest untethered, controllable robot. Their extremely tiny machine is about as wide as a strand of human hair, and half the length of the period at the end of this sentence. About 200 of these could march in a line across the top of a plain M&M.

Read more. Source: Dartmouth College


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