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Robot Diaries: Volume 2


adaptive walking robot
Thoughtful robot adapts to injury
(Nov 19, 2006)

When an animal sprains its ankle, it starts to limp. And now, a robot with a similar adaptive ability has been created in the laboratory. If one of the robot's legs is shortened, for instance, it works out how to carry on walking by modelling its movements in software.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

seven-ton robot designed to prevent landslides
Robot menagerie
(Nov 6, 2006)

Japan is at the forefront of robotics research. Engineers in the country have created hundreds of robots for everything from entertainment to mine clearance. One of the pioneers of robotics in Japan is Professor Shigeo Hirose at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He has been working in robotics for 35 years. His lab is crammed with prototypes and designs for robots that can walk, crawl, swim and jump.

Read more. Source: BBC

Raw output of the retina chip
Silicon retina mimics biology for a clearer view
(Oct 20, 2006)

A silicon chip that faithfully mimics the neural circuitry of a real retina could lead to better bionic eyes for those with vision loss, researchers claim. About 700,000 people in the developed world are diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration each year, and 1.5 million people worldwide suffer from a disease called retinitis pigmentosa. In both of these diseases, retinal cells, which convert light into nerve impulses at the back of the eye, gradually die.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

snake-arm robot
Snake-arm robots slither forward
(Sep 13, 2006)

Engineers examining the Ringhals 1 nuclear power plant in the summer of 2003 discovered a leak in a critical pipe deep beneath the reactor core. The pipe was part of the reactor's safety control rod mechanism,activated during a reactor shut-down. Left unchecked the fault could jeopardise the safe operation of the Swedish power plant or even shut it down for good.

Read more. Source: BBC

Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

'Robo-sommelier' offers wine tips
(Sep 5, 2006)

A wine-tasting robot has been developed by researchers in Japan. The so-called robot-sommelier, or "wine-bot", can "taste" and identify types of wine, and also has the ability to discern and analyse foods. The 2ft-tall (0.6m) robot, developed by NEC System Technologies and Mie University, uses infrared light to identify different tastes.

Read more. Source: BBC

George the chatbot
'Chatty George' talks himself up
(Sep 4, 2006)

Meet George, 39, single, quirky sense of humour, looking for friends to chat with online. He's a profound intellect and speaks 40 languages, but is also prone to unwarranted rudeness and his banter can be slightly disjointed. George is a chat robot, or chatbot, whose descendants may become familiar faces in interactive entertainment systems, his creators claim.

Read more. Source: BBC

robot face
2nd law of robotics: give them faces
(Aug 30, 2006)

In a nondescript house somewhere near Hatfield, something that could pass for any student digs, groups of men and women have been rehearsing for the future. In a year-long series of experiments, scientists and engineers are studying how people behave around the building's sole permanent resident, a 1.2 metre-tall, silver-headed robot with sinister-looking gripping claws. Their goal is to improve the way robots interact with people: everything from what the machines should look like to how they should behave.

Read more. Source: Guardian

WT-6 Waseda talking robot head
(Aug 25, 2006)

WT-6, in the Waseda Talker series of robots, is a robotic talking head described by its creators as an "anthropomorphic talking robot" because it creates speech with a set of articulators that duplicate the mechanical elements of human speech-making. The WT-6 anthropomorphic talking robot is the creation of Atsuo Takanishi and his Ph.D. student Kotaro Fukui at Waseda University in Tokyo. Takanishi and his group used mechanical actuators and a variety of materials to re-create the entire human vocal system. [Image: earlier WT-5]

Read more. Source:

cooperating robots
Robot teams tap into each others' talents
(Aug 16, 2006)

Teams of robots that can remotely tap into each other's sensors and computers in order to perform tricky tasks have been developed by researchers in Sweden. The robots can, for example, negotiate their way past awkward obstacles by relaying different viewpoints to one another. Robert Lundh, who developed the bots at Írebro University, says cooperative behaviour is normally rigidly pre-programmed into robots. "We wanted to have the robots plan for themselves how to draw on their capabilities and those of others."

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Chinese robot tour guide
Chinese scientists unveil new robot
(Aug 10, 2006)

Meet Miss Rong Cheng (pronounced: Wrong-Cheng) she dances, she's friendly and she responds to your voice. She's the work of scientists in China who say their new robot responds to to 500 to 1,000 commands in Mandarin. She also understands and speaks the Sichuan dialect because she'll be sent to Sichuan Science Museum in Chengdu to act as a receptionist and tour guide.

Read more. Source: Reuters

The music robot "Miuro" is shown off in Tokyo, Japan. The egg-shaped robot is designed to convert an iPod music player into a mobile jukebox that can automatically move around a party

man facing a computer screen
Computers 'set to read our minds'
(Jun 27, 2006)

An "emotionally aware" computer system designed to read people's minds by analysing expressions will be featured at a major London exhibition. Visitors to the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition are being invited to help "train" the computer how to read joy, anger and other expressions.

Read more. Source: BBC

Robot footballer
Robot soccer World Cup kicks off
(Jun 14, 2006)

A football tournament played by teams of robots has kicked off in Germany. The 10th annual RoboCup, being held in Bremen, will see more than 400 teams of robots dribbling, tackling and shooting in an effort to become world champions. Machines compete in 11 leagues including those designed for humanoid and four-legged robots. The organisers of the tournament hope that in 2050 the winners of the RoboCup will be able to beat the human World Cup champions.

Read more. Source: BBC

The device image (right) clearly shows the number 5 on this coin
Robot device mimics human touch
(Jun 9, 2006)

A device which may pave the way for robotic hands that can replicate the human sense of touch has been unveiled. US scientists have created a sensor that can "feel" the texture of objects to the same degree of sensitivity as a human fingertip. The team says the tactile sensor could, in the future, aid minimally invasive surgical techniques by giving surgeons a "touch-sensation".

Read more. Source: BBC


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