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Robot Diaries: Volume 3


ROBOTS • ROBOTICS • ANDROIDS • CYBORGS



Robot controlled by simulated rat brain negotiating a maze. Image credit: Alfredo Weitzenfeld
Rat-brained robot thinks like the real thing
(Jul 5, 2007)


A robot controlled by a simulated rat brain has proved itself to be a remarkable mimic of rodent behaviour in series of classic animal experiments. The robot's biologically-inspired control software uses a functional model of "place cells". These are neurons in an area of the brain called the hippocampus that help real rats to map their environment.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

BEAR
BEAR robot rescues wounded troops
(Jun 8, 2007)


The US military is developing a robot with a teddy bear-style head to help carry injured soldiers away from the battlefield. The Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot (BEAR) can scoop up even the heaviest of casualties and transport them over long distances over rough terrain.

Read more. Source: BBC


robot built at the German Aerospace Center
Move to create less clumsy robots
(May 11, 2007)


The race to create more human-like robots stepped up a gear this week as scientists in Spain set about building an artificial cerebellum. The end-game of the two-year project is to implant the man-made cerebellum in a robot to make movements and interaction with humans more natural. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls motor functions. Researchers hope that the work might also yield clues to treat cognitive diseases such as Parkinson's.

Read more. Source: BBC

guessing robot
'Guessing' robots find their way
(May 11, 2007)


Robots that use "guesswork" to navigate through unfamiliar surroundings are being developed by US researchers. The mobile machines create maps of areas they have already explored and then use this information to predict what unknown environments will be like.

Read more. Source: BBC

Cronos robot
Robot future poses hard questions
(Apr 24, 2007)


Scientists have expressed concern about the use of autonomous decision-making robots, particularly for military use. As they become more common, these machines could also have negative impacts on areas such as surveillance and elderly care, the roboticists warn.

Read more. Source: BBC

robotic caterpillar
Caterpillar robot 'treats hearts'
(Apr 22, 2007)


A robotic caterpillar has been designed which can crawl across the surface of the heart to deliver treatment. New Scientist reports a prototype of the HeartLander device, created by US researchers, has been tested on pigs. The tiny robot, just a few centimetres long, can move at up to 18 centimetres per minute, controlled by "push and pull" wires from outside the body.

Read more. Source: BBC

researcher and robot
Robotic age poses ethical dilemma
(Mar 9, 2007)


An ethical code to prevent humans abusing robots, and vice versa, is being drawn up by South Korea. The Robot Ethics Charter will cover standards for users and manufacturers and will be released later in 2007. It is being put together by a five member team of experts that includes futurists and a science fiction writer.

Read more. Source: BBC

Dexter the robot
Walking robot steps up the pace
(Mar 5, 2007)


A humanoid robot is teaching itself to walk and eventually run around a California research lab. Dexter took its first tentative steps only a few days after it first discovered how to stand upright. Dexter's designers say their robot differs from commercially available predecessors because it can learn from its mistakes.

Read more. Source: BBC

earthquake rescue robot
A rescue robot designed to work in the rubble of damaged underground shopping malls is shown at a Tokyo symposium on how to tackle big earthquakes in large cities. It is equipped with a colour camera, thermal vision and a comms system. (Credit: BBC)

I Robot
Emotion robots learn from people
(Feb 23, 2007)


Making robots that interact with people emotionally is the goal of a European project led by British scientists. Feelix Growing is a research project involving six countries, and 25 roboticists, developmental psychologists and neuroscientists. Co-ordinator Dr Lola Canamero said the aim was to build robots that "learn from humans and respond in a socially and emotionally appropriate manner".

Read more. Source: BBC

Asimo
March of the consumer robots
(Jan 11, 2007)


Home robotics is a growing trend at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. But are visions of mechanised-man servants still a long way off? Mankind has long been fascinated with robots. Perhaps Isaac Asimov knew the impact his short story collection I, Robot would have on the world when he wrote the nine tales making up the book. But in putting pen to paper and imagining a world where humans and robots shared their lives he ignited an interest that shows no sign of waning.

Read more. Source: BBC

I, Robot
Robots could demand legal rights
(Dec 23, 2006)


Robots could one day demand the same citizen's rights as humans, according to a study by the British government. If granted, countries would be obliged to provide social benefits including housing and even "robo-healthcare", the report says. The predictions are contained in nearly 250 papers that look ahead at developments over the next 50 years.

Read more. Source: BBC

bionic hand
Bionic hand gives realistic grip
(Dec 21, 2006)


What's being billed as the world's most advanced bionic hand has been fitted to a man in Scotland. The five fingers on the i-LIMB hand are individually powered by separate motors. This allows a better grip and a more realistic look and feel. Standard prosthetic hands use the thumb and two fingers to produce a simple claw grip. The first recipient, Donald MacKillop lost his right hand in an industrial accident nearly 30 years ago.

Read more. Source: BBC

nano-cables
Nano-cables convert light into electricity
(Dec 15, 2006)


Nanocables that convert light into electricity could one day be used to power nano-robots. The cables are 16 nanometres in diameter and several micrometres long. They resemble the light-harvesting antennae used by some bacteria and transform light into electricity in a similar way to the semiconductors in solar panels, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

cocktail-serving robot
Cocktail robots serve up drinks
(Dec 15, 2006)


The Roboexotica convention in Vienna is a unique "festival for cocktail robots", according to the organisers. Robot developers and fans gather at the convention and the robots compete against each other to find the robot which is best at mixing cocktails or serving drinks and snacks.

See video. Source: Reuters




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