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Robot Diaries: Volume 4


Eccerobot based on accurate human anatomy
Robot with bones moves like you do
(Aug 25, 2009)

You may have more in common with this robot than any other – it was designed using your anatomy as a blueprint. Conventional humanoid robots may look human, but the workings under their synthetic skins are radically different from our anatomy. A team with members across five European countries says this makes it difficult to build robots able to move like we do.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

I, Robot
Smart machines: What's the worst that could happen?
(Jul 28, 2009)

An invasion led by artificially intelligent machines. Conscious computers. A smartphone virus so smart that it can start mimicking you. You might think that such scenarios are laughably futuristic, but some of the world's leading artificial intelligence researchers are concerned enough about the potential impact of advances in AI that they have been discussing the risks over the past year. Now they have revealed their conclusions.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Adam discovered the role of 12 different genes in yeast cells. Image: Science
Robo-scientist's first findings
(Apr 3, 2009)

Scientists have created an ideal colleague – a robot that performs hundreds of repetitive experiments. The robot, called Adam, is the first machine to have independently "discovered new scientific knowledge". It has already identified the role of several genes in yeast cells, and is able to plan further experiments to test its own hypotheses.

Read more. Source: BBC

The Axel rover consists of a simple cylinder with a wheel on either side. The wheels can roll over 0.5-meter-tall rocks. Using two of the rovers together would allow them to share the weight of a heavy payload. Image: JPL/Caltech
'Marsupial' robots could roam Mars and the Moon
(Feb 10, 2009)

A spool-shaped robot could one day rappel into steep craters on other planets or moons, anchored to another spacecraft by a rope. The craft, which would descend to its targets from an airborne balloon or emerge from the belly of a larger rover, is being described as a 'tethered marsupial'. NASA and Caltech engineers are designing the system, which consists of a simple cylinder with a wheel on either side. The wheels can roll over 0.5-metre-tall rocks.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

A robot with a brain that grows as its body develops could lead to more versatile humanoid robots and prosthetics. Image: Robert Gordon University
Unnatural selection: Robots start to evolve
(Feb 5, 2009)

Living creatures took millions of years to evolve from amphibians to four-legged mammals – with larger, more complex brains to match. Now an evolving robot has performed a similar trick in hours, thanks to a software "brain" that automatically grows in size and complexity as its physical body develops.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Actress Minako Inoue rehearses with her robot cast mate
Actor robots take Japanese stage
(Nov 28, 2008)

First there were dancing robots, then house-sitting robots and now a new breed of acting robots is making its big debut on the Japanese stage. The play, which had its premiere at Osaka University, is one of Japan's first robot-human theatre productions. The machines were specially programmed to speak lines with human actors and move around the stage with them.

Read more. Source: BBC

Hal eye
Will machines outsmart man?
(Nov 6, 2008)

They are looking for the hockey stick. Hockey sticks are the shape technology startups hope their sales graphs will assume: a modestly ascending blade, followed by a sudden turn to a near-vertical long handle. Those who assembled in San Jose in late October for the Singularity Summit are awaiting the point where machine intelligence surpasses that of humans and takes off near-vertically into recursive self-improvement.

Read more. Source: Guardian

robot handshake
Prepare to welcome our robot overlords
(Oct 17, 2008)

The Terminator might be running California, but that's about as close as a cyborg has got to taking over the world so far. But even if the robotic revolution isn't here yet, it's gathering pace, according to the annual 'state of the nation' review from the brainiacs at the International Federation of Robotics. They've just published the latest edition of World Robotics, which shows the trends in robotics and states that there are now more than 6.5 million bots in operation all around the world.

Read more. Source: Guardian

back flip simulation
Robots learn to move themselves
(Aug 11, 2008)

Researchers in Leipzig have demonstrated software designed for robots that allows them to "learn" to move through trial and error. The software mimics the interconnected sensing and processing of a brain in a so-called "neural network". Armed with such a network, the simulated creatures start to explore.

Read more. Source: BBC

wall-climbing robots
Robots scale new heights
(Jul 25, 2008)

Robots that can climb walls have been developed by scientists in the United States. The robots can scale surfaces using the same principles behind electrostatic charges, which make balloons stick to ceilings after being rubbed. Developed by a team in SRI's Mobile Robotics and Transducers Programme, the machines are about the size of a remote-controlled car and have caterpillar tracks similar to those on toy tanks.

Read more. Source: BBC

Asimo playing rock-paper-scissors
Robot Asimo can understand three voices at once
(Jun 11, 2008)

Advanced humanoid robot Asimo just got a new superpower – it can understand three humans shouting at once. For now the modified Asimo's new ability are being used to judge rock-paper-scissors contests, where three people call out their choices at once. But the number of voices and the complexity of the sentences the software can deal with should grow in future.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

monkey controling a robotic arm by thought
A small bite for a monkey... a giant leap for mankind
(May 29, 2008)

Two monkeys have been trained to eat morsels of food using a robotic arm controlled by thoughts that are relayed through a set of electrodes connecting the animal's brain to a computer, scientists have announced. The astonishing feat is being seen as a major breakthrough in the development of robotic prosthetic limbs and other automated devices that can be manipulated by paralysed patients using mind control alone.

Read more. Source: The Independent

Frigid robot eyes top tech prize
(May 13, 2008)

A robotic system designed to care for millions of biological samples in sub-zero temperatures has been chosen as a finalist for a top engineering award. The Polar system is already used at the UK Biobank, a facility that aims to shed light on debilitating diseases. The robot system will guard 10 million human blood and fluid samples at -80C for 25 years, whilst also allowing scientists to access them at any time.

Read more. Source: BBC

woman holding robot's hand
The rise of the emotional robot
(Apr 7, 2008)

Duke is careering noisily across a living room floor resplendent in the dark blue and white colours of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He's no student but a disc-shaped robotic vacuum cleaner called the Roomba. Not only have his owners dressed him up, they have also given him a name and gender.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

robot plane
Robots to collect dangerous data
(Jan 24, 2008)

Unmanned aircraft are to help scientists with research flights that are too dangerous or difficult for human pilots. Robot planes have long been used by the military, but they are now being adapted for scientific use. NOAA researchers (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) say it could revolutionise the way the Earth's systems are monitored.

Read more. Source: BBC

robo-roach in action
Robot 'pied piper' leads roaches
(Nov 18, 2007)

A robotic cockroach can act as a 'pied piper' to its flesh-and-blood counterparts, persuading the real insects to hide in unusual places. European scientists introduced tiny autonomous robots into an "arena" where cockroaches were allowed to run free. They wanted to see whether the robots would be accepted by the insects and whether they could influence their collective decision-making process.

Read more. Source: BBC

driverless car called Boss
Robot cars race around California
(Nov 5, 2007)

A driverless car called Boss has scooped a $2m prize in a Californian race for robotic vehicles. Boss successfully drove around an urban environment, avoiding other cars, and covering 60 miles (85km) in less than six hours, all without any human control. The modified Chevrolet Tahoe was one of six cars that crossed the finish line, from a pack of 11 robotic vehicles which set off at dawn. The others had to pull out after crashes or other problems.

Read more. Source: BBC

Robot dogs race to be soldier's best friend
(Sep 26, 2007)

A timid-looking four-legged robot about the size of a Chihuahua might seem like an unlikely companion for soldiers of the future. Yet the robot, called LittleDog, could ultimately help researchers create more sophisticated robotic assistants for military personnel, including automated "pack-mules" capable of hauling heavy loads over tough terrain.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Tripedal robot swings itself into action
(Sep 21, 2007)

A three-legged robot with an unconventional and graceful walk has been developed by US researchers. Like humans, it exploits gravity to save energy with each step, but it also flips its entire body upside-down with each stride.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Robot unravels mystery of walking
(Jul 12, 2007)

Roboticists are using the lessons of a 1930s human physiologist to build the world's fastest walking robot. Runbot is a self-learning, dynamic robot, which has been built around the theories of Nikolai Bernstein. "Getting a robot to walk like a human requires a dynamic machine," said Professor Florentin Woergoetter.

Read more. Source: BBC


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