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Robot Diaries: Volume 5


ROBOTS • ROBOTICS • ANDROIDS • CYBORGS



Nico
Nico the robot can recognize its own reflection
(Aug 24, 2012)


Nico, developed at Yale University has so far been programmed to recognize it's reflection in a mirror but the hope is to have it pass a 'full mirror test' in a few months. The mirror test is one a key criterion of self-awareness developed by scientists. In it, an organism is given time to get used to a mirror. It is then sedated and marked on the face with an odorless, non-tactile dye and then observed to see if it reacts to its reflection in any way. So far, only a few species have passed, including some primates, elephants, and dolphins. Human babies pass at about 18 months old.

Read more. Source: BBC

Robojelly
Robotic jellyfish fueled by hydrogen invented
(Mar 22, 2012)


Engineers in the US say they have invented a hydrogen-powered robot that moves through water like a jellyfish. Development of the robot, nicknamed Robojelly, is in the early stages but researchers hope it could eventually be used in underwater rescue operations. Writing in Smart Materials and Structures, Yonas Tadesse said the jellyfish's simple swimming action made it an ideal model for a vehicle.

Read more. Source: BBC

Cheetah robot
Robotic cheetah 'breaks speed record for legged robots'
(Mar 5, 2012)


A headless robot dubbed "Cheetah" has set a new world speed record, according to its owners. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said the four-legged machine achieved 18 mph (29 km/h) on a laboratory treadmill. The agency said the previous land speed record by a legged robot was 13.1 mph.

Read more. Source: BBC

EMIEW2
Total recall: Japanese robot finds lost things
(Feb 29, 2012)


Forgot where you put your glasses? A Japanese robot can find them for you, and guide you to where they are. The red and white robot, named EMIEW2, is about the size of a six-year-old child and glides everywhere on wheels at the bottom of its legs, its round, white face with two black eyes vaguely reminiscent of the iconic "Hello Kitty."

Read more. Source: Reuters

robot surfer
Robots to enjoy long walks on the beach
(Jan 1, 2012)


Walking in a desert or on a beach is tough going, because both feet sink into the sand, and slip over the sand particles. This upsets a droid's balancing system, which assumes it will step on a hard surface. It becomes confused when information from its accelerometers shows that its feet are unsteady. To fix the problem, engineers led by Shunsuke Komizunai of Japan's Tohoku University in Sendai, researched how balancing systems can compensate for sand's unusual characteristics.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

starfish-inspired robot
Starfish-inspired 'soft' robot squeezes under obstacles
(Nov 29, 2011)


A "soft" robot inspired by squid and starfish can crawl, undulate, and squeeze under obstacles. Built by a team at Harvard University, this robot has several advantages over those with treads, wheels and rigid parts – which have a limited repertoire of movements and may have trouble navigating difficult terrain. The sea creature-inspired creation was manufactured with soft materials and its motion is driven by compressed air.

Read more. Source: BBC

SmartBird
A robot that flies like a bird
(Jul 26, 2011)


One of the oldest dreams of mankind is to fly like a bird. Many, from Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary research teams, tried to decipher the flight of birds well enough to recreate it. Finally in 2011, the engineers at the German technology company, Festo, developed SmartBird, an avian robot that can take off and fly through the air by simply flapping its wings.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

lifelike robot
Rubbery muscle motors to make robots more lifelike
(Mar 18, 2011)


It wobbles like a jelly, but could make robots more flexible than ever before. Soft artificial muscles have been used to make a motor with only a few parts, and no gears, bearings or cogs. The motor signals a new dawn for artificial muscles, says Iain Anderson, head of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute's Biomimetics Lab in New Zealand, where it was created.

Source: New Scientist

Robovie-PC
Robovie PC robot wins marathon in Osaka, Japan
(Feb 27, 2011)


A knee-high humanoid has narrowly won the world's first full-length marathon for two-legged robots. Robovie-PC crossed the finish line in the Japanese city of Osaka just a second before its closest rival after more than two days of racing. The 26-mile (42km) race involved 423 laps of an indoor track at an average speed of 0.77 km/h.

Read more. Source: BBC

I Robot
Robots to get their own internet
(Feb 10, 2011)


Robots could soon have an equivalent of the internet and Wikipedia. European scientists have embarked on a project to let robots share and store what they discover about the world. Called RoboEarth it will be a place that robots can upload data to when they master a task, and ask for help in carrying out new ones.

Read more. Source: BBC

Robonaut 2
Meet Robonaut 2, astronaut assistant
(Nov 2, 2010)


Almost 200 people from 15 countries have visited the International Space Station, but until now all the crew have been human. This week the station will get its first humanoid robot. Robonaut 2 (nicknamed, inevitably, R2) will ride on the final flight of space shuttle Discovery this week and spend the next decade helping astronauts on the space station with scientific research and mundane chores.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

bionic arm
Robot limbs to plug into the brain with light
(Oct 17, 2010)


Imagine a bionic arm that plugs directly into the nervous system, so that the brain can control its motion, and the owner can feel pressure and heat through their robotic hand. This prospect has come a step closer with the development of photonic sensors that could improve connections between nerves and prosthetic limbs.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

PR2 robot
Domestic robot goes on sale
(Sep 15, 2010)


Got a spare $400,000 lying around? Forget buying a house and splash out on your own robot instead. Silicon Valley start-up Willow Garage has put its PR2 robot on general sale. The robot's two gripper-equipped arms, laser scanner and multiple cameras allow it to fold towels, fetch a beer and plug itself into the mains when it needs to recharge.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

pressure sensitive artificial skin
Sensitive touch for 'robot skin'
(Sep 14, 2010)


"Artificial skin" that could bring a sensitive touch to robots and prosthetic limbs, has been shown off. The materials, which can sense pressure as sensitively and quickly as human skin, have been outlined by two groups reporting in Nature Materials. The skins are arrays of small pressure sensors that convert tiny changes in pressure into electrical signals.

Read more. Source: BBC

Programmed with the rules of walking. Image: Martin De Lasa, Igor Mordatch, Aaron Hertzman
Virtual walkers lead the way for robots
(Aug 8, 2010)


Children do it with ease, but walking on two feet is challenging for robots. And while animated characters stroll along quite happily, they rarely look human when they do. That's because the many joints of a human body can move in multiple directions, creating a bewildering array of potential poses.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Robot that moves like a sandfish lizard
Lizard-like robot can 'swim' through sand
(Jun 30, 2010)


To add to the robots that can crawl over land, fly through air and swim underwater comes one that can swim through sand. Such robots could help find people trapped in the loose debris resulting from an earthquake.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

C3PO
Robot-inflicted injuries studied
(May 10, 2010)


A future in which robots help around the home could prove harmful to humans, suggests a study. German researchers studied what happens in accidents involving robots using sharp tools alongside humans. They used a robot arm holding a variety of bladed tools programmed to strike test substances that mimic soft tissue.

Read more. Source: BBC

sensitive robot hand
Robots with skin enter our touchy-feely world
(Apr 20, 2010)


Beauty may be only skin deep, but for humanoid robots a fleshy covering is about more than mere aesthetics, it could be essential to making them socially acceptable. A touch-sensitive coating could prevent such machines from accidentally injuring anybody within their reach.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

robot face
Picking our brains: Can we make a conscious machine?
(Apr 7, 2010)


Challenges don't get much bigger than trying to create artificial consciousness. Some doubt if it can be done – or if it ever should. Bolder researchers are not put off, though. "We have to consider machine consciousness as a grand challenge, like putting a man on the moon," says Antonio Chella at the University of Palermo in Italy and editor of the International Journal of Machine Consciousness.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

M3-neony
Robot crawls like a baby
(Mar 5, 2010)


This robot is designed to explore the ways that babies learn to crawl. Weighing 3.5 kilograms, and 50 centimeters from head to toe, M3-neony has software that can experiment randomly with its 22 "muscles" to learn the consequences of its actions and build up coordinated patterns of movement.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Gulper AUV
Ocean robot 'plans experiments'
(Feb 27, 2010)


Scientists in the US are using an underwater vehicle that can "plan its own experiments" on the seafloor. The "Gulper AUV" is programmed to look for the information that scientists want and plan its own route, avoiding hazardous currents and obstacles. The research team described this advance at the Ocean Sciences meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Read more. Source: BBC

Maria Antonia Iglesias can now hold a pen using the ProDigits
Scientists unveil world's first bionic fingers
(Dec 9, 2009)


Experts have unveiled what they claim are the world's first bionic fingers which they hope will transform the lives of people with missing digits. The motor-powered ProDigits have been developed by Touch Bionics, the Livingston, West Lothian company which made the bionic i-Limb hand. The unit fits over the person's palm to help people with any number of missing digits.

Read more. Source: BBC

Personal Robot 2
Robots get smarter by asking for help
(Sep 17, 2009)


Asking someone for help is second nature for humans, and now it could help robots overcome one of the thorniest problems in artificial intelligence. That's the thinking behind a project at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Palo Alto, California. Researchers there are training a robot to ask humans to identify objects it doesn't recognise.

Read more. Source: New Scientist



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