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by   -   March 19, 2014

What looks like a fish, swims like a fish but isn’t a fish? The latest in soft-bodied robots created by team of engineers of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


by   -   March 18, 2014

António Câmara is a man with a vision.

Despite the widespread adoption of computers and digital technology over the last few decades, how we interact with that technology, and use technology to interact with the world around us has remained largely unchanged. For example, for over 30 years, the primary means of interacting with a computer has been the keyboard and mouse. Certainly there have been updates to the technology – trackpads, for example, have become a popular mouse alternative – but that essential method of interaction remains the same. Even touch screens, perhaps the most widespread change in how people interact with technology, date back to the 1980’s.


by   -   March 17, 2014

ROBOTS14

Join us for a full day seminar and networking event at MIT on April 17 called “ROBOTS: From Imagination to Market”. Starting with an introduction to robots in science fiction, we will dive into the latest research, hear the newest startup pitches and learn from successful companies. Additional highlights will include live robot demos, an overview of legal and ethical questions, and a panel discussion with key actors in the field.

#ROBOTS14 is geared towards the Boston-based research and business community in robotics. Get your free ticket here: http://robots14.eventbrite.com/


by   -   March 17, 2014

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The Flying Donkey Challenge asks teams to create a UAV solution that can eventually circle Mount Kenya collecting and delivering 20 kilo payloads. The first subchallenge in this escalating task will take place between the 8 and 16 of November in Kenya. The final challenge, where teams have 24 hours to race around Mount Kenya, will take place in 2020 and teams are competing for a multimillion dollar prize. Solving the problem of supply delivery in places where infrastructure is poor or non-existent is seen as critical for health and economic well being.


by   -   March 14, 2014

EUCog_bochum_conference

The lay notion of how human communication works is, basically, that we exchange packages of information that are encoded and then decoded in our heads using language. But it just takes a little observation to see that this “computer metaphor” just doesn’t apply to the human way of communicating. We can’t reduce communication to a transfer of abstract information, and the same happens to be true of human-machine communication if we expect it to be of any use.


by   -   March 13, 2014

Robonaut_2_legs_demo

As part of a resupply mission to the International Space Station, ROS will board a SpaceX Rocket on March 16 and, barring inclement weather, will launch into space. According to a blogpost by Brian Gerkey at the OSRF, SpaceX will deliver a set of robotic legs for the Robonaut 2 (R2) humanoid torso that is currently aboard the ISS: “Once those legs are attached to R2, ROS will officially be running in space.”


by   -   March 13, 2014

NAO

As of yesterday, you can get the adorable and versatile humanoid robot NAO from Aldebaran Robotics for yourself, even if you are not an academic or a hardcore developer. According to Génération Robots, a European partner of Aldebaran Robotics, they are selling NAO Next Gen (that’s the fourth of the four versions of NAOs out there) with the starting price of 5628 €. In North America, the RobotsLab is offering NAO for $7990 – down from $16,000.

 


by   -   March 12, 2014

04_Copyright_LifeHand2

Amputee Dennis Aabo Sørensen wearing sensory feedback enabled prosthetic in Rome, February 2013 (Lifehand 2, Patrizia Tocci).

Roboticists and doctors working in Switzerland and Italy have come together to develop a bionic hand that provides sensory feedback in real time, meaning that an amputee can be given back the ability to feel and modify grip like someone with a “real” hand. Using a combination of surgically implanted electrodes (connected at one end to the nervous system, and at the other end to sensors) and an algorithm to convert signals, the team has produced a hand that sends information back to the brain that is so detailed that the wearer could even tell the hardness of objects he was given to hold.


by   -   March 12, 2014

Astronauts all know how important it is to stay healthy in space. Weightlessness alone can cause a number of physiological changes including muscle atrophy, loss of blood volume and bone loss. Most astronauts complete medical training, which equips them with the skills to perform procedures such as first aid and basic surgery. But what happens if there’s an emergency and no medical expert to assist?


by and   -   March 11, 2014

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Timo Boll & Agilus robot Photo credit: KUKA

[UPDATE] – KUKA just published the well-advertised video of the table tennis match of top athlete Timo Boll and one of its fastest robots, the KUKA KR AGILUS. Don’t forget that even if the actual movements performed by the robot are real, the match is a directed and scripted advertisement with multiple takes (as you can see in the making of video below). It’s a very impressive presentation of the agility and speed of AGILUS, but it’s not an actual match. KUKA is celebrating with a very popular sport in China to mark the occasion of its new plant in Shanghai.

Watch the video of the match below and read more about the making of.


by   -   March 10, 2014

A robotic prosthetic arm that can drum … biological nano motors … ambient pervasive display

Robot Drumming Prosthesis

Engineers at a Georgia Tech laboratory have created a robotic arm that can be attached to amputees, enabling the technology to be embedded into the human body. The robotic arm has motors that can power to drumsticks. The first drumstick is manipulated by the musician’s arms and electromyography (EMG) muscle sensors. The second stick is tuned into the music being played and is able to improvise.


by   -   March 10, 2014

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Photo by Alex Jerez Roman, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

A paper in Nature Communications earlier this year reports on “bio-bots”. These tiny machines inspired by sperm, are a hybrid combination of live heart cells and a synthetic polymer body.

The new bots, developed by researchers from the University of Illinois and Arizona State University, are the first swimming micro-machines that mimic the flagellar movement of sperm to traverse the viscous fluids of biological environments. This means they can propel themselves onward, fired by the contractile power of heart cells.


by   -   March 10, 2014

MDAR

Since 2011, a Nevada nuclear materials storage site has been guarded by robots (Mobile Detection, Assessment and Response System). Last week the US Marines announced that their airbase in Twentynine Palms will also be guarded by the same type of robots.

Security robots are becoming more prevalent for both governmental and corporate clients not only to lower costs but to improve surveillance and security options. General Dynamics MDARS, the robots used in Nevada and by the Marines, have been around since 2005.


by   -   March 10, 2014

Keystone_Urban_Gardening_System

Keystone Technology’s LED vegetable garden system is a cultivation system for indoor plant factories that uses LED lighting instead of sunlight. The most defining feature of the system on display at the company’s showroom in Yokohama is its 3-dimensional use of space. “This is a 5-tiered cultivation system. For smaller heads of lettuce, you can harvest about 1,500 heads in one month. If this were to be fit into a container of about 20 feet (6m), it would be equivalent to 970 sq. meters. Thus with 16 sq. meters, you could produce an amount that is on par with 970 sq. meters.”


by   -   March 7, 2014

BrainGateIf the human brain is considered a computer, what does that mean for science and our lives? Could we repair damaged areas, replace damaged parts, or even upgrade our own minds? It might sound like little more than the stuff of science fiction, but with current advances in brain-machine interfaces, science fiction is fast becoming science fact.