news    views    podcast    learn    |    about    contribute     republish     events

Research & Innovation

Credit: Jerry Wright

Reaching an optimal shared decision in a distributed way is a key aspect of many multi-agent and swarm robotic applications.

by   -   October 28, 2017

Just in time for Halloween, a research team from the MIT Media Lab’s Scalable Cooperation group has introduced Shelley: the world’s first artificial intelligence-human horror story collaboration.

Sony Pictures

The new Blade Runner sequel will return us to a world where sophisticated androids made with organic body parts can match the strength and emotions of their human creators. As someone who builds biologically inspired robots, I’m interested in whether our own technology will ever come close to matching the “replicants” of Blade Runner 2049.

interview by   -   October 14, 2017



In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Chris Gerdes, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, about designing high-performance autonomous vehicles. The idea is to make vehicles safer, as Gerdes says, he wants to “develop vehicles that could avoid any accident that can be avoided within the laws of physics.”

In this interview, Gerdes discusses developing a model for high-performance control of a vehicle; their autonomous race car, an Audi TTS named ‘Shelley,’ and how its autonomous performance compares to ameteur and professional race car drivers; and an autonomous, drifting Delorean named ‘MARTY.’

Robots help ants with daily chores so they can be accepted into the colony. Image credit – Dr Bertrand Collignon

by Aisling Irwin

Tiny mobile robots are learning to work with insects in the hope the creatures’ sensitive antennae and ability to squeeze into small spaces can be put to use serving humans.

by   -   September 29, 2017


The European Robotics League (ERL) announced the winners of ERL Emergency Robots 2017 major tournament, during the awards ceremony held on Saturday, 23rd September at Giardini Pro Patria, in Piombino, Italy.

The ERL Emergency Robots 2017 competition consisted of four scenarios, inspired by the nuclear accident of Fukushima (Japan, 2011) and designed specifically for multi-domain human-robot teams. The first scenario is The Grand Challenge made up of three domains – sea, air, land, and the other three scenarios are made of only two domains.

by   -   September 29, 2017

The European Robotics League (ERL) announced the winners of ERL Emergency Robots 2017 major tournament, during the awards ceremony held on Saturday, 23rd September at Giardini Pro Patria, in Piombino, Italy.

In addition to the Competition Awards, Marta Palau Franco from Bristol Robotics Laboratory and ERL Emergency project manager introduced the referees’ special awards.

by   -   September 27, 2017
Dubbed “Primer,” a new cube-shaped robot can be controlled via magnets to make it walk, roll, sail, and glide. It carries out these actions by wearing different exoskeletons, which start out as sheets of plastic that fold into specific shapes when heated. After Primer finishes its task, it can shed its “skin” by immersing itself in water, which dissolves the exoskeleton. Credit: the researchers.

From butterflies that sprout wings to hermit crabs that switch their shells, many animals must adapt their exterior features in order to survive. While humans don’t undergo that kind of metamorphosis, we often try to create functional objects that are similarly adaptive — including our robots.

by   -   September 27, 2017


The ERL Emergency Robots 2017 (#ERLemergency2017) major tournament in Piombino, Italy, gathered 130 participants from 16 universities and companies from 8 European countries. Participating teams designed robots able to bring the first relief to survivors in disaster-response scenarios. The #ERLemergency2017 scenarios were inspired by the Fukushima 2011 nuclear accident. The robotics competition took place from 15-23 September 2017 at Enel’s Torre del Sale, and saw sea, land and air robots collaborating.

As highlighted in a previous post, despite the fact that robotics is increasingly regarded as a ‘Science’, as shown by the launch of new journals such as Science Robotics, reproducibility of experiments is still difficult or entirely lacking.

by   -   September 12, 2017
Credit: Draper

Summer is not without its annoyances — mosquitos, wasps, and ants, to name a few. As the cool breeze of September pushes us back to work, labs across the country are reconvening tackling nature’s hardest problems. Sometimes forces that seem diametrically opposed come together in beautiful ways, like robotics infused into living organisms.

by   -   September 8, 2017
MIT President L. Rafael Reif, left, and John Kelly III, IBM senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and Research, shake hands at the conclusion of a signing ceremony establishing the new MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab. Credit: Jake Belcher

IBM and MIT today announced that IBM plans to make a 10-year, $240 million investment to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in partnership with MIT. The lab will carry out fundamental artificial intelligence (AI) research and seek to propel scientific breakthroughs that unlock the potential of AI. The collaboration aims to advance AI hardware, software, and algorithms related to deep learning and other areas; increase AI’s impact on industries, such as health care and cybersecurity; and explore the economic and ethical implications of AI on society. IBM’s $240 million investment in the lab will support research by IBM and MIT scientists.

V-SPA
Recent advances in soft robotics have seen the development of soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs) to ensure that all parts of the robot are soft, including the functional parts. These SPAs have traditionally used increased pressure in parts of the actuator to initiate movement, but today a team from NCCR Robotics and RRL, EPFL publish a new kind of SPA, one that uses vacuum, in ScienceRobotics.

by   -   August 30, 2017

by Jennifer Chu
Engineers at MIT have designed an autonomous robot with “socially aware navigation,” that can keep pace with foot traffic while observing these general codes of pedestrian conduct.
Credit: MIT

Just as drivers observe the rules of the road, most pedestrians follow certain social codes when navigating a hallway or a crowded thoroughfare: Keep to the right, pass on the left, maintain a respectable berth, and be ready to weave or change course to avoid oncoming obstacles while keeping up a steady walking pace.

by   -   August 24, 2017
Interactive Robogami enables the fabrication of a wide range of robot designs. Photo: MIT CSAIL

Even as robots become increasingly common, they remain incredibly difficult to make. From designing and modeling to fabricating and testing, the process is slow and costly: Even one small change can mean days or weeks of rethinking and revising important hardware.



ICRA 2017 Company Showcase
December 10, 2017


Are you planning to crowdfund your robot startup?

Need help spreading the word?

Join the Robohub crowdfunding page and increase the visibility of your campaign