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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   -   May 16, 2013

You’re at a busy bar. You order your personalized cocktail through a smart phone app; a drink dispenser measures out the beverage according to your instructions and a Kuka robotic arm give it a shake (or stir), while another garnishes it with a slice of lemon; the made-to-order concoction is delivered to your waiting hand via a slick little ten-lane conveyor belt. 

by   -   March 26, 2013

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending VLAB: Drones – The Commercial Era Takes Off at Stanford GSB. The event was truly fantastic and the panel was amazing. The moderator was Chris Anderson, former editor at Wired and CEO of 3D robotics. I’m really struck by how much he has become the face of the commercial drone industry.

by   -   November 28, 2012

The idea of nanorobots capable of navigating the body was popularized by the 1966 science fiction flick Fantastic Voyage. Since then, bio-engineers have imagined a variety of nanoparticles that can potentially transport therapies directly to tumors. The challenge is to get these nanoparticles to all the cancer cells they need to treat, in sufficient amounts, without causing side-effects on healthy tissue.

by   -   June 29, 2012

Tovbot’s Shimi made its first public appearance two days ago at Google I/O, where not just one but three Shimis performed in perfect coordination. Tovbot was formed earlier this year by a group of robot researchers and entrepreneurs hailing from Georgia Tech, IDC in Israel, and MIT Media Lab. [Their] goal is to foster a new paradigm of personal robots – robots that don’t just clean your floors or your pool, but also interact with you on a personal, almost human level. According to a news item on Georgia Tech’s website, Shimi, a musical companion developed by Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology, recommends songs, dances to the beat and keeps the music pumping based on listener feedback. Automaton has more detail.

by   -   May 31, 2012

In early March, Boston Dynamics posted a video (shown below) showing the Cheetah robot they are developing for DARPA running at 18 miles per hour (a new record for a robot running on legs), without any stabilization straps attached. More recently the MIT Biomimetic Robotics Lab has posted videos of their version of the Cheetah, first walking (no longer public, as of 08Aug2012), then trotting, with some stabilization (shown above). The MIT version appears to be more complex than the Boston Dynamics version, particularly in the way the legs are jointed, but also in the way the rear legs connect to the rest of the body, although it’s impossible to tell whether what appear to be vertebrae, in the MIT version, are actually functional as such, from the video alone.

Boston Dynamics’ Cheetah running at 18 mph

by   -   May 30, 2012

Evan Ackerman, writing for IEEE Spectrum’s Automaton blog, says

Researchers at MIT CSAIL have decided that slow and obstacle-free flight is boring, so they’ve come up with a way to get MAVs navigating at high speed, indoors, around obstacles, without needing motion tracking or GPS or beacons or any of that nonsense. All they need is a little aircraft that can carry a planar laser rangefinder, an IMU, and a pre-existing 3D occupancy map that the MAV can localize itself in.

This research has been conducted by the Robust Robotics Group (RRG), led by Nicholas Roy. A paper explaining it in detail was presented at ICRA by graduate student Adam Bry. A similar video using a quadrotor (below) appears on the personal page of RRG Research Scientist Stefanie Tellex, which is worth a visit for the cat video she’s also posted! (IMU = Inertial Measurement Unit)

A Voice-Commandable Robotic Helicopter

by   -   May 28, 2012

The above video, by Erico Guizzo and Evan Ackerman of IEEE Spectrum, and shows Patrick Rowe, of RE2 (RE-squared), the firm hired by DARPA to build the standard platform for their ARM program, putting a completed unit through its paces at ICRA.

A small omni-roller suitable for use as one or more fingers of a robotic hand

An autonomous robotic fish for detecting and finding the source of pollution

MIT 6.141 Robotics Class Final Challenge for 2012

Back to ICRA to watch an Adept mobile robot navigating the show floor

Another Adept robot being used in research at Cornell

And finally, Georgia Tech’s Travis doing a little dance

by   -   May 3, 2012

The Mediated Matter Group within the MIT Media Lab, is dedicated to the development and application of novel processes that enable and support the design of physical matter, and its adaptability to environmental conditions in the creation of form. One of their projects, CNSILK: Computer Numerically Controlled Silk Cocoon Construction, explores the design and fabrication potential of silk fibers—inspired by silkworm cocoons—for the construction of woven habitats. While the material being applied in the above video may not be silk, the principles being applied to wrapping it around the interior of a tension-providing frame remain the same. has more detail.

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