news    views    podcast    learn    |    about    contribute     republish     events
by   -   August 9, 2018

A new fabrication process enables the creation of soft robots at the millimeter scale with features on the micrometer scale as shown here with the example of a small soft robotic peacock spider with moving body parts and colored eyes and abdomens. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

By Benjamin Boettner

Roboticists are envisioning a future in which soft, animal-inspired robots can be safely deployed in difficult-to-access environments, such as inside the human body or in spaces that are too dangerous for humans to work, in which rigid robots cannot currently be used. Centimeter-sized soft robots have been created, but thus far it has not been possible to fabricate multifunctional flexible robots that can move and operate at smaller size scales.

by   -   August 9, 2018

his fully 3D-printed version of the grippers includes “fingernails” on the ends of the fingers to help pick up organisms that are sitting on hard surfaces, as well as mesh extensions between the fingers to keep samples secure. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

By Lindsay Brownell

The deep ocean – dark, cold, under high pressure, and airless – is notoriously inhospitable to humans, yet it teems with organisms that manage to thrive in its harsh environment. Studying those creatures requires specialized equipment mounted on remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) that can withstand those conditions in order to collect samples. This equipment, designed primarily for the underwater oil and mining industries, is clunky, expensive, and difficult to maneuver with the kind of control needed for interacting with delicate sea life. Picking a delicate sea slug off the ocean floor with these tools is akin to trying to pluck a grape using pruning shears.

Waymo recently announced two new partnerships for their fleet of robotaxis.

by   -   August 9, 2018

In this episode of Robots in Depth, Per Sjöborg speaks with Hans Kimblad about 3D printing metal or MAM, metal adaptive manufacturing.

by   -   August 9, 2018

By John Miller

An earlier version of this post was published on Off the Convex Path. It is reposted here with the author’s permission.

In the last few years, deep learning practitioners have proposed a litany of different sequence models. Although recurrent neural networks were once the tool of choice, now models like the autoregressive Wavenet or the Transformer are replacing RNNs on a diverse set of tasks. In this post, we explore the trade-offs between recurrent and feed-forward models.

Max Planck Institute         

interview by   -   August 6, 2018


In this episode, Marwa ElDiwiny interview Peer Fisher, a Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart and the Director of the Micro Nano and Molecular Systems Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems.  Fischer discusses micro robots that has been designed to move inside of environments similar to the human body called, “micro swimmers.”  He talks about how they are fabricated, powered, and how they can move with light or “nano propellers.”  Fischer also discusses simulating human tissue and the future of micro and nano robots, including how they could be a replacement for certain surgeries.


by   -   July 31, 2018

A few weeks ago we had the kick-off meeting, in York, of our new 4 year EPSRC funded project Autonomous Robot Evolution (ARE): cradle to grave. We – Andy Tyrrell and Jon Timmis (York), Emma Hart (Edinburgh Napier), Gusti Eiben (Free University of Amsterdam) and myself – are all super excited. We’ve been trying to win support for this project for five years or so, and only now succeeded. This is a project that we’ve been thinking, and writing about, for a long time – so to have the opportunity to try out our ideas for real is wonderful.

by   -   July 31, 2018

Robots become every day more ‘intelligent’. What if robots were intelligent enough to say NO to war? This would be a happier future.

This short film is a light-hearted comedy that aims to launch an interesting discussion and motivate reflexion on the killer-robots topic. The fictional scenario describes a future where robots contract out and refuse to be employed in human warfare. This optimistic point of view can be inspirational to engineers and roboticists developing a robotic future.

by   -   July 31, 2018

‘Seeing’ through robot eyes.

By Michael Milford, Queensland University of Technology and Jonathan Roberts, Queensland University of Technology

Vision is one of nature’s amazing creations that has been with us for hundreds of millions of years. It’s a key sense for humans, but one we often take for granted: that is, until we start losing it or we try and recreate it for a robot.

The 3D sand printer used for the fabrication of the formwork. The printer has a build volume of 8 cubic meters and a resolution of a fraction of a millimetre. (Photograph: ETH Zurich / Tom Mundy)

As part of DFAB HOUSE, NCCR researchers have fabricated an 80 m2 lightweight concrete slab, making it the world’s first full-scale architectural project to use 3D sand printing for its formwork.

For a lot of people, being a passenger in a car can easily lead to motion sickness, particularly if they try to do something like looking down to read a book or stare at a phone. Not everybody gets this, but it’s enough to be a big issue for the robocar world. Drivers usually don’t feel this much, but in the robocar world, everybody’s a passenger.

by   -   July 25, 2018

In this episode of Robots in Depth, Per Sjöborg speaks with Sven Schmidt-Rohr about how he always wanted to be a robotics entrepreneur and how ArtiMinds makes programming robots easier.

by   -   July 25, 2018
When HAMR needs to sink, its footpads emit a high voltage to break the water surface tension. This process is called electrowetting, which is the reduction of the contact angle between a material and the water surface under an applied voltage. This change of contact angle makes it easier for objects to break the water surface. (Credit: Yufeng Chen, Neel Doshi, and Benjamin Goldberg/Harvard University)

By Leah Burrows

In nature, cockroaches can survive underwater for up to 30 minutes. Now, a robotic cockroach can do even better. Harvard’s Ambulatory Microrobot, known as HAMR, can walk on land, swim on the surface of water, and walk underwater for as long as necessary, opening up new environments for this little bot to explore.

Source: Uber

In discussion of the eventual cost of a robotaxi ride, I and others have forecast costs similar to the all-in cost of car ownership. Today that’s 40 to 60 cents/mile (plus parking) and for a one person electric “city car” it can be under 20 cents.

by   -   July 24, 2018

By Lindsay Brownell

The open ocean is the largest and least explored environment on Earth, estimated to hold up to a million species that have yet to be described. However, many of those organisms are soft-bodied – like jellyfish, squid, and octopuses – and are difficult to capture for study with existing underwater tools, which all too frequently damage or destroy them. Now, a new device developed by researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study safely traps delicate sea creatures inside a folding polyhedral enclosure and lets them go without harm using a novel, origami-inspired design. The research is reported in Science Robotics.

Towards using Micro and Nano Robots in the Human Body
August 6, 2018

August 2018

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun