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Articles


Flying high-speed drones into the unknown with AI

When it comes to exploring complex and unknown environments such as forests, buildings or caves, drones are hard to beat. They are fast, agile and small, and they can carry sensors and payloads virtua...
08 October 2021, by

What can I do here? Learning new skills by imagining visual affordances

How do humans become so skillful? Well, initially we are not, but from infancy, we discover and practice increasingly complex skills through self-supervised play. But this play is not random - the chi...
27 September 2021, by

When humans play in competition with a humanoid robot, they delay their decisions when the robot looks at them

Gaze is an extremely powerful and important signal during human-human communication and interaction, conveying intentions and informing about other’s decisions. What happens when a robot and a human...
06 September 2021, by

Swimming robot gives fresh insight into locomotion and neuroscience

Scientists at the Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob) in EPFL’s School of Engineering are developing innovative robots in order to study locomotion in animals and, ultimately, gain a better understandin...
12 August 2021, by

We used peanuts and a climbing wall to learn how squirrels judge their leaps so successfully – and how their skills could inspire more nimble robots

How do they stick their landings? Alex Turton via Getty ImagesTree squirrels are the Olympic divers of the rodent world, leaping gracefully among branches and structures high above the ground. And as ...

A robotic cat can teach us how real animals move

By Mischa Dijkstra, Frontiers science writer / Toyoaki Tanikawa, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Osaka University In the young discipline of robotics-inspired biology, robots replace experime...
03 August 2021, by


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New algorithm flies drones faster than human racing pilots

To be useful, drones need to be quick. Because of their limited battery life they must complete whatever task they have – searching for survivors on a disaster site, inspecting a building, deliverin...
22 July 2021, by

What is the best simulation tool for robotics?

What is the best simulation tool for robotics? This is a hard question to answer because many people (or their companies) specialize in one tool or another. Some simulators are better at one aspect of...
20 July 2021, by

Face masks that can diagnose COVID-19

By Lindsay Brownell Most people associate the term “wearable” with a fitness tracker, smartwatch, or wireless earbuds. But what if cutting-edge biotechnology were integrated into your clothing,...
29 June 2021, by

Expectations and perceptions of healthcare professionals for robot deployment in hospital environments during the COVID-19 pandemic

The recent outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, caused by coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), also referred to as COVID-19, has spread globally in an unprecedented way. In response, the efforts ...

Slender robotic finger senses buried items

By Daniel Ackerman Over the years, robots have gotten quite good at identifying objects — as long as they’re out in the open. Discerning buried items in granular material like sand is a ...
27 May 2021, by

Helping drone swarms avoid obstacles without hitting each other

By Clara Marc There is strength in numbers. That’s true not only for humans, but for drones too. By flying in a swarm, they can cover larger areas and collect a wider range of data, since each dr...
20 May 2021, by

A robot that senses hidden objects

By Daniel Ackerman | MIT News Office In recent years, robots have gained artificial vision, touch, and even smell. “Researchers have been giving robots human-like perception,” says MIT Associa...
03 April 2021, by

Towards mapping unknown environments with a robot swarm

Mapping is an essential task in many robotics applications. A map is a representation of the environment generated from robots positions and sensors data. A map can be either used to navigate the robo...

System detects errors when medication is self-administered

From swallowing pills to injecting insulin, patients frequently administer their own medication. But they don’t always get it right. Improper adherence to doctors’ orders is commonplace, accountin...
19 March 2021, by

Maximum Entropy RL (Provably) Solves Some Robust RL Problems

By Ben Eysenbach Nearly all real-world applications of reinforcement learning involve some degree of shift between the training environment and the testing environment. However, prior work has obse...
15 March 2021, by

Self-supervised policy adaptation during deployment

Our method learns a task in a fixed, simulated environment and quickly adapts to new environments (e.g. the real world) solely from online interaction during deployment. The ability for hum...
26 February 2021, by

Soft robots for ocean exploration and offshore operations: A perspective

Most of the ocean is unknown. Yet we know that the most challenging environments on the planet reside in it. Understanding the ocean in its totality is a key component for the sustainable development ...
06 February 2021, by

Wielding a laser beam deep inside the body

A microrobotic opto-electro-mechanical device able to steer a laser beam with high speed and a large range of motion could enhance the possibilities of minimally invasive surgeries By Benjamin Boet...
04 February 2021, by

Robotic swarm swims like a school of fish

By Leah Burrows / SEAS Communications Schools of fish exhibit complex, synchronized behaviors that help them find food, migrate, and evade predators. No one fish or sub-group of fish coordinates th...
01 February 2021, by

Self-supervised learning of visual appearance solves fundamental problems of optical flow

Flying insects as inspiration to AI for small drones How do honeybees land on flowers or avoid obstacles? One would expect such questions to be mostly of interest to biologists. However, the rise o...
19 January 2021, by

How to keep drones flying when a motor fails

Robotics researchers at the University of Zurich show how onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably – even without GPS....
14 January 2021, by

Shaping the UK’s future with smart machines: Findings from four ThinkIns with academia, industry, policy, and the public

The UK Robotics Growth Partnership (RGP) aims to set the conditions for success to empower the UK to be a global leader in Robotics and Autonomous Systems whilst delivering a smarter, safer, more pros...
18 December 2020, by

Ultra-sensitive and resilient sensor for soft robotic systems

By Leah Burrows / SEAS communications Newly engineered slinky-like strain sensors for textiles and soft robotic systems survive the washing machine, cars and hammers....
02 December 2020, by

Showing robots how to drive a car… in just a few easy lessons

By Caitlin Dawson USC researchers have developed a method that could allow robots to learn new tasks, like setting a table or driving a car, from observing a small number of demonstrations....
27 November 2020, by

Drones that patrol forests could monitor environmental and ecological changes

By Caroline Brogan Imperial researchers have created drones that can attach sensors to trees to monitor environmental and ecological changes in forests....
06 November 2020, by

A raptor-inspired drone with morphing wing and tail

By Nicola Nosengo NCCR Robotics researchers at EPFL have developed a drone with a feathered wing and tail that give it unprecedented flight agility....
31 October 2020, by

RoboTED: a case study in Ethical Risk Assessment

A few weeks ago I gave a short paper at the excellent International Conference on Robot Ethics and Standards (ICRES 2020), outlining a case study in Ethical Risk Assessment - see our paper here. Our c...
28 October 2020, by

Lily the barn owl reveals how birds fly in gusty winds

Scientists from the University of Bristol and the Royal Veterinary College have discovered how birds are able to fly in gusty conditions – findings that could inform the development of bio-inspired ...
26 October 2020, by

Robot swarms follow instructions to create art

By Conn Hastings, science writer Controlling a swarm of robots to paint a picture sounds like a difficult task. However, a new technique allows an artist to do just that, without worrying about pro...
18 October 2020, by







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