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by   -   March 2, 2021

If you’ve ever swatted a mosquito away from your face, only to have it return again (and again and again), you know that insects can be remarkably acrobatic and resilient in flight. Those traits help them navigate the aerial world, with all of its wind gusts, obstacles, and general uncertainty. Such traits are also hard to build into flying robots, but MIT Assistant Professor Kevin Yufeng Chen has built a system that approaches insects’ agility.

A map of the unexplored ocean

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 of human activities and for the mitigation of climate change, as proclaimed by the United Nations. We are glad to share our perspective about the role of soft robots in ocean exploration and offshore operations at the outset of the ocean decade (2021-2030).

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 these movements, nor do fish communicate with each other about what to do next. Rather, these collective behaviors emerge from so-called implicit coordination — individual fish making decisions based on what they see their neighbors doing.

Interesting discussion with Prof. Ali Khademhosseini, CEO of the Terasaki Institute, and one of the pioneers of the Bioengineering field. Prof. Ali’s journey from Harvard and UCLA to the Terasaki Institute is truly inspiring. What does the institute do to bring a product to the real world? Learn about the design challenges of biomaterials, organs on a chip, and soft robotics in this episode of the IEEE RAS Soft Robotics Podcast.

How do honeybees land on flowers or avoid obstacles? One would expect such questions to be mostly of interest to biologists. However, the rise of small electronics and robotic systems has also made them relevant to robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). For example, small flying robots are extremely restricted in terms of the sensors and processing that they can carry onboard. If these robots are to be as autonomous as the much larger self-driving cars, they will have to use an extremely efficient type of artificial intelligence – similar to the highly developed intelligence possessed by flying insects.

Interesting discussion with Hod Lipson, head of Creative Machines Lab, Columbia University in New York. Can robots be self-aware? Can they design other robots and self-repair? Why should we evolve robots to do tasks that animals do so well? Why don’t we have useful autonomous robots in the real world yet? Find out Hod’s answers to these questions and updates on VoxCAD development for designing and simulation of soft robots in this episode of the IEEE RAS Soft Robotics Podcast.

interview by   -   December 16, 2020

Abate interviews Benjamin “Pietro” Filardo, CEO and founder of Pliant Energy Systems. At PES, they developed a novel form of actuation using two undulating fins on a robot. These fins present multiple benefits over traditional propeller systems including excellent energy efficiency, low water turbulence, and an ability to maneuver in water, land, and ice. Aside from its benefits on a robot, Pietro also talks about its advantages for harnessing energy from moving water.

Watch this episode on YouTube

by   -   October 31, 2020

By Nicola Nosengo

NCCR Robotics researchers at EPFL have developed a drone with a feathered wing and tail that give it unprecedented flight agility.

by   -   October 26, 2020

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 small-scale aircraft.

interview by   -   May 20, 2020

In this episode, Kate Zhou interviews Farrell Helbling, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Microrobotics lab, who has worked on developing the RoboBee, an insect-inspired robot that is the lightest vehicle to achieve untethered flight. Farrell discusses challenges with building the robot at centimeter-scale as well as integration of sensors and power electronics particularly in considerations with weight trade-offs.

by   -   October 30, 2019

with Guy Hoffman
Robotics Researcher, Cornell University

An Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium, co-sponsored by the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies and CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR), presented with Berkeley Arts + Design as part of Arts + Design Mondays.

As we continue to develop social robots designed for connectedness, we struggle with paradoxes related to authenticity, transience, and replication. In this talk, I will attempt to link together 15 years of experience designing social robots with 100-year-old texts on transience, replication, and the fear of dying. Can there be meaningful relationships with robots who do not suffer natural decay? What would our families look like if we all choose to buy identical robotic family members? Could hand-crafted robotics offer a relief from the mass-replication of the robot’s physical body and thus also from the mass-customization of social experiences?

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.


interview by   -   June 23, 2018

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Juxi Leitner, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at QUT; and Nicholas Panitz, Ben Wilson, and James Brett, from CSIRO.

Leitner speaks about the Amazon Picking challenge, a challenge to advance the state of robotic grasping, and their robot which won the challenge in 2017. Their robot is similar to a cartesian 3D printer in form and uses either a suction cup or a pinch gripper for grabbing objects. Their robot has a depth camera and uses a digital scale to determine if an object has been picked up successfully. Leitner discusses what their team did differently from other teams that helped them win the competition.

Panitz, Wilson, and Brett speak about their hexapod robots. Their hexapods are for several purposes, such as environmental monitoring and remote inspection. They choose to use hexapods because they are statically stable. They discuss the design of their hexapods and how research works at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO.

interview by   -   March 19, 2018

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Maja Matarić, a professor at the University of Southern California and the Chief Science Officer of Embodied, about socially assistive robotics. Socially assistive robotics aims to endow robots with the ability to help people through individual non-contact assistance in convalescence, rehabilitation, training, and education. For example, a robot could help a child on the autism spectrum to connect to more neurotypical children and could help to motivate a stroke victim to follow their exercise routine for rehabilitation (see the videos below). In this interview, Matarić discusses the care gap in health care, how her work leverages research in psychology to make robots engaging, and opportunities in socially assistive robotics for entrepreneurship.

interview by   -   March 4, 2018

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Monica Daley about learning from birds about legged locomotion. To do this, Daley analyzes the gaits of guineafowl in various experiments to understand the mechanical principles underlying gaits, such as energetic economy, mechanical limits, and how the birds avoid injury. She then tests her ideas about legged locomotion on legged robots with collaborators, including Jonathan Hurst from Oregon State University. Daley also speaks about her experience with interdisciplinary collaborations. 

Multi-Robot Learning
March 29, 2021

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