news    views    podcast    learn    |    about    contribute     republish    

Research & Innovation

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 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.

Drone with event camera

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.

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.

Winning team Circleg
Winning team Circleg

Finishing this series of CYBATHLON 2020 winners, today we feature the victory of the startup Circleg from Switzerland. We also had the chance to interview them (see the end of this post).

Did you manage to watch all the holiday robot videos of 2020? If you did but are still hungry for more, I have prepared this compilation of Science Magazine videos featuring robotics research that were released during last year. Enjoy!

by   -   December 22, 2020

Carlotta Berry

A few days ago, Robotics Today hosted an online seminar with Professor Carlotta Berry from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. In her talk, Carlotta presented the multidisciplinary benefits of robotics in engineering education. In is worth highlighting that Carlotta Berry is one of the 30 women in robotics you need to know about in 2020.

Winning team pilot Sander Koomen
Winning team pilot Sander Koomen

In continuation to this series of CYBATHLON 2020 winners, today we feature the victory of PULSE Racing from VU University Amsterdam. We also had the chance to interview them (see the end of this post).

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

On Friday the 11th of December, Nikolas Martelaro (Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute) gave an online seminar on ways robot design teams can do remote user research now (in these COVID-19 times) and in the future. If you missed it, you can now watch the recorded livestream.

HSR Enhanced team
Winning team: HSR Enhanced with pilot Florian Hauser

In continuation to this series of CYBATHLON 2020 winners, today we feature the victory of the HSR Enhanced team from the Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences (OST). In addition, we interviewed their team leader of this year, Christian Bermes.

Team Angel Robotics 1
Winning team: Angel Robotics with pilot Byeong-Uk Kim

The last edition of CYBATHLON took place on 13-14 November, 2020. This competition, created by ETH Zurich and run as a non-profit project, aims to advance in the research and development of assistive technology by involving developers, people with disabilities, and the general public. We had the chance to interview the winning team of the powered exoskeleton race, Angel Robotics from South Korea.

Sensor sleeve
Graduate student Moritz Graule demonstrates a fabric arm sleeve with embedded sensors. The sensors detect the small changes in the Graule’s forearm muscle through the fabric. Such a sleeve could be used in everything from virtual reality simulations and sportswear to clinical diagnostics for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s Disease. Credit: Oluwaseun Araromi/Harvard SEAS

By Leah Burrows / SEAS communications

Newly engineered slinky-like strain sensors for textiles and soft robotic systems survive the washing machine, cars and hammers.

interview by   -   December 2, 2020

In this episode, our interviewer Lauren Klein speaks with Kim Baraka about his PhD research to enable robots to engage in social interactions, including interactions with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Baraka discusses how robots can plan their actions across multiple modalities when interacting with humans, and how models from psychology can inform this process. He also tells us about his passion for dance, and how dance may serve as a testbed for embodied intelligence within Human-Robot Interaction.

Autonomous car identifying objects on the road
If robots could learn from watching demonstrations, your self-driving car could learn how to drive safely by watching you drive around your neighborhood. Photo/iStock.

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.

On Friday the 13th of November, Talking Robotics hosted an online talk with PhD student Natalia Calvo from Uppsala University in Sweden. Now you can watch the recorded seminar.



Deep Sea Mining
January 18, 2021


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