Items tagged with robotics

We all fear the day when humans end up under the mechanical thumbs of our eventual robot overlords, but for now, it's us who still reign over them. Such is also the result of a joint effort involving the Volvo Group and several partners to develop a robot that picks up trash under the supervision of a garbage truck driver. The project is called ROAR (Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling) and it's being developed by the Volvo Group, Chalmers University of Technology and Mälardalen University in Sweden, Penn State University in the United States, the waste recycling company Renova. What Volvo is... Read more...
Sexual fembots don't exist outside of Hollywood movies, but just in case they ever become a reality, robot ethicists (yes, there's such a thing) are already campaigning against having sex with robots. Those who support the "Campaign Against Sex Robots" feel that shagging with a scrap of parts resembling a person is unethical and "will contribute to gender inequalities in society." The campaign was borne out of a research paper by Kathleen Richardson, a senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. In it she points out that there are several initiatives... Read more...
Foxconn is one of the biggest manufacturers of Apple's iPhone handsets, along with electronic gadgets and gizmos from various other well known companies, and for now, all those devices still require a human element. However,  that might not always be the case as Foxconn dives deeper in robotics. What you may not realize is that Foxconn has been developing robotics technology for over a decade. The company's efforts have mostly flown under the radar, though it gained attention when its Japanese partner SoftBank trotted out a humanoid service robot called Pepper. That was in 2014. Foxconn's... Read more...
A group of French and American scientists publishing in the science journal Nature are reporting success in their attempt to develop software that allows damaged robots to quickly overcome many sustained injuries and continue with their tasks.  A major problem in robotics has long been the inability of the machines to deal with unexpected circumstances, and in the case of damage suffered in the performing of their duties, they will usually just ignore the problem and thus make the it all the worse. Now, though, with inspiration drawn from nature itself, the scientists... Read more...
Imagine going to the water's edge, wading into the sea, and dragging out...a blue whale. And not an easy to wrangle (comparatively speaking) baby blue whale either, but a fully grown, mature mammalian beast of the sea. This is the equivalency being offered to describe the astounding power of the oh-so-small MicroTug robot. Designed by engineers David Christensen and Elliott Hawkes at the Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab at Stanford University, MicroTugs are tiny robots — some just a measly 9 grams — that are capable of pulling objects that tip the scales at 2000 times their weight. Taking... Read more...
If Google isn’t getting under your skin yet, it might be in the future. Medical devices juggernaut Johnson & Johnson announced this week that one its companies is partnering with Google to create technologies that improve robot-enhanced surgeries. Ethicon makes surgical shears, staplers, and related equipment. Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters “Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that uses technology to give surgeons greater control, access and accuracy during the surgical procedure while benefitting patients by minimizing trauma and scarring, enabling accelerated... Read more...
Recently, we’ve seen robots being developed that are used for security, delivering food, and even for customer service. This time around, researchers at the Biomimetic Robotics Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a robot that takes its cues from the world’s fastest land animal that will hopefully be able to replace humans in dangerous operations. Called the cheetah, this robot’s form and function takes its cues from the land animal of the same name. While it can’t match the animal’s speed of 59 mph right now, the bot is capable of running at speeds of more than 10... Read more...
The 1980s taught us many things, one of them being that robot guards don't mess around. Remember the ED-209 Enforcement Droid in RoboCop? That's a prime example of why we don't want armed robots in charge of keeping the peace. But what about unarmed robots? You'll find them patrolling Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus, so mind your manners if you have cause to visit. These giant tin cans look like the lovechild of R2-D2 and Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet (yeah, we just went really old school). A company called Knightscope designs and builds these 5-feet security guards called K5, and each... Read more...
Pat Morita, best known for his role as Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid, departed this world nearly a decade ago, but his martial arts lessons live on. Not just by humans, either -- IHMC's Atlas robot has mastered the balancing part of the infamous crane kick that allowed Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) to take home the trophy in the All-Valley Karate Tournament. Atlas isn't yet able to pull off the full move, which involves a jump kick, but it can balance on one leg atop a column of cinder blocks while moving its arms up and down. That's impressive, and let's keep in mind that Atlas weighs 150 kilograms... Read more...
Cartoons taught us that robots mainly like to feast on oil, but then again, they also imparted other erroneous lessons, such coyotes being able to survive repeated falls off of cliffs -- beep, beep! Go ahead and color us intrigued, because it turns out robots have a taste for real human food. Or at least some do, such as the one developed in Thailand by Sirapat Pratontep, an expert in nanotechnology. A government-financed organization called the Thai Delicious Committee (yes, seriously) oversaw the development of the taster bot, or as it's more accurately described, an "intelligent robot that measures... Read more...
Technology isn't just about improving the speed of graphics cards to push more pixels on a display, nor is it limited to the pursuit of bigger and faster storage devices, though we're fans of such advancements. More than that, we're passionate about technology because of the wonderful things it can accomplish. Case in point, at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil this year, the first kick will be made by a teenager who is paralyzed from the waist down. Say what? There's no voodoo magic involved, just awesome technology. The teen will use a mechanical exoskeleton that he'll control with his brain.... Read more...
Everyone wants a vacuum that sucks, though some suck more than others. Such is the claim iRobot makes with its new Roomba 800 Series, the next generation Roomba cleaning system that really, really sucks (in a good way, of course!). In fact, iRobot claims its newest self-propelled vacuum is up to 50 percent better at picking up dirt, debris, and hair from your floor compared to previous models. The Roomba 800 series introduces new AeroForce Extractors that are designed to amplify suction. This technology also breaks down debris so that the Roomba no longer chokes on tangled hair, thereby requiring... Read more...
As it turns out, Lee Majors cost way too much as the six million dollar man; Rex, the world’s first bionic man, only costs about $1 million. Of course “Rex” isn’t actually a human, but he is a full-size replica of a human man, complete with a face, several artificial organs, robotic prosthetic limbs, and even a working circulatory system with artificial blood. He also “speaks”, and ladies--he’s a tall drink of water at six-foot-six. (Image credit: CBS News) Rex is the result of a project researchers put together for a television program in the UK called... Read more...
Yes, it's true machines pose a serious threat of human extinction (a group of Cambridge researchers thinks so, anyway), but they're so darn adorable, which is what might ultimately be our downfall. Until then, you might as well enjoy what our mechanical creations have to offer, like the real-life Pixar lamp that swings around and doesn't like to be turned off. The lamp's actual name is Pinokio and it was build by Victoria University of Wellington students. It wields a webcam, 6 servos, and an Arduino processor. "Pinokio is an exploration into the expressive and behavioral potentials of robotic... Read more...
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