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All Stories Filed in Design & Development
1,000 Kilobot Swarm Shows the Future of Robotics
08/21/14 — The first thousand-robot flash mob has assembled at Harvard University. "Form a sea star shape," directs a computer scientist, sending the command to 1,024 little bots simultaneously via an infrared light. The robots begin to blink at one another and then gradually arrange themselves into a five-pointed star. "Now form the letter K." The 'K' stands for Kilobots, the name given to these extremely simple robots, each just a few centimeters across, standing on three pin-like legs. Instead of one highly-complex robot, a "kilo" of robots collaborate, providing a simple platform for the enactment of complex behaviors. Just as trillions…


Engineers Designing More Agile Robotic Legs for Uneven Ground
08/14/14 — Horses and other animals inspire new designs for smarter, faster, more agile robotic legs. One of the major challenges in robotics is designing robots that can move over uneven, loose or unexpected terrain.With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), computer engineer Luther Palmer and his team at the Biomorphic Robotics Lab at the University of South Florida are designing computer simulation models for the next generation of robotic legs, and then building them in the lab. The team studies the biomechanics of animals adept at running on rough ground, such as horses, to program the algorithms that power computer…



Researchers Developing Mind-Controlled Robotic Legs
08/06/14 — Thought-controlled robotic legs may still seem like the stuff of sci-fi, but for a group of scientists at the University of Houston in Texas, it is already a reality. A research group led by electrical and computer engineering expert Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal is working on a brain-machine interface that could…

Learn How 3D Printing has Revolutionized Manufacturing
07/30/14 — FISHER/UNITECH, a top reseller of SolidWorks 3D design software and Stratasys 3D Printers, will host a technical counsel on the advancement of 3D printing on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM at Automation Alley, located at 2675 Bellingham Dr. in Troy, MI.  FISHER/UNITECH has partnered with Stratasys Corp and…

Can a Robot Learn How to Build Lego Turtles?
07/24/14 — If we want to build our robot army of helpers, everyone needs to pitch in. That's the conclusion drawn by a team of electrical engineers from the University of Washington, which harnessed the power of the crowd to teach a robot to build a Lego turtle. Just as Siri and…

Meet Jibo: A Social Robot Designed to be Part of Your Family
07/17/14 — Cynthia Breazeal, an MIT professor and pioneer of social robotics, has unveiled Jibo, a desktop-sitting robot that is designed to be an interactive companion and helper to families. Dubbed "the world's first family robot," the 11-inch-tall robot will have a variety of abilities that will help people manage their daily…

Robotic Hand Can Feel and Function Much Like a Real One
07/10/14 — A robot hand that “knows” both how -- and how hard -- to grip objects of widely differing size and delicacy is being developed by ShadowRobot. In both photos and videos released in recent days, the dramatic-looking, shiny black hand is shown variously holding a light bulb, a business card,…

Meet BugJuggler: The 70-foot, Car-Juggling Robot
07/03/14 — Former NASA engineer Dan Granett thinks he's created the "new frontier in robotic entertainment." We're not so sure we agree, but fans of the 1999 film Iron Giant will certainly be on board. Granett has designed a 70-foot-tall robot called BugJuggler that can juggle three cars, namely a Volkswagen Beetle…

Tokyo Science Museum ‘Hires’ Humanoid Robots
06/26/14 — Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro has been creating humanoid robots for years, and his latest creations might be the most humanlike. The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Japan has added humanoid robots to its staff to show visitors around the science museum in Tokyo. Otonaroid is working…

Self-propelled Robot Accurately Pinpoints Pipe Leaks
06/19/14 — Researchers at MIT and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Saudi Arabia are working on a robot that quickly and accurately detects pipe leaks "by sensing a large pressure change at leak locations." MIT News says the robot can "detect leaks of just 1 to 2 millimeters…

Harvard Develops 3D-Printed, Robotic Lamp That Folds
06/11/14 — If you like your robots small and cute, then you won’t want to miss the 3D-printed, self-folding robotic reading lamp. Researchers from the Harvard Microrobotics Lab are behind the project, they're the same folks now developing the RoboBee. The lamp was just demonstrated at the International Conference on Robotics and…

How to Bake Your Own Robot
06/05/14 — Intel just announced Jimmy the Robot, a 3D-printed, customizable robot for consumers. But researchers at MIT, the University of Zurich, and the University of Tokyo, want to take the at-home building of robots out of the office and into the kitchen. The process, known as self-folding, allows consumers to essentially…

Google’s Self-Driving Cars: Where Will They Take Us?
05/30/14 — My brother-in-law, the muscle-car maven, would call this tiny, rounded auto the ultimate "pregnant rollerskate."Atlantic Magazine is calling it "adorable" and speculating on whether Google's motives for developing it are somehow nefarious.Google, for its part, apparently views it as reinventing the wheel, a revolution on wheels – but one which…

Self-Assembling Roombots Morph into Furniture
05/22/14 — Lego meets Transformers. Inventors in Switzerland have devised modular robotics called Roombots – motorized half-spheres with retractable grippers – that transform into various forms of furniture at will. Chairs, benches tables – it's not merely form follows function, but furniture facilitating the future.The furniture changes shape and function depending on…

Why All the Buzz About Robotic Bees?
05/13/14 — There’s been quite a bit of buzz recently about “robot bees” and a fictional dystopian future in which they replace – and possibly even kill off – nature’s own version. The apparent intent of the video from Greenpeace - a clever parody of slick “corporate responsibility” videos complete with cute…

Volvo Tests Self-Driving Cars on Public Roads
05/07/14 — Volvo has joined Google and others in testing self-driving cars on public roads. The first phase of Volvo's Drive Me project is underway testing semi-autonomous vehicles on 30 miles of commuter routes around Gothenburg, Sweden. The technology, which Volvo is calling Autopilot, can now handle lane following, speed adaption and…

Thumbles’ Tiny Robots Add Controls to Touchscreens
05/01/14 — If there's still one complaint we all have about touchscreens, it's that we sometimes miss physical buttons. Whether it's a game controller, or a keyboard, having tactile feedback is often a better solution - sometimes. This is what led to the development of these tiny robot Thumbles that roll onto…

Google’s Project Tango Helps Robots on International Space Station
04/23/14 — Google’s technology will soon enter into new territory: space. NASA has announced plans to take advantage of Project Tango on board  the International Space Station to guide SPHERES robots’ navigation within the facility. SPHERES are zero-gravity autonomous machines being developed to serve as robotic assistants to help astronauts and independently…

Mini Robot Printer is Like an Ink-Squirting Roomba
04/16/14 — Designed by Zuta Labs and now on Kickstarter, the Mini Mobile Robotic Printer is one for the mobile age. It cleverly sheds the bulk of consumer printing by re-imagining what a printer actually is. Printers, of course, are annoyingly big pieces of hardware that remain tethered to our desktops, a…

MIT Developing Paper Robots People Can Print at Home
04/10/14 — MIT's Ankur Mehta is lead researcher on a project that quite literally enables people to print robots on a standard piece of paper at home. It might sound crazy, but there's a lot of complicated math to back up the fact that you can create nearly any shape you like…




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