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All Stories Filed in Design & Development

Underwater Robots Inspired by Electric Fish
02/16/14 — Scientists are in the process of developing underwater robots that have been inspired by Amazon electric fish. The weakly electric black ghost knifefish of the Amazon basin has inspired Northwestern University's Malcolm MacIver and an interdisciplinary team of researchers to develop agile fish robots that could lead to a vast…

Marsupial Robotic System Surveys Innavigable Waterways
02/13/14 — The string of disastrous floods currently plaguing Britain demonstrate that managing rivers and other waterways is about more than protecting curlew nests and counting otters. To help provide a better understanding of riverine areas, a team headed by José Barata and Pedro Santana of the University of Lisbon is developing…

European Robot Senses and Learns Like a Honeybee
02/06/14 — Researchers of Freie Universität Berlin, of the Bernstein Fokus Neuronal Basis of Learning, and of the Bernstein Center Berlin and have developed a robot that perceives environmental stimuli and learns to react to them. The scientists used the relatively simple nervous system of the honeybee as a model for its…

Perching Drone Gets Leg Up on Competition
01/28/14 — Quadcopter drones are built specifically for an easy takeoff and stable flight, but landing can be a tricky task. They generally need to land on flat ground or risk toppling over. Bhargav Gajjar, a roboticist based out of MIT and Vishwa Robotics, has built a droneto solve that problem. According to New…

E-Whiskers’ High Sensitivity Helps to Perfect Robotics
01/22/14 — Whiskers are biological sensors—nature's adorable answer to overcoming poor eyesight and allowing nighttime navigation. Capable of detecting even the slightest wisps of air, whiskers help cats hunt in utter darkness and allow insects to negotiate tight spaces. Given recent advances in biomimicry, it was only a matter of time before scientists granted…

Jellyfish Robot Contracts Its Way through the Air
01/15/14 — A "flying jellyfish" machine that swims through the air has been developed by scientists who believe it offers an alternative strategy for getting off the ground. The device has "wings" that push downwards rather than flap, mimicking the pulsing movements of a swimming jellyfish. The machine may lend itself to…

Clawed Robotic Gripper Designed with Asteroids in Mind
01/08/14 — Scientists with NASA have developed a robot that's designed to help astronauts in future spacewalks get a grip on rough surfaces such as asteroids and comets. The automatic gripper can also hold on to overhanging rock surfaces, making it a robotic wall-climbing device that could be used to hold on to…

EZ Robot “Revolution” Line Sets Sights on Modular Robotics
01/02/14 — Ez-Robot, a small company based in Calgary, Canada, is aiming to start a new "revolution" in robotics. The company's new Revolution line is a series of small, hobby-sized robots with modular parts, easy-to-use features, and snap-together mechanics. The line consists of three new robot kits: a humanoid two legged walker,…

On Point: Robotic Cubli’s Superb Balance
12/24/13 — Created by Swiss researchers at Zurich's ETH Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, the Cubli has three internal spinning wheels, which provide a gyroscopic balancing force.  Cubli can be commanded to fall in any direction. Combining these three abilities—jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling—the Cubli is able to 'walk'." Inertial…

DelFly, the Autonomous Robot Dragonfly
12/18/13 — TU Delft researchers have developed the DelFly Explorer, the world's first Micro Air Vehicle with flapping wings that can avoid obstacles by itself. The uniqueness of this achievement lies in the DelFly Explorer's very low weight (20 grams, i.e. a few sheets of paper), and this opens up new possible…

Future Robots Have a Soft Side
12/11/13 — Someday soon, your life may be saved by a weird-looking octopus, squid, or caterpillar – a squishy, form-changing, animal-like device that’s actually a soft robot. Scientists are exploring the fluidity and deformable nature of animals like those mentioned above, as well as insects, starfish, and lizards. Their goal is to…

DIY Robotics Is Easy (and Colorful) with MOSS Cubelets
12/04/13 — Colorado-based Modular Robotics has taken its Cubelets robotic building blocks to the next level with MOSS, a modular robot construction system that requires no coding or wiring skills on the part of the user. The kits are made up of various modules that communicate with each other via a single button contact…

Sea Turtle Robot Flips Around Wrecks
11/27/13 — Diving shipwrecks can be dangerous work. As their name implies, these deep sea curiosities are underwater disaster zones that could trap an unwary diver. Robotic vehicles can help, but most are too big to explore the nooks and crannies and others get their power via a tether to the mothership…

Spherical Joint Mechanism Inspired by Penguins’ Rocket-Like Propulsion
11/20/13 — Back in 1991, Nature published a picture from the IMAX movie Antarctica, along with the caption: “Emperor penguins may be waddling jokes on land, but underwater they can turn into regular rockets…accelerating from 0 to 7 m/s in less than a second.” That’s all it took to inspire Flavio Noca,…

Copy Clams: Taking Robotic Engineering Cues from Mollusks
11/13/13 — Engineering has always taken cues from biology. Natural organisms and systems have done well at evolving to perform tasks and achieve objectives within the limits set by nature and physics. That is one of the reasons Anette Hosoi, professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studies snails.…

It Floats! It Flies! It Rolls! Meet the Quadcopter That Does It All
11/06/13 — The University of Tokyo has found a new approach to an old problem. The university's Department of Mechano-Informatics puts out some really interesting robotic projects that focus generally on assistive humanoids and intelligent robotic systems. This time, they wanted a robot that could vary its locomotion method by the situation.…

Slow to Start, Humanoid Zeno Has “Soul” and Smarts
10/30/13 — David Hanson, the one-time Walt Disney sculptor with the University of Texas at Dallas PhD, has long dreamed of the day when humanlike robots would become affordable enough for everyone to own at least one. Way back in 2007, at Wired‘s NextFest, Hanson introduced the world to his offspring, 17-inch-tall Zeno, modeled…

Meet Poppy, Not Your Average 3D Printed Robot
10/24/13 — A new 3D-printed robot called Poppy is helping a team of French researchers study bipedal walking and human-robot interaction. They were able to design, fabricate, and assemble a relatively large robot for around €8,000 (US$11,000) including servo motors and electronics. That's about a third the cost of commercial robots in…




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