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MIT Phase-Changing Robots Switch Between Hard, Soft States
07/15/14 — Robots that change between solid to squishy material as needed are being made by academic researchers in league with private industry and the federal government. The practical implications include delicate internal surgery and search-and-rescue scenarios, both arenas wherein robots that could transform as needed would shine, according to engineers at MIT who have worked on the project with firm Boston Dynamics, DARPA's ChemBot program, the Max Planck Society and State University of New York at Stony Brook. "The MIT approach … involves taking a material or structure that's inherently soft and modifying it with another material that can phase change between hard and…


Robots with Green Thumbs in Space: Yes, It Could Happen
07/10/14 — Robots gardening in space. Yes, you read that right. Astronauts need to eat, and the government and a small group of graduate students are figuring out a way to grow food with help from robots to grow fruits and vegetables on the way to another planet. The University of Colorado Boulder team’s entry in the eXploration HABitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge is called “Plants Anywhere: Plants Growing in Free Habitat Spaces.” This approach calls for plants to be distributed in any available space in a deep-space habitat. Heather Hava who is working on a doctorate in aerospace engineering sciences and bioastronautics,…



Study: How to Reduce Power Consumption of Robots by 40%
07/03/14 — Industrial robots make certain production jobs easier, but they also use a lot of energy. And some are quite jerky in their movements, which adds to the amount of energy being used. Unai Ugalde-Olea, a lecturer in the UPV/EHU's Department of Electronics Technology at the Industrial Technical University School in…

hitchBOT Robot Tries to Hitchhike Across Canada
06/26/14 — In a refreshing role reversal, a robot is now going to have to trust human beings and will be depending, as Tennessee Williams once put it, on the kindness of strangers. That's the plan of Canadian college professors starting next month as they will chart the progress of a hitchhiking…

Soft Robotics Gets a Boost from Innovative Sewing
06/16/14 — An ordinary sewing machine could help make soft robotics capable of stretching up to 500 percent, which could lead to innovations on robots with humanlike sensory skin and synthetic muscle. So say scientists at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., in a recently released paper detailing the findings of a…

Can Drones, Self-Driving Cars Work Together?
06/12/14 — What's better than one robot? Two robots, especially when they combine the best of air and ground technology and keep humans safe. Scientists are now testing whether drones and self-driving cars can cooperate to survey a dangerous territory, working currently in a hypothetical scenario involving environmental toxins. VentureBeat reports that the…

Meet Jimmy: Intel’s 3D-Printed Humanoid Robot
06/04/14 — Intel debuted at the Re/code Code Conference a 3D-printable robot it hopes to bring to the masses by the end of 2014. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich walked onto the stage with Jimmy the Robot, a two-foot-tall, customizable, humanoid robot that can be programmed to sing, dance and tweet. Jimmy the…

Can Wasps Revolutionize Robotic Surgery?
05/30/14 — Researchers from Indian Institute of Science have found that the egg-laying organs of wasps (ovipositors) have saw-like teeth coated with zinc. They lay eggs inside figs by drilling into the fruit. Insights gained from this study may help build tools that can aid in robot-assisted surgery, and novel mechanisms to…

Researchers Working on Better Grip for Robots
05/22/14 — Researchers at the University of Birmingham are developing a new method of teaching robots to pick up unfamiliar objects without dropping or breaking them. The researchers are programming a robotic hand to pick up an object and "then to use information learned in that first grip to grasp and move a…

$5M Unmanned Submarine Implodes at Bottom of Ocean
05/15/14 — A multimillion-dollar unmanned submarine has imploded during the final stages of a 10-kilometre dive into the Pacific Ocean, according to multiple reports. The Nereus submarine was lost on May 10 while diving in the Kermadec Trench, northeast of New Zealand. The US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), owner and operator…

NASA Tests Robotic Planetary Lander
05/08/14 — A prototype Morpheus lander from NASA named Bravo landed safely on a mock lunar landscape this week in Florida as part of its twelfth test flight at the Kennedy Space Center. The robotic vehicle uses automated landing and hazard avoidance technology (ALHAT) with a 400-pound suite of computers and three…

Do Robots Need Parental Controls?
05/01/14 — Older adults' fears that companion robots will negatively affect young people may create design challenges for developers hoping to build robots for older users, according to Penn State researchers.Companion robots provide emotional support for users and interact with them as they, for example, play a game, or watch a movie.Older…

NASA’s LADEE Moon-Orbiting Robot Crashes
04/18/14 — NASA's robotic moon explorer, LADEE, is no more. Flight controllers confirmed Friday that the orbiting spacecraft crashed into the back side of the moon as planned, just three days after surviving a full lunar eclipse, something it was never designed to do. Researchers believe LADEE likely vaporized upon contact because…

MIT Builds Voice-Controlled Robotic Wheelchair
04/16/14 — Working out of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Matt Walter and Sachi Hemachandra have built something that could revolutionize the way people with progressive neurological conditions get from place to place — it's a robotic wheelchair that understands basic voice commands for navigating around a space. After building…

SpaceX Sending Robotic Capsule to Space Station
04/10/14 — A private spaceflight company will launch its third robotic resupply mission to the International Space Station next week. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's unmanned Dragon vehicle loaded down with supplies is expected to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 14. This will be…

New Yaskawa Motoman STEM Robotics Platform Promotes Workplace Skills
04/03/14 — A new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) robotics platform from Yaskawa Motoman will soon help students in secondary educational programs practice skills in advanced manufacturing and robotics. The company announced it is available in a general-purpose platform and a welding education cell, two fast-rising employment areas. The platform reportedly…

Robotic Telescope Discovers 2 Alien Planetary Systems
03/27/14 — The world’s first robotic planet-hunting telescope has bagged its first planets. The Automated Planet Finder (APF) – a 2.4-metre telescope located at Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton in California – started its self-directed operation in January, and has just confirmed the existence of two new systems of planets. “It’s just…

Robotnaut 2: First Humanoid Robot in Space
03/19/14 — The first-ever functional humanoid robot in space is almost here. A SpaceX rocket on a recent resupply mission to the International Space Station carried a set of programmed legs for Robonaut 2 aka R2, a humanoid torso already on board the station. Uniting legs with torso will make R2 operational,…

Lockheed Martin, NASA Collaborate on Deep Space Robots
03/12/14 — In a breakthrough that will help make it possible for astronauts and robots to work together in deep space, researchers at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center (ATC), working with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station, have demonstrated coordinated control of robots in space by astronauts in space and…

Nao Humanoid Robot Can Keep Secrets
03/06/14 — Dying to share a secret but can't trust anyone? How about sharing it with your robot? Robots that can keep secrets are presently being designed by scientists from Britain. Humanoid robots are not just the stuff of science fiction — these computing devices are likely to be walking around our…




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