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Improving Robotics on Mars
08/07/13 — Since 1976, when the Viking 1 and Viking 2 landed on Mars, robots have explored, analyzed and photographed from the planet's surface. Controlling these devices has always posed a few challenges. Radio signals take about four minutes to reach Mars from Earth, making every robotic movement a delayed reaction. Another…

A Missing Leg Won’t Stop This Robot
07/31/13 — If the movies have taught us anything, it's that chopping a futuristic death robot's leg off does not significantly diminish its capacity to hunt you down. Want to know where that capacity for being utterly unstoppable came from? It's this, right here. After just 20 minutes worth of iterations, in…

Robotic Crab Can Navigate in Strong Underwater Currents
07/24/13 — One problem with conventional ROVs is that while their propellers are plenty strong enough to kick up columns of silt from the sea floor, they typically lack the power to effectively navigate in strong currents, which limits where and how well they can survey a given area. But this new…

Robotic Frog’s Mating Calls Pass the Test
07/16/13 — In my admittedly limited experience, no species (especially not humans) is particularly clever when it comes to properly interpreting mating calls. Let’s take the túngara frog as an example, because someone made a robotic one, so we can talk about it. The female túngara frog (they can be found hopping…

Robots Help Gain Insight Into Ant Brain
07/16/13 — Robots built to mimic ants suggest that real ants waste little, if any, mental energy deciding which way to go when they reach an uneven fork in the road, according to a new study. Instead, the ants just take the easiest route as dictated by geometry. "The shape of their…

Mainstream Agriculture Robotics Still a Ways Off
07/10/13 — Several businesses and organizations are working on robotics to solve problems relating to growing and harvesting plants and crops. These solutions are in various stages of development, from experimental to production. While the technology behind them is impressive, the overriding question is: Will these solutions ever be produced and used…

Robotic Probe Launcher Making Waves in Ocean Data Collection
07/02/13 — Our understanding of the ocean and its variability relies on the tools ocean scientists deploy to collect data. One tool routinely used is the eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT) probe, which is usually deployed by hand one at a time at sea. "We put a ship rider on board and they launch…

Robots See Hallucinated People
06/25/13 — A team of robotics engineers working in the Personal Robotics Lab at Cornell University (led by Ashutosh Saxena) has developed a new way to give robots a context-sensitive way to organize a room. Instead of providing the robots with a map, the researchers instead cause the robot to "imagine" how…

Robots Assemble…into Distributed Flight Array!
06/18/13 — “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” — a catch phrase that aptly expresses the Distributed Flight Array: a modular robot consisting of hexagonal-shaped single-rotor units that can take on just about any shape or form. Although each unit is capable of generating enough thrust to lift itself off…

Zoe Robot Hunts for Subsurface Life in Chile
06/12/13 — The autonomous, solar-powered Zoë, which became the first robot to map microbial life during a 2005 field expedition in Chile's Atacama Desert, is heading back to the world's driest desert this month on a NASA astrobiology mission led by Carnegie Mellon University and the SETI Institute. This time, Zoë is…

Lego and Sony Team Up to Make Real “Video” Games
06/03/13 — There are already a few ways you can make Lego robotics, including Lego Mindstorms -- the latest iteration of which includes support for smartphone control -- and, more recently, a Kickstarter campaign to get Raspberry Pi in on the action. The toy company, however, seems to be seeking new ways…

Researchers Study Ants’ Tunneling Techniques for Future Robotic Search and Rescue Models
05/30/13 — Ant farms aren’t known for much besides keeping children temporarily entertained. After all, it can be fascinating to watch the intricate series of tunnels in the sand be created and destroyed by small creatures that we generally consider pests. However, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found an…

UAVs Help Locate Oil Deposits in Norway
05/23/13 — Like an army, science needs the high ground. This is true when it comes to oil exploration and especially so in the rugged landscape of Norway. The Virtual Outcrop Geology (VOG) group at the Norwegian Centre for integrated petroleum research (CIPR) is working to capture this vantage point in a…

Harvard’s RoboBees on the Verge of Gaining Intelligence
05/09/13 — Harvard researchers have created a working prototype of a robotic bee and have been flying prototypes for months. The next step is equipping them with brains. That the bees, which are described as being half the size of a paperclip and weighing less than a tenth of a gram, can fly…

Rethink Releases Baxter for Academic Research
05/02/13 — Developers at Rethink Robotics in Boston have the newest version of the company’s flagship product, the Baxter Research Robot. The humanoid robot was developed for use in colleges and universities, and is designed to work alongside technicians and researchers.  Baxter has two seven-axis arms, a 360-degree sonar and a front camera for…

KUKA Robot Builds Ikea Furniture Via Kinesthetic Teaching
04/23/13 — Researchers from the Department of Advanced Robotics at the Italian Institute of Technology and the Institute of Robotics and IndustrialInformatics (News - Alert) at the Spanish National Research Council/Polytechnical University of Catalonia have developed a robot capable of learning by imitation, and have demonstrated this capability by teaching it to help build an IKEA table. In…

Robotics Student Simplifies Power Line Inspection
04/18/13 — Mechanical engineers at the University of California, San Diego invented a robot designed to scoot along utility lines, searching for damage and other problems that require repairs. Made of off-the-shelf electronics and plastic parts printed on an inexpensive 3D printer, the SkySweeper prototype could be scaled up for less than…

Swiss Space Systems to Construct Robotic Rocket
04/11/13 — A Swiss firm says it intends to construct a robotic rocket plane that will launch satellites into orbit off the back of a modified jetliner. Swiss Space Systems -- S3 -- says its unmanned suborbital shuttle could be traveling to launch height atop an Airbus A300 jetliner by 2017. "S3…




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