Robot

A humanoid robot now works at a Japanese department store

A humanoid robot now works at a Japanese department store

Uncanny valley once more strikes the world's favorite robot country, Japan. The country's collective fascination, sometimes even obsessions, over human-looking robots or androids sometimes take rather strange turns that could, at times cause both fascination as well as discomfort. The latest trend seems to be to put these androids, particularly gynoids or female-looking androids, in behind reception desks and concierges to greet customers and patrons. We've heard of the concept in the soon to be built Henn-na hotel. But you can already see one even today at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo.

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Sphero robot ball transformed into Star Wars’ BB-8

Sphero robot ball transformed into Star Wars’ BB-8

J.J. Abrams surprised and delighted Star Wars fans last week by revealing that the rolling and tumbling robot seen in the latest :Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer is actually a real rolling and tumbling robot and not just a piece of CG artistry. Naturally, it would inspire not only lovable merchandise somewhere down the line but even attempts at making one as early as now. That is probably the inspiration that took hold of industrial designer Christian Poulsen as he transformed a relatively nondescript Sphero robot ball into what could be the next most loved robotic mascot of the franchise.

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Star Wars’ R2-D2 themed jet plane takes to the skies

Star Wars’ R2-D2 themed jet plane takes to the skies

The Internet is ablaze with Star Wars news today. The latest discovery is that Japanese All Nippon Airways (ANA) is launching a Stars Wars themed jet decked out like everyone's favorite droid, R2-D2. ANA's newest droid themed passenger jet is a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. It's all a part of the new 5-year ANA Star Wars Project, so we may see some other costumed jets in our future, (I'm holding out for Yoda.) The jet will be flying international routes this fall.

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Futuristic robot chef uses hands to help in the kitchen

Futuristic robot chef uses hands to help in the kitchen

Everyone loves a home cooked meal, but would it taste the same if it was made by a robot? Moley Robotics just revealed its robot-chef, which uses sophisticated robotic hands to cook just like a human. It doesn't cook any faster than a human, so it's not going to revolutionize the industrial side of cooking. This bionic-chef is designed for home kitchens. The robo-chef has the aptitude to learn from a real chef's delicate movements. Motion capture technology relays all the actions of an actual person preparing the meal and translates the actions into moves for the robotic hands.

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South Korea to fight fire with fire, drones with drones

South Korea to fight fire with fire, drones with drones

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or something like that. When South Korea notice a drone, with a camera, hovering near its borders, it decided that it needed to protect itself from such unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs. And what better way to do that than by using another UAV. Roboticists at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology or KAIST are trying to develop drones whose sole purposes would be to intercept and disable other drones. It's like Robot Wars, except in the sky and for less entertaining purposes.

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Festo’s latest insect-like robots: BionicANTS, eMotionButterflies

Festo’s latest insect-like robots: BionicANTS, eMotionButterflies

The German robotics company, Festo, is up to its impressive tricks again, making robots that are modelled on real-life insects and animals. Festo has quite a penchant for animal-like robots, and its latest creations include BionicAnts which move like ants and can operate as a hive-minded group, eMotion butterflies which can flutter and fly, and the FlexShapeGripper which can pick up objects like a chameleon's tongue. These newest little bots join Festo's previous creations such as the BionicOpter robotic dragonfly and the pneumatically powered BionicKangaroo.

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mDrawBot 4-in-1 robot can draw you any picture

mDrawBot 4-in-1 robot can draw you any picture

Artists everywhere, take heed: there's a robot pining for your jobs, and it's pretty good at what it does. The mDrawBot is a 4-in-1 robot that is able to hold a pen or pencil and draw images onto paper, as well as laser engrave if the right hardware is equipped. The drawing capabilities aren't limited to paper, however -- it can draw on just about anything it can reach with its pen, including an easter egg. The four different modes are called mSpider, mEggBot, mScara, and mCar, each of which draw in different arrangements.

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Melchior mechanical time keeping robot is a table clock

Melchior mechanical time keeping robot is a table clock

I love the intricate pieces and workmanship that go into mechanical watches that don’t need batteries. It's very intriguing to think that someone somewhere designed all these gears and springs to make a watch keep accurate time without resorting to electrics. A mechanical watchmaker called MB&F has unveiled one of its tenth anniversary timepieces and it's not a wristwatch.

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Audi plans to have robots move cars around in the plant

Audi plans to have robots move cars around in the plant

Audi may have given its human employees to either rejoice or curse advancements in robotics technology. It is announcing the start of a testing phase for driverless transport systems, but this time it will not be the car itself that will be driving around. Instead, it will be a robot named Ray that will be lifting and transporting, not driving, cars that are still in production from one place to another. The car makers hopes that the new technology would make the production and logistics process more efficient, and maybe give their humans a break.

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