Robot

Tensegrity robot can crawl into air ducts to clean them

Tensegrity robot can crawl into air ducts to clean them

By now, robot vacuum cleaners are no longer the oddity or novelty they were a few years ago, but despite their hi-tech functionality, they are mostly limited to cleaning the ground you walk on. Trying to keep ventilation and air ducts clean is an impossible task for these robots, given the cramped spaces and vertical elevations involved in the process. Enter DuCTT, or the Duct Climbing Tetrahedral Tensegrity robot, taking lessons learned from NASA's robotics research to keep the indoor air you breathe clean and healthy.

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Pepper robot’s first stop outside Japan is France [UPDATED]

Pepper robot’s first stop outside Japan is France [UPDATED]

Given the growing number of more human-looking robots as well as those that are supposedly "emotionally intelligent", there is once more a resurgence of debates surrounding these hi-tech computers encased in humanoid form. Despite that, it seems that Softbank's own Pepper is doing quite well in a limited Japanese market, well enough that Japanese telecom giant has taken the robot outside of the country for the first time. Sadly, it's not the expected US debut just yet. Instead, Pepper's first destination is France.

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Researchers give robot simulated neurons for travel

Researchers give robot simulated neurons for travel

Humans and animals alike are able to travel around in familiar places without using a map or getting lost; put the GPS away and pay attention to your surroundings, and you’ll quickly form a mental map of whatever unfamiliar place you’re visiting. This ability is due to two neuron types: grid cells and place cells, as they’re called. Scientists have recently used simulated versions of these cells to help a robot navigate.

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Algorithm teaches robots how to fall gracefully

Algorithm teaches robots how to fall gracefully

If you have ever watched video from humanoid robot competitions, chances are you have seen a robot fall. Watching toddlers can tell you that it can be hard for humans to keep their balance, but we all have built in instincts to put our hands down to brace the fall and protect ourselves from injury. Robots don't have instincts, so they have to be taught how to fall gracefully and that is where a new robot algorithm comes in.

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Researchers create jumping robot inspired by jumping spiders

Researchers create jumping robot inspired by jumping spiders

When most of us think of spiders, we think about little bugs that live in a web and try to catch bugs to eat. Not all spiders make webs though; some of them hunt their food and then jump to grab it. These jumping spiders are the inspiration behind a robot constructed at the University of Cape Town in South Africa called LEAP.

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Four-legged robot uses drone companion for trouble-scouting

Four-legged robot uses drone companion for trouble-scouting

Teams of robotics designers and researchers around the world are working hard to develop four legged robots with the aim of carrying equipment and supplies for workers and troops in the field. Part of designing those robots is devising a way that the bots can handle rough terrain without causing more harm than good for the humans working with them. A team of robotics designers from ETH Zurich's Autonomous Systems Lab has a new bot that pairs two systems for scouting terrain ahead.

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Sharp RoBoHoN is a robot with smartphone functions that can walk

Sharp RoBoHoN is a robot with smartphone functions that can walk

People like smartphones and they like robots so Sharp figured it would combine the two to create a strange device called the RoBoHoN. The device is a mobile phone robot that was created jointly with Tomotaka Takahashi's robot creators. The robot is able to walk on two legs and is dubbed the "next generation of mobile information communication terminal."

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Harvard’s robotic bee gets swimming ability

Harvard’s robotic bee gets swimming ability

Harvard’s robotic bee, aptly dubbed RoboBee, has been updated with new powers, in this case, swimming. The device is smaller than a paper clip and equipped with wings that allow it to fly around like an insect. It’s not the first tiny robot we’ve seen, but it is quickly becoming one of the most functional. Recently the researchers working on RoboBee revealed that it can now swim in water, making it suitable for at least two types of environments.

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Soft robotic hands no longer crush your objects

Soft robotic hands no longer crush your objects

Researchers at MIT have created a robot with the ability to identify the objects it picks up - at least their dimensions - by touch. This robot is working at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and utilizes a 3D-printed hand made with silicone rubber. Each of this robot's three fingers has sensors that, working together, are able to estimate the size and shape of an object. This system is accurate enough to allow the robot to identify objects from a set.

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Researchers use origami to build crawling, jumping robots

Researchers use origami to build crawling, jumping robots

One robot can can crawl on four "legs" without the need for any sort of motor. Another can jump to seven times its height. Both can fit on the palm of one hand. Yes, these are not your average robot and are not even close to any humanoid robot you may have seen. They look more like metallic origami figures, and that isn't that far from the truth. In fact, the researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne or EPFL in Switzerland call these robots as "robogami".

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Russian researchers make realistic robot cockroaches

Russian researchers make realistic robot cockroaches

Russian scientists have created what they say is the smallest robot ever, and it comes in the form of a lowly cockroach. The robot walks like the insect and, excepting up-close examination, looks like it, too. Unlike real cockroaches, though, this small robot could serve humanity is some important -- and maybe bothersome -- ways. As one example, robots could slip through cracks to search for survivors under rubble.

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Giant baby faced robot used to study infant expressions

Giant baby faced robot used to study infant expressions

Sure, a robot walking through the woods on its own is a bit disconcerting. A robotic big cat that can run you down? Worthy of some consternation. A robot with a giant baby face, though? Downright creepy. At least one such creation exists, however, thanks to a project by researchers at US San Diego. Among other things, the team found that babies and comedians have something in common.

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