Robotics

3D printed seahorse tails inspire tougher robots

3D printed seahorse tails inspire tougher robots

Seahorses might not seem the ideal animal to inspire tough new robots, but torture-testing of 3D tail models suggests the whimsical creatures may be hardier than we think. Unlike most animal tails, which are circular in cross-section, seahorse tails are formed from square prisms, each surrounded by bony plates and interconnected by joints. Turns out, that unusual structure has some big advantages, which could lead to sturdy yet flexible search-and-rescue robots, or even new types of body-armor.

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US vs JP giant robot fight fantasy might be reality soon

US vs JP giant robot fight fantasy might be reality soon

If you pit a Gundam against a Jaeger, which one would win? While we are still probably decades away from seeing such a battle ensue, presuming there would ever be a justification for one, we can, perhaps settle for the next best thing. Or the next smaller thing. The gloves are off as US-based MegaBots Inc. has just issued a challenge to Japan's Suidobashi Heavy Industries for the robot battle of the decade. This is no almost comic Robot Wars. This is full scale, head-on Giant Robot Fight!

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LEGO Maker program aims to put robotic bricks in creators’ hands

LEGO Maker program aims to put robotic bricks in creators’ hands

LEGO announces their next effort to engage the creators of the world with LEGO "prototyping kits". These kits will be sent out to 50 "makers" as a part of their "Are You a LEGO Maker?" program, encouraging people to create the most innovative pieces of industrial design they can conjure up. With LEGO bricks, of course. LEGO is also providing makers access to a LEGO MINDSTORMS Expert Builder "who can offer suggestions and guidance" as well as inspiration from the Lemelson Center.

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Brick-laying robot can ‘3D print’ a home in two days

Brick-laying robot can ‘3D print’ a home in two days

Robots can do a lot of things, from smart pills to 3D printing an entire steel bridge. This robot-powered invention from Perth, Australia's Fastbrick Robotics can lay bricks more efficiently than a team of humans, building a brick exterior of a home in just two days. It's really a giant 3D printer for homes. The creators dubbed the robot Hadrian, named after the Roman emperor who built the vast, eponymous Hadrian's Wall.

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Robo-Mate exoskeleton gives industry workers a hand

Robo-Mate exoskeleton gives industry workers a hand

They actually give them two hands, two legs, and superhuman strength. Sort of. Dubbed as the first industrial exoskeleton, the Robo-Mate aims to literally take a load off labor workers shoulders, backs, and limbs and help them get through the most strenuous parts of their job. Although it's still a long way to go before a finished product is ready, the exoskeleton already shows promise, bringing a bit of robotics into the workplace without threatening to displace humans as the primary actors of the industry.

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SoftBank’s emotion-sensing robot Pepper goes on sale in Japan on June 20

SoftBank’s emotion-sensing robot Pepper goes on sale in Japan on June 20

SoftBank, one of Japan's three largest telecom companies, has just announced that Pepper, its "emotionally intelligent" robot, will finally begin limited sales on June 20th. The launch will be limited to just 1,000 units sold within Japan only, with robot priced at roughly $9,000, including several fees paid over a 3-year period. First unveiled last June, Pepper is said to be capable of understanding emotions including joy, sadness, and anger, as well as analyzing expressions, gestures, and voice tones.

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Moths could gift low-light vision to new micro-drones

Moths could gift low-light vision to new micro-drones

Moths might not be the first animals you'd think to emulate when you're designing new micro-drones, but robots could learn at lot from how their eyes work. A team at Georgia Institute of Techology figured out that moths can purposefully slow their brain activity so as to see better in low-light conditions, keeping their nectar-sipping position at flowers even when the plants are moving, and potentially opening the door to future machine vision systems that can react accurately even in the depth of night.

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Robot samurai is real: man, machine face off in swordplay

Robot samurai is real: man, machine face off in swordplay

Forget SkyNet. This is the robot you should be looking out for. We've seen quite a few robotic arms that move and grip with grace and finesse to replicate the capabilities of the human hand, but there is one case that requires an insane amount of grace, strength, and concentration that has not yet been tested on robots. Until today. Yaskawa Electronics has brought its MOTOMAN-MH24 robot to learn from and compete against Isao Machii, a 5-time world record holder in the art of iaijyutsu, combative quick-draw sword technique.

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Here are the big winners in DARPA’s Robotics Challenge

Here are the big winners in DARPA’s Robotics Challenge

A South Korean team has won DARPA's Robotic Challenge Finals, besting US rivals and taking home $2m after demonstrating its disaster-response 'bot. The robot, DRC-HUBO, beat out 22 other teams, each rising to the US government agency's challenge to create a machine able to enter hazardous areas - such as the radioactive zone left by the Fukushima nuclear explosion in 2011 - and carry out tasks that would normally demand human dexterity.

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DARPA Robotics Challenge seeks disaster response robots

DARPA Robotics Challenge seeks disaster response robots

Disasters happen, but humans have made great strides toward reducing their impact. Robots will prove to be one of the bigger assets we'll use to aid in future disaster situations, and work is underway now to make that a reality. DARPA has contributed a lot to the world of robotics, and to show off the tech that already exists is DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC); its finals are taking place today and tomorrow in California. Teams competing in the finals will scramble to create robots that, ultimately, have a relevance to disaster response needs.

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