Robotics

Boston Dynamics’ robot goes for unsettling outdoors jog

Boston Dynamics’ robot goes for unsettling outdoors jog

Despite all the concerns about artificial intelligence and the quick progression of the robotics' industry, it is easy to dismiss worry as neither technology is, as of now, ready for world domination. The robots don't yet look like anything we're inclined to anthropomorphize, many of them are clumsy, and they're usually shackled to a power cable tether. Boston Dynamics' has shattered that impression with its new unsettling video of one of its robots taking a jog through the woods.

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iRobot lawn mower given FCC approval in US

iRobot lawn mower given FCC approval in US

There's been rumors for years that iRobot has been working on adapting the technology behind the popular Roomba vacuum cleaner to create a robotic lawn mower. It turns out that the company has just been granted permission from the FCC to do just that, so now we know the plans are real. The approval revealed a few details about how the mower will work, but it seems we're still years away from having a flat, round robot take care of our lawn.

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MIT shows off trio of robots that work together to deliver meds and drinks

MIT shows off trio of robots that work together to deliver meds and drinks

One of the places that robots will eventually find themselves working is in the medical setting. There are shortages of qualified medical professionals around the world and that shortage leaves staff overworked at times. MIT researchers are showing off three robots that are designed to work closely together to get tasks done ranging from delivering medications to getting people drinks when they need them.

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MIT researchers create robot controlled by exoskeleton wearing human

MIT researchers create robot controlled by exoskeleton wearing human

If the DARPA robotics challenge has taught us anything, it's that creating a robot that can do basic things a human is capable of is very difficult to do. Robots in the DARPA challenge routinely fall down performing the most basic tasks like walking and are far from where they need to be to help humans in the real world. A group of researchers at MIT have taken a different approach to making a robot that can perform human tasks.

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Sphero SPRK edition gets education rolling

Sphero SPRK edition gets education rolling

Sphero might have been commissioned to create what could be the new Star Wars mascot, but it's definitely not pouring all its resources into that lone one hit wonder. While its main focus is still on its programmable robot ball, it is expanding its reach beyond just grownups. With the new SPRK edition, Sphero is trying to entice inquisitive young minds to take and adventure into the world of robotics, programming, and, in the final analysis, science and technology. All the while probably thinking they're just playing with a rather sophisticated toy.

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This Lego robot is controlled with a Lego exosuit

This Lego robot is controlled with a Lego exosuit

Now here's a Lego creation that's impressive! A humanoid robot with arms and legs is controlled with a wearable Lego exoskeleton. It should be obvious by now that this isn't an official upcoming kit from the Danish toy maker, but rather a DIY project from engineer Danny Benedettelli. The setup is powered by an Arduino hobbyist board, and the exosuit wearer is able to send commands from several feet away. When the suit's arms move, the robot's follow the same motion.

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Water Strider Robot can jump on water

Water Strider Robot can jump on water

If you look at the surface of a calm lake or pond, you will probably see little mosquito-like bugs zipping around the surface of that body of water. Those little bugs are known as striders and they are able to walk around on the surface of the water without getting wet. One of the things that striders are able to do is to jump off the surface of the water without breaking through the surface.

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Thor robot wins 2015 RoboCup in China

Thor robot wins 2015 RoboCup in China

There are more robotics competitions around the world than you can shake a stick at. Some of these competitions have robots trying to do things like drive cars and navigate obstacles in an effort to create a robot capable of saving people in a disaster. Other competitions are more laid back and feature robots that are designed to do human things like play soccer. A robot called Thor built by researchers from UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania has won a big soccer match.

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Sony to launch Aerosense drone company with ZMP

Sony to launch Aerosense drone company with ZMP

With some of their core businesses not doing well, you'd think Sony would want to hunker down and focus its resources on getting those in tip-top shape first. Instead, the Japanese tech giant is spreading its wings, almost literally. Now it is getting into the unmanned aerial vehicles or UAV, more popularly known as drones. In fact, it is partnering with old friend ZMP to start a new company named "Aerosense, Inc.", to be incorporated in August, to develop and launch the ultimate spy drones.

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ReWalk exoskeleton allows paraplegic to walk the streets and stairs

ReWalk exoskeleton allows paraplegic to walk the streets and stairs

ReWalk Robotics has an exoskeleton that is designed to allow paraplegics to walk again. That exoskeleton is called the ReWalk Personal 6.0. The man strapped on the exoskeleton and used it to walk up and down the streets of New York City. ReWalk says that it always intended the exoskeleton to be used in the community and that it didn't want to create a device only usable in physical therapy settings.

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NAO robot becomes self-aware very briefly

NAO robot becomes self-aware very briefly

OK, maybe now it's time to start worrying. While artificial intelligence has been making considerable progress, the doomsday scenarios painted by science fiction are still years, if not decades, away in the absence of one critical factor: self-awareness. Now that might actually start to be a concern. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Selmer Bringsjord demonstrated how those cute and polite NAO robots have been able to gain an extremely short instance of self-awareness. OK, maybe we don't need to panic just yet, but it's a start.

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Forget humanoid receptionists, Henn na Hotel has a dinosaur

Forget humanoid receptionists, Henn na Hotel has a dinosaur

If it weren't bad enough that robots might be taking over our jobs and our lives, some might even take the form of robot dinosaurs. Perhaps playing to the recent Jurassic World film, the Henn na Hotel in Japan, which opens Friday, a robot dinosaur, not in the playground or garden, but behind the receptionist's desk. Yes, this dinosaur is the receptionist, or at least one of two robot concierges at the hi-tech hotel. But don't be worried about being lost in dinosaur speak. Strangely enough, this is the one that speaks English.

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