Robotics

Google buys Boston Dynamics for terrifying robot expertise

Google buys Boston Dynamics for terrifying robot expertise

Google has acquired robotics engineering firm Boston Dynamics, known for its animal-like BigDog, WildCat, Cheetah, and Atlas robots, as former Android chief turned Google-robot lead Andy Rubin increases the search giant's "moonshot" efforts into the field. The deal was confirmed late Friday, the NYTimes reports, and will see Boston Dynamics continue its existing military contracts; according to Google execs, however, the company has no plans on becoming a military contractor on its own. Instead, it looks likely that projects like the DARPA Robotics Challenge are more in Google's sights.

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NASA’s ISS Robonaut 2 will soon have a pair of legs

NASA’s ISS Robonaut 2 will soon have a pair of legs

Robots might not be at a Terminator level of sophistication, but the technology is growing rapidly, and NASA has revealed what it calls "another milestone" in humanoid space robotics: legs for the Robonaut 2, more commonly called R2. The agency's engineers are presently working on the climbing legs, which will give the robot a new degree of mobile freedom, enabling it to perform more tasks than currently possible.

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Flying robot designed using jellyfish as inspiration

Flying robot designed using jellyfish as inspiration

When it comes to flying creations, inspiration is often gathered from a common pool of creatures: birds, insects, maybe a dragon or two. Researchers at New York University went a more unconventional route, and designed a flying robot based on, of all things, a jellyfish. The robot doesn't need water to pull off its gravity-defying maneuvers, however, prompting the creators to call it an "aerial jellyfish".

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Virtual simulation and robotic butt named Patrick offers med students hands-on practice

Virtual simulation and robotic butt named Patrick offers med students hands-on practice

Earlier this month, comedian Rob Delaney caught attention after tweeting an image of a man performing an, shall we say, invasive exam on a robotic butt positioned in front of a large monitor displaying a virtual doctor's examination room. The tweet provided no details about the image, and not being content with making ample backside jokes, some industrious folks have hunted down the story behind the intriguing image.

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US Army to deploy remote-controlled robotic infantry in the field within 5 years?

US Army to deploy remote-controlled robotic infantry in the field within 5 years?

The US Army could incorporate armed robots in the field within the next five years, according to a report by Computerworld. A recent demonstration at Fort Benning by four robotics companies showed mechanized infantry eliminating targets from 150 meters away. Military strategists were satisfied with the demonstration. As Lt. Col. Willie Smith put it: "We were pleased with what we saw here. The technology is getting to be where it needs to be."

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iStruct robot ape evolves upright as robo-spine research eyes space

iStruct robot ape evolves upright as robo-spine research eyes space

What took humans millions of years to achieve, Germany's robotic ape has done in moments, with a research project into artificial spines showing how a quadrupedal 'bot can evolve into a bipedal one. Three months ago, DFKI's iStruct robo-ape was wandering around on all-fours as engineers experimented with human-inspired skeletal systems for potential space exploration. Now, it's able to stand up and move around on two legs.

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