Robotics

Volvo garbage truck concept has a robot do all the lifting

Volvo garbage truck concept has a robot do all the lifting

Volvo has just announced a new joint venture product that aims to develop small, quiet robots that pick up your trash. Dubbed ROAR, for Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling, the robots act as assistants to garbage truck drivers, taking care of the heavy lifting so they don't have to, and performing the task much more discreetly than the loud automated claw arms (seen above) in wide use today. It also helps to make the idea more appealing with the robots' concept design looking like something right out of a Pixar movie.

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DARPA’s robo-chopper legs sneer at your helipad

DARPA’s robo-chopper legs sneer at your helipad

DARPA has revealed a new prototype landing gear for helicopters that could drastically improve the already maneuverable aerial vehicles. One of the main handicaps with helicopters is that require a stable, flat surface to land on, something that can be rare to come by in environments where helicopters need to operate most. DARPA's solution is essentially four robotic legs with multiple joints that can easily adapt to landing on angled or even moving surfaces.

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DARPA’s new prosthetic limb lets paralyzed man feel objects

DARPA’s new prosthetic limb lets paralyzed man feel objects

Prosthetic limbs have become nearly science fiction-like in their sophistication, allowing the human mind to control robotic arms and hands in a way similar to how one controls their own limbs. DARPA is counted among the research entities developing this technology, and it has recently taken it a step further, using neurotechnology to enable a paralyzed individual to "feel" objects through a prosthesis. The prosthetic is sensitive enough that sensations touching each finger could be discerned individually.

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Poor baby BB-8 already gets a gruesome teardown

Poor baby BB-8 already gets a gruesome teardown

Sphero really made headlines when it revealed the mini BB-8, a smartphone controlled miniature version of what will be the next lovable mascot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Immediately, the small rolling droid endeared itself to many, especially considering it was made available on #ForceFriday. But as cute and lovable as the BB-8 maybe, inquisitive minds can't but help try to pry into the small robot and see how it works. Yes, the BB-8 just got a teardown and it's not for the faint of heart.

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Driving a robot vacuum cleaner is surprising fun

Driving a robot vacuum cleaner is surprising fun

Sometimes it feels like everything is joining the Internet of Things, no matter how tenuous, but it turns out remotely controlling your robo-vacuum is great. Neato has brought its Botvac Connected to ShowStoppers at IFA 2015, a connected version of its automated vacuum cleaners, which gives you the choice of either leaving it to its own devices or being a bossy housekeeper.

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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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