The method geckos use to switch their sticky feet on and off could open the door to clever new adhesives or even robots that could by turns cling to walls or rocky surfaces but then spring away with minimal exertion. A forest of tiny hairs known as setae cover the lizards' feet, and researchers at Oregon State University have figured out how they can toggle the stickiness of those hairs.
A robotic butler is set to roam the corridors of the Aloft hotel in Cupertino, the first example of mysterious robo-startup Savioke's new plan to make service robotics mainstream. Dubbed A.L.O., the SaviOne "Butlr" is roughly three foot tall and topped with a touchscreen, and the Starwood chain hotel will trial how effective it is at delivering items like drinks and towels to guest rooms.
Samsung will be showing off a new robotic vacuum at the IFA 2014, the VR9000H POWERbot. With this new vacuum will come all the features you'd expect in a robotic vacuum, as well as a snazzy design that sets it apart from similar offerings (there will be a blue version released in South Korea, as well).
Robots are typically very complicated devices, full of parts that need a long assembly time and a myriad of hands working on them. A new concept may change that, as researchers at Harvard and MIT have been working on a robot that builds itself. Like a Transformer lying in wait, this one can morph into a new shape.
A self-balancing unicycle robot could be your next home or office security guard, if startup Roambotics has its way, trundling from room to room and wirelessly pinging out alerts to users' smartphones and tablets. Dubbed Jr., the wheel-shaped robot carries four cameras for near-360 degree video and still images, as well as microphones, WiFi, Bluetooth, and optional cellular connectivity.
If you didn’t think Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk was living the Tony Stark life before, today’s chatter should have you wondering if he’s pumped up about Avengers: Age of Ultron. This film is about artificial intelligence getting out of hand - exactly the subject of Musk’s most recent public set of comments. Even as he speaks, Musk continues to invest in AI companies, aiming to keep a watchful eye on the lot.
A little over a year after the first robot insect swarm was introduced by Harvard University’s Robert Wood, the bee problem in the United States hasn’t gotten any better. It’s not a problem of too many bees - on the contrary. Researchers are looking into ways to create artificial bees because of incredible losses of bees - and we need bees to pollinate the food we eat.
Sentient machines have long been considered an inevitable part of our future, and every year we come a little closer to seeing that belief become reality. DARPA has resulted in an impressive array of powerful machines, and researchers across the globe have tasked themselves with ever-improving our mechanical counterparts. Though there's still a long way to go before humanoid bots are working alongside us, the reality of interacting with robots in our everyday life has never been closer, and that poses a serious question: are we ready?