Robotics

Sony unveils KOOV robotics kit for education

Sony unveils KOOV robotics kit for education

Never before has robotics taken a more mainstream role in the world, from Amazon's busy workers to drones to self-driving cars. Thanks to advancements not only in technology but also in the science of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the promise, and to some the threat, of robots are near fulfillment. Suffice it to say, robotics will be a one of the main topics in science and technology education in the years to come. Which is why Sony is announcing KOOV, an educational kit for robotics and programming for primary schools.

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Researchers create robotic octopus skin that’s soft, stretchy, and changes colors

Researchers create robotic octopus skin that’s soft, stretchy, and changes colors

A team of scientists at Cornell University have developed a skin-like material that is not only soft, flexible, and capable of stretching to six times its original size, but features robotics such as color-changing displays and pressure sensitivity. If you've had a fear of robot octopuses before now, your nightmares are coming true. With cephalopods as their inspiration, the engineers imagine the technology could not only lead to soft, adaptable robots, but to stretching and folding display screens.

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Neato Botvac Connected: smartwatch controlled

Neato Botvac Connected: smartwatch controlled

Apple Watch and Android Wear users will be able to control the likes of the Neato Botvac Connected as its updated this year. The Neato robot will work very similar to what you've come to expect from a robot vacuum - cleaning your home automatically. What it will also do is respond to your commands - from your wrist. This action will work via the same Wi-Fi network as the vacuum robot - hopefully keeping your cleaning activities private as it does so.

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Humans might be too trusting of robots in emergencies

Humans might be too trusting of robots in emergencies

The stereotype around robots is that most humans are afraid of them, either because they'll take over jobs or take over the world. In an almost ironic twist of fate, however, it seems that humans might actually trust this metal creatures in case of an emergency. In fact, they might actually trust them too much, even when all experience and reason tells them not to. That was was the bizarre finding that a Georgia Tech research arrived at when testing human and robot interaction in emergency situations, believe to be the first ever study of its kind.

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DJI is now offering drone insurance to cover crash repairs

DJI is now offering drone insurance to cover crash repairs

Personal drones are quickly becoming one of the hottest high-tech toys around the world, and with more drones in the air, that means increased chances of accidents. That's why DJI, one of the leading drone manufacturers — and the makers of some of the most expensive models — has just announced its own protection plan that will cover the cost of repairs in the event of an accident, even when it's caused by the operator.

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Volvo’s drone-guided garbage-lifting robot is now a working prototype

Volvo’s drone-guided garbage-lifting robot is now a working prototype

First announced back in September, Volvo's concept of a small, autonomous robot that picks up and empties trash bins now has a working prototype. The project is dubbed "Roary," for Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling, and also involves waste recycling company Renova, as well as universities in Sweden and the US.

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Mercedes is ditching some robots in favor of human staff

Mercedes is ditching some robots in favor of human staff

Our dystopian all-robot future just got hit with a minor setback: Mercedes-Benz is ditching some of its robot workers in favor of humans, citing the human ability to move faster and perform a wider array of tasks. The reason largely revolves around Mercedes’ increased array of customization options — there are so many different individualization options at the moment that robots aren’t able to deal with them all. Humans, the auto maker says, are saving the company money.

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Look Ma, no cables! Next gen ATLAS robot is quieter, freer

Look Ma, no cables! Next gen ATLAS robot is quieter, freer

It seems that the original ATLAS might indeed be left for household chores if Boston Dynamic's version 2 becomes the biped robot to beat. The now Google-owned robotics company has just released a video showing off what it calls the "next generation" ATLAS robot. Calling it simply "next gen" or even version 2.0 might be something of an understatement, considering the remarkable improvement the newer robot has over its predecessor in terms of mobility, intelligence, and, perhaps most importantly, reduction in noise when the robot does start to move.

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Mind-controlled prosthetic arm can wiggle its fingers

Mind-controlled prosthetic arm can wiggle its fingers

Prosthetic research has progressed rapidly over the past few years, with researchers demonstrating increasingly fine and complex control, in some cases using direct brain connects to facilitate the movements. The industry has just unveiled yet another milestone, with John Hopkins researchers successfully demonstrating individual prosthetic finger movements performed via mind control.

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Wasp GPS could help smart drones find home faster

Wasp GPS could help smart drones find home faster

A decade of research figuring out how wasps navigate could help drones and self-piloting robots fly smarter, researchers in Australia claim, having concluded that once again nature has proved itself smarter than human inventors. The team examined the flight behaviors of ground-nesting wasps, which can fly significant distances but still find their way back home after foraging.

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DARPA is launching an autonomous, submarine-hunting robot ship in April

DARPA is launching an autonomous, submarine-hunting robot ship in April

As the division of the US military most responsible high-tech developments, DARPA has announced that April will the launch of a futuristic ship that is designed to detect and fight submarines at sea. But the thing is, the ship doesn't even have a crew; it's completely autonomous. That means it's basically a robotic, submarine-hunting drone yacht. Unfortunately, because it's the military, they have to give it an acronym for its long, ridiculous name, instead of just calling it an "autonomous submarine hunter."

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Forget the mini BB-8, get a life-size one this year

Forget the mini BB-8, get a life-size one this year

Sphero's BB-8 toy was the must-have item last year for Star Wars fans, with the droid's rolling sphere body and head that stays upright perfectly replicated in miniature form. This year, however, a new form of BB-8 is going to take homes by storm, and this time it's life-size. At the 2016 New York Toy Fair this weekend, toy-maker Spin Master has unveiled a life-size BB-8 from The Force Awakens, and not only is it controlled via remote, but it will respond to voice commands too.

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