Robotics

Nanabot to turn Windows Phone into robot brain

Nanabot to turn Windows Phone into robot brain

Windows Phone may not be the first platform you think about for robotics, but one developer is hoping to change all that with WowWee RoboMe integration putting Microsoft's speech recognition engine behind the wheel. Built around the same underlying technology that gives Windows Phone 8.1's Cortana digital assistant her brains and her voice, the Nanabot is intended more for play than for organizing your calendar.

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Octopus tentacles could teach more flexible robots

Octopus tentacles could teach more flexible robots

Octopus arms are laced with a special chemical that stops their hundreds of suckers sticking to themselves, researchers have found, allowing their flexible limbs to act semi-autonomously in ways that could have implications for tomorrow's robotics. The average octopus has nearly 2,000 suckers across its eight arms, but despite the potential for tying itself up in sticky knots, it never actually does. Now, we know why that's the case.

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Google’s self-driving cars still need work cutting out the meat

Google’s self-driving cars still need work cutting out the meat

Google is still actively pursuing self-driving car commercialization, though Sergey Brin's 2017 prediction may not come true as the company continues to develop their safety features and the high-definition mapping they need for successful navigation. Last year, Brin said he envisaged autonomous car tech being on the market within five years, though a new batch of hands-off test-drives suggest that not only is there still some ways to go before that's practical, but that Google is taking a markedly different approach to other self-driving projects.

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Robotic arm catches items midair, will beat you at tennis

Robotic arm catches items midair, will beat you at tennis

Robotics have come a long way, but there are still struggles with regard to movement. Natural human movement is hard to mimic, but a team of Engineers in Switzerland have created a robotic arm that can catch items thrown at it. By learning about the object being tossed, and anticipating movement, the arm can actively pursue targets and snag them out of mid-air.

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Crushed 6.2 miles underwater: Robo-sub lost at crazy depths

Crushed 6.2 miles underwater: Robo-sub lost at crazy depths

A moment of silence for a fallen explorer: one of the few submarines capable of exploring depths greater than six miles has been destroyed in action, with the unmanned Nereus sub believed to have imploded under the vast pressures of the Kermadec Trench. Neureus, built by the Deep Submergence Lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), had already navigated the deepest point in the ocean, Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, spending ten hours at depths as great as 35,768 feet.

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Dean Kamen’s incredible robot arm is good to go

Dean Kamen’s incredible robot arm is good to go

Dean Kamen's robotic prosthetic limb, the DEKA Arm System, has been granted FDA approval, with the DARPA-sponsored project controlled by electrical signals from sensors where it meets the wearer's limb. Dubbed "Luke" - a reference to Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars universe - the arm is a huge step forward from existing mechanical prosthetics, allowing for more detailed uses like turning keys and pulling zippers.

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Dean Kamen Interview: Tech Bubbles and “Pet Rock” Wearables

Dean Kamen Interview: Tech Bubbles and “Pet Rock” Wearables

Dean Kamen doesn't pull his punches. The creator of the Segway and the founder of FIRST - a charity that aims to make science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as enticing as sports and entertainment for young people across the world - has no time for gimmicks and refuses to allow "consumer fun" to distract him. I sat down with Kamen on the sidelines of the FIRST Robotics Championship 2014, to talk about the ways innovation has evolved, and why he thinks the current crop of wearables will go down in history alongside the hula-hoop.

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LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Review

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Review

The universe in which this LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 unit exists is not one made for a tiny, limited cross-section of creative children and those that want to see their models move. When you see "10+" on the package for the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, you’re going to need to understand that this does not mean it’s excellence is relegated to kids. You’re also going to need to recognize immediately that this is not just a toy - it’s a platform.

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Robot Love: Inside Dean Kamen’s FIRST Championship 2014

Robot Love: Inside Dean Kamen’s FIRST Championship 2014

The screaming in the stadium is so loud, I can hardly hear the announcer. Enthusiasm spills from the stands in waves; only gets louder when President Obama appears on the big screen for an unexpected address. The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis isn’t playing host to the Rams as usual, however; instead, the seats are filled with row after row of students from K-3 up to high school age, all here for the FIRST Championship 2014. Brainchild of Dean Kamen - better known perhaps for being the father of the Segway - this is no ordinary robotics competition.

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