Robotics

Strange Festo drone expels bottles right into your hand

Strange Festo drone expels bottles right into your hand

Some days you'll be working hard, and you'll get pretty thirsty. But have you ever been thirsty enough that you've thought to yourself "I wish there was a giant bubble that would expel a bottle of water right in front of me." Sure, that possibility might never have occurred to you, but prepare to have it haunt your dreams in the days to come, because it's a real thing.

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Alphabet unveils new bipedal robot that’s all legs

Alphabet unveils new bipedal robot that’s all legs

While the Google-parent company Alphabet is planning to sell its military-related robotics firm Boston Dynamics, that doesn't mean they don't have other robot projects in development. SCHAFT, which operates under Alphabet's X division (formerly known as Google X), has just unveiled a new bipedal creation in Japan at the New Economic Summit. The name is still unknown, but the bot is capable of climbing stairs, walking across uneven terrain, and even self-balancing.

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Jibo delayed as companion robot misses 2nd deadline

Jibo delayed as companion robot misses 2nd deadline

Bad news if you were holding out for robotic companion Jibo to join you this month, with news today that the crowdfunded 'bot will miss its launch window. The robot, which blends voice, object, and face recognition with advanced kinesthetics to appear more lifelike, was meant to be delivered to its earliest Indiegogo backers in either March or April this year.

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3D printed robot requires no assembly, also has liquid parts

3D printed robot requires no assembly, also has liquid parts

DIY robots are nothing new. 3D printing parts is also nothing new. The combination of the two is also not unheard of. And yet even simple yet substantially functional robots are still in short supply today, despite advancements in the understanding of robotics or the accessibility of manufacturing methods. The problem is that event trivial robots need to be assembled, and that in itself is already quite an undertaking. MIT researchers, however, may have come upon an alternative: 3D printing a complete robot as a whole, no assembly required.

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Study finds robotic Paro seal is therapeutic for dementia patients

Study finds robotic Paro seal is therapeutic for dementia patients

A study conducted by Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing has found that therapeutic robots — in this case, Paro the robotic seal — can help calm and comfort elderly individuals afflicted with dementia. The study observed 920 instances where Paro provided some type of therapeutic effect for dementia patients, “improving the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and reducing the usage of psychotropic medications,” said Paro designer Dr. Takanori Shibata.

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This home-made Scarlett Johansson robot is nightmare fuel

This home-made Scarlett Johansson robot is nightmare fuel

What you're seeing here is not a professionally made piece of robotics to be used in an upcoming Hollywood movie, nor is it a detailed prop used to showcase some new AI program. This is a home-made robot, built from scratch, by a Hong Kong man over the last year and a half. It is clearly made to resemble the actress Scarlett Johansson, even though the maker won't directly say so, something that only contributes to the fact that it is creepy as hell.

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MIT researchers turn a phone into a cheap laser scanner

MIT researchers turn a phone into a cheap laser scanner

These days, almost every smart device has one or more sensors in addition to being connected to the Internet or to smartphones. Those sensors range from humble proximity sensors to more sophisticated, and more expensive, radars and "lidars". Mobile robots and self-driving contraptions are perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of such sensors, but those sensors do come cheaply. Well, they could, depending on how much you are willing to compromise. Researchers at MIT developed a laser distance sensor that, while crude, is quite decent for its price, which is only $49 plus a smartphone sacrificed to the cause.

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Domino’s Australia will soon have robots delivering pizzas

Domino’s Australia will soon have robots delivering pizzas

It is perhaps a science fiction dream come true. Or a pizza delivery boy's (or girl's) worst nightmare. Domino's Australian outfit has gotten the ball, or in this case robot, rolling on a delivery system that employs self-driving robots to get your meal to your doorstep in time, still warm, and with less costs. While governments around the world are still on the fence about self-driving cars, Brisbane's local authorities have already approved this meal-serving robot whose cuteness is sure to be a magnet for people of good and bad will.

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Panasonic is building Ninja exoskeletons and Aliens-style Power Loaders

Panasonic is building Ninja exoskeletons and Aliens-style Power Loaders

Panasonic is working on a full body exoskeleton which will give workers super-strength, the company has said today, building on its "Ninja" power assist suits. The PLN-01 wearables, developed by Panasonic division Activelink, and their AWN-03 counterparts, are intended to help industrial workers lift heavy objects without destroying their backs in the process.

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Google X will cut Boston Dynamics robots loose

Google X will cut Boston Dynamics robots loose

Google parent Alphabet is exploring a sale of Boston Dynamics, the specialist creator of creepy robot dogs and humanoids, after failing to come up with a way to turn a profit from the high-tech team. The company, which has worked on various robotics projects with DARPA, the US military, and numerous other firms, was acquired by Google in late 2013, after former exec Andy Rubin decided the company would be a perfect fit for his robot ambitions, a project dubbed Replicant.

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iRobot Braava Jet is a robot maid for your bathroom floor

iRobot Braava Jet is a robot maid for your bathroom floor

iRobot's Roomba robots already suck: now they can spit, too. The iRobot Braava Jet isn't rude, though, it's actually intended for bathroom and kitchen floors, as well as rooms with wood and laminate surfaces. Cheaper than its vacuum siblings, it's also considerably smaller so that it can dart behind your toilet. I cornered it in a bathroom to see how it worked.

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Jibo vs Echo will be decided with developers’ hearts

Jibo vs Echo will be decided with developers’ hearts

Forget Alexa, when it comes to digital companionship Jibo is aiming to make a faint Echo of Amazon's connected speaker. Handiwork of a team of roboticists, animators, and speech recognition specialists, Jibo raised millions with its promise of social robotics: now, the "family robot" is ready to embrace whatever new abilities third-party coders can come up with. I caught up with Jonathan Ross, Head of SDK Development at Jibo, for an exclusive preview of the new developer toolkit ahead of its public demonstration at SXSW this weekend.

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