Robotics

Google X embraces robotics, Titan drone in Alphabet reorg

Google X embraces robotics, Titan drone in Alphabet reorg

Four months after Google announced its new Alphabet parent, we're still seeing former Google projects and divisions trying to find their proper place in the new, grander scheme of things. And for those that can't, there's always Google X. The seed bed of many experimental and moonshot projects, Google X has formally become an Alphabet subsidiary in October and is now welcoming into its fold two equally amorphous Google experiments, the still unrealized dream of robotics and Google's foray into the skies with drones, both Titan and Wing.

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New Japanese muscle suit capable of lifting 30kg, weighs only 5.5kg

New Japanese muscle suit capable of lifting 30kg, weighs only 5.5kg

Japanese company Innophys has unveiled a new wearable exoskeletal-like harness that can reduce the weight something being lifted by as much as 30 kilograms (66 pounds). Dubbed the Muscle Suit, the harness features hydraulically controlled attachments that pair with a wearer's arms and legs, essentially adding artificial muscles that provide additional strength when lifting heavy loads. It doesn't actually lift objects on its own, but it does make them seem much lighter than they are.

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Fleye flying robot is the size of a soccer ball

Fleye flying robot is the size of a soccer ball

Quadcopters are fun, especially given how many miniature-sized versions are now on the market. The problem is safety — though some designs have taken steps to protect people from the rotors, many drones still pose safety risks. Improper use or a simple accident can end catastrophically. That’s where Fleye comes in — it is a drone in the broadest sense, but not like any drone you’ve seen before. Its’ makers call it a ‘personal flying robot.'

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Karma is what GoPro named its drone, coming 2016

Karma is what GoPro named its drone, coming 2016

It seems that all the pieces are set and GoPro is ready to take to the skies in just a few months. It has finally given a formal name to its first direct entry into the growing drone market. GoPro Karma, as it is now known, is set to take flight in 2016, but much about it remains unknown and GoPro has done the almost impossible and has kept much of the drone's details under wraps up to now. Something that smartphone makers probably need to learn how to do better.

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This robot guides travelers around a busy airport

This robot guides travelers around a busy airport

Seeing as how the busiest travel season of the year is now in full swing, it would be the perfect time to debut a robotic airport guide to help direct tired and stressed out travelers. That's exactly what Örebro University is doing as part of their research with Spencer the robot at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. The international hub is known to have a terminal layout that is confusing to navigate, so the robot, outfitted with detailed maps, aims to help passengers get to the right place in time for their flight.

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Formula E reveals ROBORACE driverless EV series for 2016

Formula E reveals ROBORACE driverless EV series for 2016

Could driverless racing ever as exciting as events where there's meat behind the wheel? Formula E believes so, with ROBORACE expected to kick off during its 2016-17 season. Billed as part of the support package for the FIA Formula E Championship, the races will see autonomous electric cars going up against each other as teams compete to hone the best AI.

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Robo kitty is Hasbro’s first robot companion for seniors

Robo kitty is Hasbro’s first robot companion for seniors

Hasbro has a new line of life-like robotic companion pets designed for seniors, and though it seems depressing at first, the robo pets could help fill a void in cases where living pets aren't appropriate. The pets are designed to provide a sense of companionship, but come without some of the other aspects of pet ownership: food and care costs, messy litter boxes, and other things.

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NASA donates two robots for DARPA Mars research and exploration

NASA donates two robots for DARPA Mars research and exploration

Two university groups receive their very own Valkyrie robots from NASA as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. NASA calls these robots the Valkyrie or "R5" models, as revealed earlier this year as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. These robots and their intended purpose are important to the future of beyond-Earth exploration. Both are humanoid so that they're able to "help or even take the place" of astronauts that'd otherwise be working in extreme space conditions and environments.

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Alpha 2 humanoid robot is a tiny personal assistant

Alpha 2 humanoid robot is a tiny personal assistant

A new and very small robot has debuted called Alpha 2. This bot looks like a toy but promises the power to be intelligent, interactive, and expandable. The bot is designed for use by the whole family, not just as a plaything for the kids. The bot has a bunch of functions and can hold conversations allowing it to be a tutor or an interpreter.

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Robot dog CHiP is like the spiritual successor to Sony’s Aibo

Robot dog CHiP is like the spiritual successor to Sony’s Aibo

High-tech toy-maker WowWee has just unveiled its latest robotic device, a dog named CHiP. Short for "Canine Home Intelligent Pet," CHiP is a black and white robotic puppy with blue LED, and more than a few sensors that allow it to navigate rooms, find its toy ball, and even go to its charging station. The toy also uses Bluetooth to connect with a wristband worn by users, which they can use to give the dog commands, as well as have it track their location.

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“New Generation” of auto-drones coming with NVIDIA Jetson TX1

“New Generation” of auto-drones coming with NVIDIA Jetson TX1

NVIDIA says their new credit-card sized "Jetson TX1" module will enable "a new generation of smart, autonomous machines that can learn." Before you start thinking this is Skynet, all over again, terminators running wild, take heed: they're being made for good, not evil. NVIDIA suggests that these modules will be used in drones that scan crowds to "identify suspicious activity." They'll be used in drones that "navigate their way through a forest for search and rescue." They'll be smart - and they'll be able to grow more intelligent, too.

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Yamaha’s Motobot plans to unseat humans on superbikes

Yamaha’s Motobot plans to unseat humans on superbikes

You've seen self-driving cars before. How about self-driving motorbikes? While autonomous cars can practically be considered robots themselves, Yamaha's latest spectacle actually has a robot driving a motorbike. So yea, no room for human riders. Dubbed the Motobot, because what else would you call it, Yamaha's creation still uses training wheels at the moment and drives at a rather safe speed. But the company hopes that the robot will soon learn how to fulfill its prime objective, which the robot itself ominously says is to surpass humans.

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