Robotics

Tensegrity robot can crawl into air ducts to clean them

Tensegrity robot can crawl into air ducts to clean them

By now, robot vacuum cleaners are no longer the oddity or novelty they were a few years ago, but despite their hi-tech functionality, they are mostly limited to cleaning the ground you walk on. Trying to keep ventilation and air ducts clean is an impossible task for these robots, given the cramped spaces and vertical elevations involved in the process. Enter DuCTT, or the Duct Climbing Tetrahedral Tensegrity robot, taking lessons learned from NASA's robotics research to keep the indoor air you breathe clean and healthy.

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Pepper robot’s first stop outside Japan is France [UPDATED]

Pepper robot’s first stop outside Japan is France [UPDATED]

Given the growing number of more human-looking robots as well as those that are supposedly "emotionally intelligent", there is once more a resurgence of debates surrounding these hi-tech computers encased in humanoid form. Despite that, it seems that Softbank's own Pepper is doing quite well in a limited Japanese market, well enough that Japanese telecom giant has taken the robot outside of the country for the first time. Sadly, it's not the expected US debut just yet. Instead, Pepper's first destination is France.

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Researchers give robot simulated neurons for travel

Researchers give robot simulated neurons for travel

Humans and animals alike are able to travel around in familiar places without using a map or getting lost; put the GPS away and pay attention to your surroundings, and you’ll quickly form a mental map of whatever unfamiliar place you’re visiting. This ability is due to two neuron types: grid cells and place cells, as they’re called. Scientists have recently used simulated versions of these cells to help a robot navigate.

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Axo Suit exoskeleton wants to help the elderly stay active

Axo Suit exoskeleton wants to help the elderly stay active

As people age our bodies deteriorate to the point that it can be very difficult to do anything without assistance. Many of these elderly people end up turning to powered wheelchairs or scooters to help them get around inside and outside the home. Researchers participating in the European Union Axo Suit project have come up with an exoskeleton that is aimed directly at helping the elderly get around.

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ZeroPi dev kit is compatible with Arduino and Raspberry Pi

ZeroPi dev kit is compatible with Arduino and Raspberry Pi

With an Arduino and a Raspberry Pi to play with there is no limit to the things that can be created. If your tastes lie towards creating robotics and new dev kit has debuted that will give you more flexibility and allow you to create impressive robotics inventions and it's called the ZeroPi. The dev kit is a robotic motion structure system.

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Researchers create jumping robot inspired by jumping spiders

Researchers create jumping robot inspired by jumping spiders

When most of us think of spiders, we think about little bugs that live in a web and try to catch bugs to eat. Not all spiders make webs though; some of them hunt their food and then jump to grab it. These jumping spiders are the inspiration behind a robot constructed at the University of Cape Town in South Africa called LEAP.

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Disney Research creates soft skin for robots

Disney Research creates soft skin for robots

Disney Research has detailed a new project in which it is developing soft skin for use on robots. The skin module, as it’s called, features an airtight cavity that is used to detect air pressure with a feedback controller. It wouldn’t be used for animatronics, however, instead being developed for use with toy-sized robots. These parts are 3D printed, and safe to have in use around delicate objects.

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Harvard’s robotic bee gets swimming ability

Harvard’s robotic bee gets swimming ability

Harvard’s robotic bee, aptly dubbed RoboBee, has been updated with new powers, in this case, swimming. The device is smaller than a paper clip and equipped with wings that allow it to fly around like an insect. It’s not the first tiny robot we’ve seen, but it is quickly becoming one of the most functional. Recently the researchers working on RoboBee revealed that it can now swim in water, making it suitable for at least two types of environments.

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Soft robotic hands no longer crush your objects

Soft robotic hands no longer crush your objects

Researchers at MIT have created a robot with the ability to identify the objects it picks up - at least their dimensions - by touch. This robot is working at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and utilizes a 3D-printed hand made with silicone rubber. Each of this robot's three fingers has sensors that, working together, are able to estimate the size and shape of an object. This system is accurate enough to allow the robot to identify objects from a set.

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Researchers use origami to build crawling, jumping robots

Researchers use origami to build crawling, jumping robots

One robot can can crawl on four "legs" without the need for any sort of motor. Another can jump to seven times its height. Both can fit on the palm of one hand. Yes, these are not your average robot and are not even close to any humanoid robot you may have seen. They look more like metallic origami figures, and that isn't that far from the truth. In fact, the researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne or EPFL in Switzerland call these robots as "robogami".

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Russian researchers make realistic robot cockroaches

Russian researchers make realistic robot cockroaches

Russian scientists have created what they say is the smallest robot ever, and it comes in the form of a lowly cockroach. The robot walks like the insect and, excepting up-close examination, looks like it, too. Unlike real cockroaches, though, this small robot could serve humanity is some important -- and maybe bothersome -- ways. As one example, robots could slip through cracks to search for survivors under rubble.

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WEpod to be first self-driving shuttle on public roads

WEpod to be first self-driving shuttle on public roads

While some car makers and technology companies like Google are still somewhat scrambling to make self-driving private cars a reality on public roads, Netherlands might already be taking the next big step towards autonomous driving: public transport. Called the WEpods, these electric shuttles will be ferrying commuters between the towns of Wageningen and Ede in Gelderland starting November. And it won't be settling for just some special, restricted road. These self-driving pods will be cruising along public roads and rubbing shoulders with regular vehicles and drivers.

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