robots

3D printed seahorse tails inspire tougher robots

3D printed seahorse tails inspire tougher robots

Seahorses might not seem the ideal animal to inspire tough new robots, but torture-testing of 3D tail models suggests the whimsical creatures may be hardier than we think. Unlike most animal tails, which are circular in cross-section, seahorse tails are formed from square prisms, each surrounded by bony plates and interconnected by joints. Turns out, that unusual structure has some big advantages, which could lead to sturdy yet flexible search-and-rescue robots, or even new types of body-armor.

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US vs JP giant robot fight fantasy might be reality soon

US vs JP giant robot fight fantasy might be reality soon

If you pit a Gundam against a Jaeger, which one would win? While we are still probably decades away from seeing such a battle ensue, presuming there would ever be a justification for one, we can, perhaps settle for the next best thing. Or the next smaller thing. The gloves are off as US-based MegaBots Inc. has just issued a challenge to Japan's Suidobashi Heavy Industries for the robot battle of the decade. This is no almost comic Robot Wars. This is full scale, head-on Giant Robot Fight!

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Moths could gift low-light vision to new micro-drones

Moths could gift low-light vision to new micro-drones

Moths might not be the first animals you'd think to emulate when you're designing new micro-drones, but robots could learn at lot from how their eyes work. A team at Georgia Institute of Techology figured out that moths can purposefully slow their brain activity so as to see better in low-light conditions, keeping their nectar-sipping position at flowers even when the plants are moving, and potentially opening the door to future machine vision systems that can react accurately even in the depth of night.

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Here are the big winners in DARPA’s Robotics Challenge

Here are the big winners in DARPA’s Robotics Challenge

A South Korean team has won DARPA's Robotic Challenge Finals, besting US rivals and taking home $2m after demonstrating its disaster-response 'bot. The robot, DRC-HUBO, beat out 22 other teams, each rising to the US government agency's challenge to create a machine able to enter hazardous areas - such as the radioactive zone left by the Fukushima nuclear explosion in 2011 - and carry out tasks that would normally demand human dexterity.

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DARPA Robotics Challenge seeks disaster response robots

DARPA Robotics Challenge seeks disaster response robots

Disasters happen, but humans have made great strides toward reducing their impact. Robots will prove to be one of the bigger assets we'll use to aid in future disaster situations, and work is underway now to make that a reality. DARPA has contributed a lot to the world of robotics, and to show off the tech that already exists is DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC); its finals are taking place today and tomorrow in California. Teams competing in the finals will scramble to create robots that, ultimately, have a relevance to disaster response needs.

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Neato reveals new Botvac D series of robot vacuums

Neato reveals new Botvac D series of robot vacuums

Neato, the makers of the Botvac robot vacuum cleaners, have just announced two new models of the their laser-guided floor cleaners, focusing on hardwood environments, as well as homes with pets. The Botvac D75 and Botvac D85 have been updated with a slick new black and white design scheme, fitting in well in modern homes and offices. Like many robot vacuums, Neato's D Series offers the basics of automated cleaning and scanning the environment for obstacles, as well as several improvements over past models.

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Atlas robot gets pushed, doesn’t fall, doesn’t fight back

Atlas robot gets pushed, doesn’t fall, doesn’t fight back

Sometimes you'd think that it's "tests" like these that would have robots rebelling against their cruel human masters in the future. But for now, however, while they still don't have the intelligence to do so, we will keep on poking them. For Science! With DARPA's Robotics Challenge, the most grueling display of non-combative robot resilience, nearing its finals next month, teams like the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) are pushing their Atlas robot to the limit, making sure they don't fall. Or don't push back.

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Fetch Robotics’ Fetch and Freight solve your logistics problems

Fetch Robotics’ Fetch and Freight solve your logistics problems

Robots have started invading factories, automating tedious and sometimes dangerous workloads once assigned to humans. But there is one area of the industry business where robots have yet to become a more efficient and more viable option: warehouse logistics. The process of repeatedly picking up products from warehouse shelves, carrying them back and forth locations points to prepare for shipping sounds like a perfect job for robots, and yet very few are actually used here. Fetch Robotics believes it has the answer to that puzzle.

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A humanoid robot now works at a Japanese department store

A humanoid robot now works at a Japanese department store

Uncanny valley once more strikes the world's favorite robot country, Japan. The country's collective fascination, sometimes even obsessions, over human-looking robots or androids sometimes take rather strange turns that could, at times cause both fascination as well as discomfort. The latest trend seems to be to put these androids, particularly gynoids or female-looking androids, in behind reception desks and concierges to greet customers and patrons. We've heard of the concept in the soon to be built Henn-na hotel. But you can already see one even today at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo.

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South Korea to fight fire with fire, drones with drones

South Korea to fight fire with fire, drones with drones

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or something like that. When South Korea notice a drone, with a camera, hovering near its borders, it decided that it needed to protect itself from such unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs. And what better way to do that than by using another UAV. Roboticists at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology or KAIST are trying to develop drones whose sole purposes would be to intercept and disable other drones. It's like Robot Wars, except in the sky and for less entertaining purposes.

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