robots

Forget humanoid receptionists, Henn na Hotel has a dinosaur

Forget humanoid receptionists, Henn na Hotel has a dinosaur

If it weren't bad enough that robots might be taking over our jobs and our lives, some might even take the form of robot dinosaurs. Perhaps playing to the recent Jurassic World film, the Henn na Hotel in Japan, which opens Friday, a robot dinosaur, not in the playground or garden, but behind the receptionist's desk. Yes, this dinosaur is the receptionist, or at least one of two robot concierges at the hi-tech hotel. But don't be worried about being lost in dinosaur speak. Strangely enough, this is the one that speaks English.

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3D printed robot built like a squid, hops like a rocket

3D printed robot built like a squid, hops like a rocket

A squishy, explosively-bouncing robot might herald the next age of 'bot design and could almost be a robo-squid, if only it had a beak. 3D printed robots aren't new, but this is the first time graduated layers of hardness have been used, allowing the explosion-powered blob created by engineers led by Nicholas Bartlett at Harvard University to not only adjust the direction it bounces off in, but to deform in a controlled way on landing that balances preserving the electronics while landing elegantly.

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Inside FIRST’s scheme to make Android the heart of STEM robotics

Inside FIRST’s scheme to make Android the heart of STEM robotics

For a platform called Android, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long to see it jump into robotics, but if FIRST and Qualcomm have their way a new generation of young people will make it the de-facto standard. FIRST - the organization set up by Dean Kamen of Segway fame “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” - announced back in March it would drop LEGO for Android for one of its robotics tournaments, and while those games don’t start until 2016, I stopped by this year’s FIRST Championship in St. Louis to get a preview of the system.

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Bring it! Japan accepts giant robot fight challenge

Bring it! Japan accepts giant robot fight challenge

Oh it's definitely on! Since MegaBots Inc. appealed to nationalism, without anyone asking them to, challenged Suidobashi Heavy Industries to the world's first ever giant robot fight. Of course, the Japanese robotics company had no choice but to accept, also in the name of Japan. Especially after the country's defeat in the Women's World Cup yesterday at the hands of who else but the US. That said, Suidobashi isn't going to simply play into MegaBots' hands and is dictating its own requirements for the battle.

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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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