robots

Starship pits self-driving delivery bot against drones

Starship pits self-driving delivery bot against drones

With all the advancements of drones in the last year, it might seem like they are well on their way to becoming the standard delivery method in the near future. However, Starship Technologies has a different idea in mind: small autonomous robots that can drive along sidewalks to make deliveries. The little rovers are electric-powered, travel at an average speed of 4 miles-per-hour, and can carry up to two grocery bags worth of items, up to 20 pounds.

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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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Four-legged robot uses drone companion for trouble-scouting

Four-legged robot uses drone companion for trouble-scouting

Teams of robotics designers and researchers around the world are working hard to develop four legged robots with the aim of carrying equipment and supplies for workers and troops in the field. Part of designing those robots is devising a way that the bots can handle rough terrain without causing more harm than good for the humans working with them. A team of robotics designers from ETH Zurich's Autonomous Systems Lab has a new bot that pairs two systems for scouting terrain ahead.

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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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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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Boston Dynamics’ Spot robo-dog being tested by Marines

Boston Dynamics’ Spot robo-dog being tested by Marines

DARPA and Boston Dynamics’ robotic dog Spot, which we talked about back in February, is now being tested by the Marine Corps for possible use in warfare situations. DARPA trained Marines located at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico on how to operate Spot, which weighs 160 lbs. Among other things, Spot is being tested as a way to search for enemies ahead of Marines entering a building.

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Volvo garbage truck concept has a robot do all the lifting

Volvo garbage truck concept has a robot do all the lifting

Volvo has just announced a new joint venture product that aims to develop small, quiet robots that pick up your trash. Dubbed ROAR, for Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling, the robots act as assistants to garbage truck drivers, taking care of the heavy lifting so they don't have to, and performing the task much more discreetly than the loud automated claw arms (seen above) in wide use today. It also helps to make the idea more appealing with the robots' concept design looking like something right out of a Pixar movie.

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Poor baby BB-8 already gets a gruesome teardown

Poor baby BB-8 already gets a gruesome teardown

Sphero really made headlines when it revealed the mini BB-8, a smartphone controlled miniature version of what will be the next lovable mascot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Immediately, the small rolling droid endeared itself to many, especially considering it was made available on #ForceFriday. But as cute and lovable as the BB-8 maybe, inquisitive minds can't but help try to pry into the small robot and see how it works. Yes, the BB-8 just got a teardown and it's not for the faint of heart.

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Driving a robot vacuum cleaner is surprising fun

Driving a robot vacuum cleaner is surprising fun

Sometimes it feels like everything is joining the Internet of Things, no matter how tenuous, but it turns out remotely controlling your robo-vacuum is great. Neato has brought its Botvac Connected to ShowStoppers at IFA 2015, a connected version of its automated vacuum cleaners, which gives you the choice of either leaving it to its own devices or being a bossy housekeeper.

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Boston Dynamics’ robot goes for unsettling outdoors jog

Boston Dynamics’ robot goes for unsettling outdoors jog

Despite all the concerns about artificial intelligence and the quick progression of the robotics' industry, it is easy to dismiss worry as neither technology is, as of now, ready for world domination. The robots don't yet look like anything we're inclined to anthropomorphize, many of them are clumsy, and they're usually shackled to a power cable tether. Boston Dynamics' has shattered that impression with its new unsettling video of one of its robots taking a jog through the woods.

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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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