robots

Robotic arm catches items midair, will beat you at tennis

Robotic arm catches items midair, will beat you at tennis

Robotics have come a long way, but there are still struggles with regard to movement. Natural human movement is hard to mimic, but a team of Engineers in Switzerland have created a robotic arm that can catch items thrown at it. By learning about the object being tossed, and anticipating movement, the arm can actively pursue targets and snag them out of mid-air.

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Dean Kamen Interview: Tech Bubbles and “Pet Rock” Wearables

Dean Kamen Interview: Tech Bubbles and “Pet Rock” Wearables

Dean Kamen doesn't pull his punches. The creator of the Segway and the founder of FIRST - a charity that aims to make science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as enticing as sports and entertainment for young people across the world - has no time for gimmicks and refuses to allow "consumer fun" to distract him. I sat down with Kamen on the sidelines of the FIRST Robotics Championship 2014, to talk about the ways innovation has evolved, and why he thinks the current crop of wearables will go down in history alongside the hula-hoop.

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LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Review

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Review

The universe in which this LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 unit exists is not one made for a tiny, limited cross-section of creative children and those that want to see their models move. When you see "10+" on the package for the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, you’re going to need to understand that this does not mean it’s excellence is relegated to kids. You’re also going to need to recognize immediately that this is not just a toy - it’s a platform.

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Robot Love: Inside Dean Kamen’s FIRST Championship 2014

Robot Love: Inside Dean Kamen’s FIRST Championship 2014

The screaming in the stadium is so loud, I can hardly hear the announcer. Enthusiasm spills from the stands in waves; only gets louder when President Obama appears on the big screen for an unexpected address. The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis isn’t playing host to the Rams as usual, however; instead, the seats are filled with row after row of students from K-3 up to high school age, all here for the FIRST Championship 2014. Brainchild of Dean Kamen - better known perhaps for being the father of the Segway - this is no ordinary robotics competition.

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Morphing DIY robot looks like a Portal ‘bot for real

Morphing DIY robot looks like a Portal ‘bot for real

Don't look now if scuttling robots send shivers of dread down your spine: engineer Kåre Halvorsen is bringing the sort of transforming 'bot tech you'd expect to see in CGI movies to life, with his new hexapod. The spherical robot, dubbed MorpHex MKII, actually is a double-hexapod, with effectively two sets of legs paired back to back, and integrated into individual sections of the translucent outer shell so that it can both roll around and walk.

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Robots employed as first fully automated solar panel cleaners

Robots employed as first fully automated solar panel cleaners

We may not yet have achieved our Jetsons utopia, but advancements in robotics have happened at a clipped rate over the years, and slowly robotic devices have worked their way into many industries, taking over tasks that would be difficult or needlessly wasteful if performed by adults. One such task is keeping a field of solar panels in the desert clean, something Ecoppia E4 robots are doing at one Israeli solar field.

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SociBot-Mini: a spooky robot that wears any face

SociBot-Mini: a spooky robot that wears any face

SociBot-Mini is a 60-centimetre-high bot that can adorn a friend’s face and even predict your mood or guess your age. Spooked? The brainchild of Will Jackson and his colleagues at Engineered Arts in Penryn, UK, the robot has many human features like a transparent plastic face, nose contours, mouth and eyes. Most of these features are highlighted due to the backlighting which is enhanced with a digital projector.

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