Robotics

AiFoam helps robots interact with their environment

AiFoam helps robots interact with their environment

Researchers at the National University of Singapore have created something they call AIFoam. The material is a smartphone designed to give machines a more human-like sense of touch, allowing robots to judge human intentions and respond to changes in the environment. Artificially innervated foam, or AIFoam, is a new material that's soft and spongy. It's designed to mimic the sense of human touch and can sense nearby objects without actually having to touch them.

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BOBbots are tiny robots able to perform tasks as a group

BOBbots are tiny robots able to perform tasks as a group

Researchers from Georgia Tech have been conducting experiments designed to show the simplest of robots can still accomplish tasks. The team created a group of robots they call BOBbots, which stands for "behaving, organizing, buzzing bots." The robots are made using a cylindrical chassis with vibrating brushes underneath and lose magnets on the periphery. The magnets cause them to spend more time at locations with more neighbors.

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NYPD cancels contract with Boston Dynamics for police robot

NYPD cancels contract with Boston Dynamics for police robot

The New York Police Department had a contract in place with Boston Dynamics for a quadruped robot known as "Digidog." The robot came under fire by representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after a video of the robot being used on patrol in a Manhattan housing project went viral. The video sparked backlash, with some comparing it to the TV series "Black Mirror."

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Disney Project Kiwi robot brings kid Groot to life

Disney Project Kiwi robot brings kid Groot to life

We've all seen our fair share of animatronic characters in theme parks. Save for a few exceptions, almost all of them are obviously fake, even the ones made to look humanoid. Boston Dynamics may have ruined some people's images of bipedpal and quadrupedal robots but, for many robotics engineers and scientists, the holy grail is still to produce a believable simulacrum. Disney's Imagineering R&D arm may be finally close to that goal as it reveals its Project Kiwi platform that almost convincingly recreates the lovable character, Groot.

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Domino’s autonomous pizza delivery robot doesn’t need tipping

Domino’s autonomous pizza delivery robot doesn’t need tipping

Domino's Pizza is working on replacing the traditional delivery person, with a new pilot of a robot courier going autonomous instead. While the pies and pepperoni may be the same, rather than a college kid in an old Prius it'll be a Nuro R2 that handles transportation to your door.

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Eyecam wants webcams to be more human in the creepiest way possible

Eyecam wants webcams to be more human in the creepiest way possible

Our homes these days are riddled with cameras, from the ones in our phones and laptops to the more inconspicuous ones in security cameras inside and outside the house. Oftentimes, these cameras are designed to be invisible, utilitarian, and cold, even if they are sometimes used to communicate with a living being on the other end of the Internet line. Just as there have been attempts to make technology and devices feel more humane and human, a new experiment tries to make the humble webcam more relatable by turning it into a creepy eye that actually makes it feel more inhuman in the process.

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This auto-transforming Optimus Prime robot is very cool and very expensive

This auto-transforming Optimus Prime robot is very cool and very expensive

Today Hasbro and Robosen Robotics announced that they've teamed up to create a new consumer robot based on one of the chief characters from the Transformers franchise: Optimus Prime. This new robot can not only transform between its truck and robot mode on its own, but it can also respond to voice commands and remote touchscreen controls. However, that feature set prices it well into the enthusiast range, so you can definitely expect to pay a pretty penny if you want to own one of these robots.

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Robots are learning to move using multi-contact locomotion

Robots are learning to move using multi-contact locomotion

We've all been moving through cluttered areas, or perhaps after a night of too much partying, at some point in our lives and put out our arms to help brace ourselves on nearby objects. Robotics researchers are now teaching bipedal robots to move using their arms and their legs. The team says that humans have used multi-contact locomotion throughout history to navigate tricky environments, and robots are now learning to use the same skill.

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Boston Dynamics’ new robot skips animal designs for warehouse work

Boston Dynamics’ new robot skips animal designs for warehouse work

Boston Dynamics has a new robot to simultaneously wow and terrify, with Stretch moving away from the human or animal body style of the company's other 'bots with a far more practical design instead. Unlike Spot, Boston Dynamics' robot dog, which has been designed to be as flexible as possible in how it can be deployed, Stretch is focused on warehouse automation, and specifically for moving boxes around at speed.

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Cornell researchers create the world’s smallest origami bird using nanotech

Cornell researchers create the world’s smallest origami bird using nanotech

Researchers worldwide are currently working on creating very small nanosized robots with a host of capabilities embedded, including complex electronic circuits, sensors, antennas, and photovoltaics. One of the most complicated techniques that scientists have to perform with such small robots is designing them to move by bending. The Cornell team has been able to create micron-sized shape memory actuators that enable atomically thin two-dimensional materials to fold themselves into 3D configurations.

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MIT gets inspiration from insects for next-generation drones

MIT gets inspiration from insects for next-generation drones

We've all been standing outside at some point and had tiny flying insects like gnats continually flying around our face or ears no matter how many times we swat them away. Small flying insects have incredible agility that allows them to avoid swatting hands and other obstacles as they fly through the air. MIT Assistant Professor Kevin Yufeng Chen has constructed a new flying robotic system that approaches the agility of insects in the air.

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Researchers create a material that could change soft robotics

Researchers create a material that could change soft robotics

Scientists often look to the natural world for inspiration and ideas when creating synthetic materials. Plants and animals can rapidly respond to changes in the environment. An example is the way a Venus flytrap can close quickly when touched by an insect. Researchers have printed liquid metal circuits onto a single piece of soft polymer to create an intelligent material that can curl under pressure or mechanical strain and expand when stretched.

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