Robotics

Alpha 2 humanoid robot is a tiny personal assistant

Alpha 2 humanoid robot is a tiny personal assistant

A new and very small robot has debuted called Alpha 2. This bot looks like a toy but promises the power to be intelligent, interactive, and expandable. The bot is designed for use by the whole family, not just as a plaything for the kids. The bot has a bunch of functions and can hold conversations allowing it to be a tutor or an interpreter.

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Robot dog CHiP is like the spiritual successor to Sony’s Aibo

Robot dog CHiP is like the spiritual successor to Sony’s Aibo

High-tech toy-maker WowWee has just unveiled its latest robotic device, a dog named CHiP. Short for "Canine Home Intelligent Pet," CHiP is a black and white robotic puppy with blue LED, and more than a few sensors that allow it to navigate rooms, find its toy ball, and even go to its charging station. The toy also uses Bluetooth to connect with a wristband worn by users, which they can use to give the dog commands, as well as have it track their location.

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“New Generation” of auto-drones coming with NVIDIA Jetson TX1

“New Generation” of auto-drones coming with NVIDIA Jetson TX1

NVIDIA says their new credit-card sized "Jetson TX1" module will enable "a new generation of smart, autonomous machines that can learn." Before you start thinking this is Skynet, all over again, terminators running wild, take heed: they're being made for good, not evil. NVIDIA suggests that these modules will be used in drones that scan crowds to "identify suspicious activity." They'll be used in drones that "navigate their way through a forest for search and rescue." They'll be smart - and they'll be able to grow more intelligent, too.

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Yamaha’s Motobot plans to unseat humans on superbikes

Yamaha’s Motobot plans to unseat humans on superbikes

You've seen self-driving cars before. How about self-driving motorbikes? While autonomous cars can practically be considered robots themselves, Yamaha's latest spectacle actually has a robot driving a motorbike. So yea, no room for human riders. Dubbed the Motobot, because what else would you call it, Yamaha's creation still uses training wheels at the moment and drives at a rather safe speed. But the company hopes that the robot will soon learn how to fulfill its prime objective, which the robot itself ominously says is to surpass humans.

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This is Kirobo Mini, Toyota’s apple-sized robot for your car

This is Kirobo Mini, Toyota’s apple-sized robot for your car

Perhaps the most adorable presentation at the Tokyo Motor Show this week comes from Toyota in the form of Kirobo Mini. This little monster is part of the Toyota Heart Project, created after the return from space of the astronaut robot Kirobo. This (slightly larger) robot participated in a number of experiments aboard the International Space Station, where he was stationed from August 10th of 2013 and returned after an 18-month mission. This tinier Kirobo Mini is made for consumers here on Earth.

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Tensegrity robot can crawl into air ducts to clean them

Tensegrity robot can crawl into air ducts to clean them

By now, robot vacuum cleaners are no longer the oddity or novelty they were a few years ago, but despite their hi-tech functionality, they are mostly limited to cleaning the ground you walk on. Trying to keep ventilation and air ducts clean is an impossible task for these robots, given the cramped spaces and vertical elevations involved in the process. Enter DuCTT, or the Duct Climbing Tetrahedral Tensegrity robot, taking lessons learned from NASA's robotics research to keep the indoor air you breathe clean and healthy.

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Pepper robot’s first stop outside Japan is France [UPDATED]

Pepper robot’s first stop outside Japan is France [UPDATED]

Given the growing number of more human-looking robots as well as those that are supposedly "emotionally intelligent", there is once more a resurgence of debates surrounding these hi-tech computers encased in humanoid form. Despite that, it seems that Softbank's own Pepper is doing quite well in a limited Japanese market, well enough that Japanese telecom giant has taken the robot outside of the country for the first time. Sadly, it's not the expected US debut just yet. Instead, Pepper's first destination is France.

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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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Axo Suit exoskeleton wants to help the elderly stay active

Axo Suit exoskeleton wants to help the elderly stay active

As people age our bodies deteriorate to the point that it can be very difficult to do anything without assistance. Many of these elderly people end up turning to powered wheelchairs or scooters to help them get around inside and outside the home. Researchers participating in the European Union Axo Suit project have come up with an exoskeleton that is aimed directly at helping the elderly get around.

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ZeroPi dev kit is compatible with Arduino and Raspberry Pi

ZeroPi dev kit is compatible with Arduino and Raspberry Pi

With an Arduino and a Raspberry Pi to play with there is no limit to the things that can be created. If your tastes lie towards creating robotics and new dev kit has debuted that will give you more flexibility and allow you to create impressive robotics inventions and it's called the ZeroPi. The dev kit is a robotic motion structure system.

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Researchers create jumping robot inspired by jumping spiders

Researchers create jumping robot inspired by jumping spiders

When most of us think of spiders, we think about little bugs that live in a web and try to catch bugs to eat. Not all spiders make webs though; some of them hunt their food and then jump to grab it. These jumping spiders are the inspiration behind a robot constructed at the University of Cape Town in South Africa called LEAP.

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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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