Robotics

Tiny microelectronic robot is powered by jets of bubbles

Tiny microelectronic robot is powered by jets of bubbles

Researchers have created tiny microbots that they claim to be the world's smallest microelectronic robot. The minuscule robots are powered by shooting out dual jets of bubbles behind them, a propulsion system first conceived about a decade ago. The tiny robots were developed by an international team led by Professor Oliver G. Schmidt from the Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany.

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Spot robot dog used to implement social distancing in Singapore parks

Spot robot dog used to implement social distancing in Singapore parks

While there are many that heed warnings to keep their distance or even stay indoors unless absolutely necessary, there are definitely those that may not be so diligent, especially if there's no one around to catch them. Given the lack of manpower to enforce social distancing regulations, Singapore is turning to robotics to keep an eye out and remind people about the risks they may be putting themselves and others in. The question, however, is whether their use of Boston Dynamic's popular yet unpopular four-legged robot will be an effective tool or will ironically only draw more people to it instead.

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iRobot’s Terra robot mower launch just got put on hold

iRobot’s Terra robot mower launch just got put on hold

You'll have to wait a little longer to set iRobot's Terra robot lawnmower loose on your grass, with the company revealing it has put the launch on ice because of coronavirus. Announced back at the start of 2019, Terra saw iRobot roam outside the home for the first time, with a grass-nibbling robot intended to make tending a lawn easier.

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Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot “dog” has joined the fight against COVID-19

Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot “dog” has joined the fight against COVID-19

It might not have the most comforting appearance but it will at least be saving lives. The smaller version of the company's "Big Dog", Boston Dynamics is putting the robot Spot to work as a frontliner in hospitals in Boston, allowing healthcare workers to communicate with patients over a safe, remote distance. Going beyond the call of duty, the former Google subsidiary is also opening up its hardware and software so that other robot makers could follow suit.

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Shimon is a singing and songwriting robot

Shimon is a singing and songwriting robot

Researchers from Georgia Tech have created a robot called Shimon that can write songs, play music, and sing. The marimba-playing robot is going on tour to support a new album that he has composed and sings. The album will have eight to ten songs, and Shimon wrote them in collaboration with humans. The human collaboration starts with the human giving the robot a theme, like space, and Shimon will write lyrics around the theme.

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60-foot Gundam robot that walks is being built in Japan

60-foot Gundam robot that walks is being built in Japan

Japan is known for many things ranging from food to anime to, of course, robots. And not just the industrial or cutesy kind, mind, but the fictional ones that come to save the day or play. Of all the robots that the country's creative minds have produced, Yoshiyuki Tomino's Gundam has achieved the widest renown and the most number of recreations. The most ambitious one yet is coming later this year in Yokohama, featuring a 60-foot tall Gundam robot that will be able to walk.

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LEGO Education SPIKE Prime set released for $330

LEGO Education SPIKE Prime set released for $330

There's a next-level DIY robotics LEGO set out in the world starting this week, and it's called SPIKE Prime! This is a LEGO Education set, which means it's geared toward students - but you're not the sort of person to let a silly thing like that stop you from using the newest in LEGO power enhance the builds you've had brewing, right?

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Charmin puts VR on a toilet, Smells on a sensor, TP on a robot

Charmin puts VR on a toilet, Smells on a sensor, TP on a robot

Charmin has a set of three conceptual designs for CES 2020, including a toilet paper-retrieving robot, a smell sensor, and a VR experience for the WC. Before we go too much further, it's important to note, here, that Charmin has expressed that these items "won't be for sale in the future." That's unfortunate, especially given the helpful nature of the rolling toilet paper retriever. The VR experience might be best left in the conceptual universe.

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Tiny robot insects are soft enough to survive a fly swatter

Tiny robot insects are soft enough to survive a fly swatter

Different people have different concepts about robots, ranging from humanoid androids that may or may not be out to get us to unsettling quadrupeds that may or may not be accompanying the police of the future. Few, however, will probably think of robots the size of a fly that has better survivability than the real, organic one. That is exactly the kind of robot that engineering researchers have developed, paving the way for a swarm of intelligent insects that will hopefully not overrun the planet.

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Alphabet’s X wants to make robots that can learn to do mundane tasks

Alphabet’s X wants to make robots that can learn to do mundane tasks

There has been a lot of attention paid on AI and robotics these days but the majority of those focus on either very specialized tasks or, on the other extreme, theoretical algorithms. The robots of today are still a far cry from the robots of fiction that exist not just to build cars or drive them but also to help humans in their everyday lives. To that end, Google's sibling company X has started an Everyday Robot Project to design, build, and train robots that can learn to do the messy stuff that comes as second nature to humans.

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Sony aibo robot dog gets whimsical features in new major update

Sony aibo robot dog gets whimsical features in new major update

Sony has released a major software update in the US and Japan for its aibo robotic dog, the company has announced. Software version 2.50 is made for the ERS1000 aibo model, bringing 'whimsical' capabilities that include the ability to potty train the dog, feed it virtual cookies, and other fun things. As well, the robot dog also has a new web-based API with visual programming for beginners.

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A tiny Transformers toys gift guide: Robust is best in 2019

A tiny Transformers toys gift guide: Robust is best in 2019

Transformers is a toy line that's never really dull. I remember getting Transformers toys for gifts for Christmas and birthdays when I was a kid, and even when (90% of the time) I did not know the character in the box, I was thrilled to get another one of these bafflingly entertaining pieces of moving parts in plastic. The difference between a "good" transformer and a "could've been better" transformer gift always depended on the intended audience for the toy. Not all Transformer toys are made for little kids.

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