Robotics

Parrot, Canonical make a S.L.A.M.dunk to make drones smarter

Parrot, Canonical make a S.L.A.M.dunk to make drones smarter

Ubuntu” and “drones” are probably not two words you’ll come across often, even though both are quite popular in their respective areas. So when Parrot, one of the most famous drone makers, and Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, come out with a special product, it’s hard not to take notice. Painfully spelled as S.L.A.M.dunk, short for “Simultaneous Location and Mapping”, this “drone development kit” piggybacks on a drone, from Parrot preferably, like a Remora fish on shark, giving any drone some autonomous navigation capabilities of its own.

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Alphabet drones will come bearing burritos at Virginia Tech

Alphabet drones will come bearing burritos at Virginia Tech

The hype around unmanned aerial vehicles, more popularly known as drones, may have died down a bit, but neither Alphabet nor Amazon are forgetting their ambitious dreams of populating the skies with such robotic delivery personnel. In fact, Google’s parent company will be conducting tests this month to bring it a step closer to that goal. But instead of jumping, or flying, directly into delivering ordered goods, Alphabet’s research arm X will instead simply try to food some lucky students and staff at Virginia Tech with what else but burritos.

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Japanese robotic sumo wrestling is completely autonomous

Japanese robotic sumo wrestling is completely autonomous

If you have ever seen the show "Battlebots" that airs in the US, you know that most of the robots used are set on destroying the competition literally rather than simply pushing them out of the ring. Robot Wars here in the US is also a competition that is as much about the humans who are controlling the robots via remotes as it is about the capabilities of the robots themselves. Japan has a robot sumo wrestling competition that is very different from what we see here in the US.

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Lowe’s robot workers heading to stores in San Francisco

Lowe’s robot workers heading to stores in San Francisco

Lowe’s has introduced the ‘LoweBot' robots and says it plans to roll them out in stores in San Francisco soon. The LoweBot is a NAVii autonomous robot designed for retail service by Fellow Robots, according to Lowe’s, which says the robo-workers will roll out in a total of 11 stores located in the San Francisco Bay Area this autumn. The company says its previous OSHbot tests, which we detailed in late 2014, were successful.

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Neato Botvac D3 and D5 details: covering all bases

Neato Botvac D3 and D5 details: covering all bases

This week the folks at Neato have revealed two new robotic home vacuums, one called Botvac D3 Connected, the other the D5 Connected. Both devices have Wi-Fi connectivity and work with the Neato app. Both devices are self-charging and have automatic charge and resume functions. Both devices are able to work with Scheduling, and both have Neato's own Combo Brush to make homes clean.

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Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum sucks, but in a good way

Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum sucks, but in a good way

Xiaomi is mostly about smartphones and tablets, but that isn't all the company has up its sleeve with the unveiling of a new robot vacuum cleaner. The device is called the Mi Robot Vacuum and it has lots of cool tech inside that will allow you to get clean floors without any effort. The device has LDS intelligent path planning, ultra-high 1800Pa air pressure suction, smartphone controls, and real time cleaning status.

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Star Wars BB-8-controlling Force Band from Sphero debuts this month

Star Wars BB-8-controlling Force Band from Sphero debuts this month

One of the biggest Star Wars-related products to be released last year in the build-up to The Force Awakens was the robotic BB-8 toy from Sphero. The device could move around on its own in an automated mode, or be controlled via smartphone, but in January the company revealed a new Force Band accessory. When paired with BB-8, the wristband allows users to control their bot with mere hand gestures. And it will finally be available later this month.

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Dexmo exoskeleton VR gloves inches to a final product

Dexmo exoskeleton VR gloves inches to a final product

Back in 2014, before the first commercial VR headsets hit the market, Chinese company Dexta Robotics was already asking the hard questions: how do you implement user input and interaction without breaking the illusion of an immersive virtual reality world. Although its Dexmo Kickstarter was canceled, the company continued working on the idea of exoskeleton gloves for VR. And based on its latest video and PR materials, it seems quite ready to take the new Dexmo into the final phase of an actual, commercial product.

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Roborace DevBot self-driving racecar needs no humans to win

Roborace DevBot self-driving racecar needs no humans to win

The most common argument used by self-driving car proponents like Google is that these vehicles, which practically robots, are better at maintaining road and driver safety than humans have proven to be. DevBot, however, is different. While its own survival is probably a key consideration, it is more interested in speeding. Because, yes, DevBot is the prototype for a robotic, fully automated, self-driving racecar for Forumula E’s Roborace and it will be zooming, not cruising, on a race track soon. The NHTSA’s worst nightmare.

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Game Boy Classic turned into a drone controller

Game Boy Classic turned into a drone controller

The Internet is filled with Game Boy hacks, from boards turned into GameBoy clones to GameBoys themselves modded to do things that couldn’t even be imagined decades ago. And yet there is no shortage of new cool things people do with the venerable gaming handheld. Take for example, this project undertaken by Gautier Hattenberger, who turned the classic version of the Game Boy into a controller for a Parrot AR Drone 2. Perhaps best of all, it doesn’t actually require gutting the now rare and expensive gaming device to do so.

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Intel Joule is the tiny Maker module for the IoT

Intel Joule is the tiny Maker module for the IoT

Intel has a new embedded microprocessor, Intel Joule, for Makers looking to squeeze a full PC into everything from smart glasses through to smart home gadgets, complete with RealSense. As well as a processor, storage, and connectivity, Joule can be hooked up to a RealSense camera array for depth-sensing and motion tracking.

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Intel Euclid packs RealSense into candybar-sized PC

Intel Euclid packs RealSense into candybar-sized PC

Intel keeps pushing RealSense as a product family, not just a depth-sensing camera, and its latest products - including the brand new, extra-skinny Camera 400 - push the system into robotics, drones, and autonomous cars. At IDF 2016 today, the company's annual developer conference in San Francisco, CA, Intel demonstrated its latest cameras and previewed a self-contained RealSense computer in a box the size of a candy bar.

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