Robotics

Sony KOOV robotics kit finally out a year later, on Indiegogo

Sony KOOV robotics kit finally out a year later, on Indiegogo

Sony has a rather strange relationship with consumer robotics lately. It's definitely no stranger to them, having had at least two in the past. Now it is taking a more educational spin to these robots, but it isn't going directly to the market. Toio, revealed last week, is on Sony's internal "First Flight" crowdfunding platform. And now the KOOV coding and robotics kit has made its way to Indiegogo as well, finally making a real public appearance a year after Sony was supposed to launch it.

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Sony Toio is a mashup of tiny cube robots and game consoles

Sony Toio is a mashup of tiny cube robots and game consoles

Sony might not be a name you'd immediately associate with robotic toys, but it does, or rather did, have a few under its name, from the dog-like Aibo to the the "dancing" Rolly to, more recently, the KOOV robotics kit. It isn't done yet, however, and a Toio product may be just over the horizon. Aimed at very young learners, Toio mixes papercraft, tiny rolling robot cubes, and a system that resembles a gaming console, complete with controllers and even cartridges.

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Softbank acquires robotics company Boston Dynamics from Google

Softbank acquires robotics company Boston Dynamics from Google

Robotics aficionados may have mixed feelings right now. On the one hand, Alphabet, Google's parent compny has just sold Boston Dynamics, potentially saving the robotics company from descending into obsolescence in the company. On the other hand, the buyer is none other than Japan's Softbank, which may raise a few eyebrows within the tech industry and raising the biggest question of all: what does Softbank plan to do with Boston Dynamics' giant robots?

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Researchers create robotic set of secondary arms

Researchers create robotic set of secondary arms

If you've ever felt like having only two arms just isn't enough to accomplish all your tasks, a practical solution could soon be on the horizon. Researchers from Japan's University of Tokyo and Keio University have developed a wearable pair of extra robotic arms, easily increasing your number of limbs and hands. Dubbed the "Metalimbs" project, the arms can be on similar to a backpack, and instead of being connected to the wearer's brain for thought control, users tell the appendages what to do with their legs.

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Apple’s Swift Playgrounds gets robot hook-up with LEGO, Parrot, more

Apple’s Swift Playgrounds gets robot hook-up with LEGO, Parrot, more

Swift Playgrounds, Apple's software developing toolkit intended to encourage kids to learn code, is breaking out of the iPad and connecting with educational toys from LEGO, Parrot, and more. Launched at WWDC 2016 a year ago, Swift Playgrounds took Apple's programming language and wrapped it up in an iPad app that aimed to be equal parts education and entertainment. Now, the fruits of Swift Playgrounds will be able to engage with devices in the real-world.

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Laundroid is a household robot that will fold your laundry

Laundroid is a household robot that will fold your laundry

Washing clothes today is far easier and less time consuming that it was mere decades ago, and that's thanks to improved technologies boosting cleaning quality and drying times while decreasing energy consumption. Modern technology has done little to reduce the human element involved in clothes washing, though, meaning you still have to retrieve the dried clothes, fold them, and put them away. Laundroid may change that.

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BIKI is a drone that can dive and swim but not fly

BIKI is a drone that can dive and swim but not fly

Who says all drones can do is fly and crash? While nothing in its formal definition limits it as such, drones these days have mostly been associated with unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs. Robosea, however, is introducing a new kind of UAV, an unmanned aquatic vehicle. BIKI doesn't look like a helicopter but more like a fish, because that is exactly what it is. Meet the world's first bionic underwater robofish drone.

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A robot just landed a Boeing 737, in a simulator of course

A robot just landed a Boeing 737, in a simulator of course

Airline pilots beware! Yours might be the next job in line to be replaced by robots. Well, maybe not yet soon. In the future, however, robots might indeed take over some tasks deemed either too menial or too distracting for humans. For now, however, DARPA's ALIAS robot, short for Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System, is content to be a co-pilot and trainer. And to prove its flying chops, it successfully landed a passenger plane. Well, a simulated Boeing 737 cockpit, to be precise.

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Dubai’s “real Robocop” starts its active duty

Dubai’s “real Robocop” starts its active duty

Don't worry, no human police officers were harmed in the creation of these mechanical policemen. Though called "Robocop" to give their name a bit more weight and credibility, these are really more robot cops than cyborgs, all metal and computers inside. And these will be the robots that could make up a quarter of Dubai's police force by 2030. And though they currently only patrol the hallways of the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC), they will soon start their public service on streets.

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This ‘soft’ 3D-printed robot can walk on rough surfaces

This ‘soft’ 3D-printed robot can walk on rough surfaces

University of California San Diego mechanical engineering professor Michael Tolley and a team of researchers have created what is said to be the first 'soft' robot that is able to handle traveling on rough terrain. The robot features a total of four legs that were made using 3D-printing, and with them the robot is able to walk across rough surfaces like sand, as well as crawling over larger objects. The company demonstrated the robot's walking capabilities in a video.

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Lowe’s, Virginia Tech make lightweight exosuit for heavy lifting

Lowe’s, Virginia Tech make lightweight exosuit for heavy lifting

Forget images of sci-fi battles between enhanced soldiers, aliens, and machines. Though it definitely looks like a prototype prop for the Edge of Tomorrow, this exosuit has a less violent and more benign mission. Born from a collaboration between Virginia Tech and home improvement company Lowe's Innovation Lab, the exosuit simply uses the principles of preservation of energy and a few flexible but sturdy materials to make lifting something like a bag of concrete less painful.

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Lowe’s teams with Virginia Tech to develop robotic exosuit for workers

Lowe’s teams with Virginia Tech to develop robotic exosuit for workers

Hardware and home improvement store Lowe's is no stranger to innovative tech -- the company began testing robotic workers at some of its stores late last year, for example. Now the company is back with another development, this one made in conjunction with Virginia Tech -- robotic exosuits (eg, exoskeletons) for warehouse workers. The suits are designed to help workers lift and move heavy items without getting tired as quickly.

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