Robotics

Look Ma, no cables! Next gen ATLAS robot is quieter, freer

Look Ma, no cables! Next gen ATLAS robot is quieter, freer

It seems that the original ATLAS might indeed be left for household chores if Boston Dynamic's version 2 becomes the biped robot to beat. The now Google-owned robotics company has just released a video showing off what it calls the "next generation" ATLAS robot. Calling it simply "next gen" or even version 2.0 might be something of an understatement, considering the remarkable improvement the newer robot has over its predecessor in terms of mobility, intelligence, and, perhaps most importantly, reduction in noise when the robot does start to move.

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Mind-controlled prosthetic arm can wiggle its fingers

Mind-controlled prosthetic arm can wiggle its fingers

Prosthetic research has progressed rapidly over the past few years, with researchers demonstrating increasingly fine and complex control, in some cases using direct brain connects to facilitate the movements. The industry has just unveiled yet another milestone, with John Hopkins researchers successfully demonstrating individual prosthetic finger movements performed via mind control.

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Wasp GPS could help smart drones find home faster

Wasp GPS could help smart drones find home faster

A decade of research figuring out how wasps navigate could help drones and self-piloting robots fly smarter, researchers in Australia claim, having concluded that once again nature has proved itself smarter than human inventors. The team examined the flight behaviors of ground-nesting wasps, which can fly significant distances but still find their way back home after foraging.

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DARPA is launching an autonomous, submarine-hunting robot ship in April

DARPA is launching an autonomous, submarine-hunting robot ship in April

As the division of the US military most responsible high-tech developments, DARPA has announced that April will the launch of a futuristic ship that is designed to detect and fight submarines at sea. But the thing is, the ship doesn't even have a crew; it's completely autonomous. That means it's basically a robotic, submarine-hunting drone yacht. Unfortunately, because it's the military, they have to give it an acronym for its long, ridiculous name, instead of just calling it an "autonomous submarine hunter."

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Forget the mini BB-8, get a life-size one this year

Forget the mini BB-8, get a life-size one this year

Sphero's BB-8 toy was the must-have item last year for Star Wars fans, with the droid's rolling sphere body and head that stays upright perfectly replicated in miniature form. This year, however, a new form of BB-8 is going to take homes by storm, and this time it's life-size. At the 2016 New York Toy Fair this weekend, toy-maker Spin Master has unveiled a life-size BB-8 from The Force Awakens, and not only is it controlled via remote, but it will respond to voice commands too.

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Sub1 robot solves Rubik’s Cube in 0.887 seconds

Sub1 robot solves Rubik’s Cube in 0.887 seconds

No matter how fast you get at solving the Rubik's Cube, you'll never be robot-fast. The race has been on to build a robot that outperforms other robots, solving the colorful cubed puzzle at record-breaking speeds. It was astounding when a robot solved the puzzle in a little more than two seconds, and especially exciting when a new sub-1 second record was set. Now a creator has published a video of his own results, and it takes things down to a mere 0.887 seconds.

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Robo-roach takes search & rescue tips from maligned pest

Robo-roach takes search & rescue tips from maligned pest

Cockroaches may not sound the most likely of search & rescue heroes, but robots borrowing the pests' ability to squeeze through the tiniest cracks might revolutionize post-disaster triaging. Researchers at the PolyPEDAL Lab at UC Berkeley are taking the roaches as inspiration, cooking up prototype rescue-bots that can compress their bodies down without impeding their ability to move.

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This robot chameleon changes colors faster than the real thing

This robot chameleon changes colors faster than the real thing

The future of color-changing body armor may be here, and it's in the form of this chameleon-shaped robot. Researchers from China's Wuhan University took a 3D-printed model (which also resembles a cat, but let's not split hairs) and covered it in plasmonic displays, which can produce colors and rapidly change between them by detecting the background with light sensors.

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Soft robotic gripper has strength and dexterity for lifting delicate objects

Soft robotic gripper has strength and dexterity for lifting delicate objects

Robotics designers have a tough job in creating lifting "hands" for robotic machines and devices that have the strength to lift items that are heavy while having the ability to handle delicate objects without breaking them. Using electroadhesion, the principal that allows a balloon to stick to a wall after you rub it on your hair, gripping devices for robots may have been changed significantly.

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Exoskeleton lets paraplegics walk away from wheelchairs

Exoskeleton lets paraplegics walk away from wheelchairs

One of the goals of medical device designers and engineers is to invent an exoskeleton that will allow those who are paralyzed to walk again. That reality is coming true, but the exoskeletons are still very expensive at this stage. One of the least expensive exoskeletons on the market is this Phoenix system made by a company called SuitX.

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Loon Copter can fly in the air, swim on or under water

Loon Copter can fly in the air, swim on or under water

For all the fun, or mayhem, that drones have to offer, they are, for all intents and purposes, creatures of the sky. They don't really take to land, much less water, which is the bane of any electronic contraption. However, there might be some instances where a remotely piloted machine will be needed to go the depths but also to fly high as well. At the moment, no commercial drone has that ability. But researchers from Oakland University's Embedded Systems Research Laboratory might be on to something with the Loon Copter: an unmanned aerial and aquatic drone or UAAV.

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DIY Exoskeleton can lift a Mini Cooper

DIY Exoskeleton can lift a Mini Cooper

Exoskeletons are very cool pieces of equipment that have stared in plenty of movies over the last few years form Edge of Tomorrow to Elysium. The idea behind an exoskeleton is to put a person into a powered device that gives them greater strength and endurance than they would have without it.

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