Friday, December 15, 2017
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Remote Control for Soft Robots

This image shows a selective actuation of the side arms of a soft robot in a horizontal uniform magnetic field. (Photo credit: Sumeet Mishra, North Carolina State University.)

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a technique for using chains of magnetic nanoparticles to manipulate elastic polymers in three dimensions, which could be used to remotely control soft robots. The ability to control the motion of soft robots, coupled with their flexibility, gives …

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Moss Zombonitron 1600

Make a bunch of bots easily with this MOSS robotics system. (Photo credit: Modrobotics.com)

Build a variety of robots quickly and easily with the MOSS Zombonitron 1600. This kit includes 16 MOSS blocks and 56 Carbon Steel Spheres. Attach the cubes together with the steel spheres to create ball joints and hinges. As long as the blocks are aligned the right …

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Teaching robots the way we teach babies

Researchers used info on how babies follow an adult’s gaze to “teach” a robot to perform the same task. (Photo credit: University of Washington)

Babies learn about the world by exploring how their bodies move in space, grabbing toys, pushing things off tables and by watching and imitating what adults are doing. But when roboticists want to teach a robot how to do a task, they typically either write code …

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The Panavise Multi-Purpose Work Center (Model 350)

The MULTI-PURPOSE work holding tool for larger, heavier objects. It’s perfect for home repair or hobby needs! Self-centering, extra-wide opening jaws open a full 9” (228.6mm) and hold heavier objects by centering weight over base Parts Tray Base Mount adds stability [8.5” (215.9mm) diameter] and has …

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Build Your Own Actobotics Dual Motor Controller

The Actobotics Motor Driver can be purchased pre-assembled or as a kit. (Photo credit: Actobotics)

This tiny board can control two brushed DC motors. At 1.3″ x 3″ it also fits easily into an Actobotics channel or secures to the outside. Assembled, it weights only 0.60 oz. The has four operating modes: digital speed control (RC), analog speed control, split and servo. …

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Robot will Help Folks Lost in the Airport

The robot will have to navigate around glass partitions -- a tricky task for a bot! (Photo credit: LASS)

A robot will help passengers navigate the major Amsterdamn airport, Schiphol. The robot, which was built as part of a project called Spencer, map its surroundings. The project is funded by the European Commission and is a collaboration between researchers and businesses in five different countries. …

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RobotGeek Arduino Experimenters Kits

The RobotGeek Arduino Basic+ Experimenter's Kit: the most comprehensive of the Experimenters kits! (Photo credit: Trossen Robotics.)

Exploring how a component work, in detail, lays a great foundation for building a complete robot. RobotGeek supports this idea, with several Arduino-based kits designed to explore individual components. There’s a kit for linear actuators, one for touch sensors, and another for RFID. Want a more complete package? …

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SPRK: The See-Through Sphero

See what you're doing, with the SPRK Edition of the Sphero 2.0. (Photo credit: Sphero)

If you like being able to see the inner workings of machines, you’ll love the Sphero 2.0 – SPRK Edition. The main difference with this version of Sphero is its clear, polycarbonate shell that lets you check out what’s going on inside the bot. This feature …

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HEXBUG Battle Spider Dual Pack

It's red versus blue in a spider battle to the finish! (Photo credit: HEXBUG)

Duke it out with the HEXBUG Battle Spider Dual Pack! The pack includes two remote-controlled, spider-like robots. Each has a futuristic voice and sound effects. The bots even recoil when hit with infrared beams. Sensors measure each strike until only one spider is left standing. Ideal …

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Teaching robots to stay out of the way

Researcher Marianne Bakken attempting to get close and personal with an orange robot arm – moving in all directions to try to get the robot to collide with her. But it manages to avoid her every time. (Photo credit: Werner Juvik/SINTEF)

Researchers have developed a robot that adjusts its movements in order to avoid colliding with the people and objects around it. This provides new opportunities for more friendly interaction between people and machines. Modern industrial robots commonly weigh several tonnes are therefore placed inside enclosures to …

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Soft Robot Hand Handles Breakables

The fingers on this soft robotic gripper have sensors that estimate the size and shape of an object accurately enough to identify it from a set of multiple items. (Photo credit: Jason Dorfman/CSAIL)

Researchers from MIT have created a robot hand that can handle your fine breakables. Daniela Rus of MIT’s Distributed Robotics Lab demonstrated the 3-D-printed robotic hand which was made out of silicone rubber. The three-fingered bot can handle items as delicate as an egg and as thin …

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Developing New Standards of Drone Operations

A test pilot operates a virtual large unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, with simulated air traffic at a NASA research ground control station. The pilot uses the main traffic display for situational awareness. When detect-and-avoid systems notify the pilot that other traffic is too close, he uses a command and control interface to maneuver the aircraft into a safer trajectory. The pilot is connected with a communication head-set where he interacts with air traffic control similar to present-day operations. (Photo credit: NASA)

At a recent meeting at NASA’s Ames Research Center, members of a special committee called the RTCA worked on minimum operational performance standards for large unmanned aircraft systems. The RTCA is a public-private partnership that provides the Federal Aviation Administration comprehensive, industry-vetted recommendations about critical aviation …

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Move Your Muscle and Move Your Robot, Too!

Flex your arm, raise that sword! (Photo credit: Pololu)

Ever wanted to make a robot that could move along with you? A muscle sensor from Advancer Technologies will make the interface easy! The sensor tracks and amplifies the complex electric potential generated by muscle cells. It then converts it into a simple analog signal that can …

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