Tuesday, October 24, 2017
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‘Spring-mass’ technology heralds the future of walking robots

Researchers lob balls at ATRIAS to test its balance. (Photo credit: Oregon State University.)

A study by engineers at Oregon State University suggests that they have achieved the most realistic robotic implementation of human walking dynamics that has ever been done, which may ultimately allow human-like versatility and performance. The system is based on a concept called “spring-mass” walking that …

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Nao Robot Gets into the Driver’s Seat

Let your Nao go for a spin in his own BMW. (Photo credit: RobotsLab)

The Nao miniature humanoid is impressive on its own. The Wi-Fi enabled bot can detect faces, respond to a lot of spoken phrases, record images, and walk. Now, the little guy can drive his own car! His blue BMW is Arduino-based and includes two independent motors and …

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How to fall gracefully, if you’re a robot

By planning ahead, the robot above is able to brace for impact and avoid hitting his head. (Photo credit: Georgia Institute of Technology.)

Researchers at Georgia Tech have identified a way to teach robots how to fall with grace and without serious damage. The work is important as costly robots become more common in manufacturing alongside humans. The skill becomes especially important, too, as robots are sought for health …

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BesMan: A Robot for Menial Labor in Space

If the project is successful, Besman will be able to learn by imitating humans. (Photo credit: David Schikora, DFKI GmbH)

There’s a lot of work to do on the International Space Station, and only a handful of humans to do it! That’s why researchers from the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence and the University of Bremen are working on a bot to perform menial labor in space, …

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Dive of the RoboBee

The Harvard RoboBee, designed in Wood's lab, is a microrobot, smaller than a paperclip, that flies and hovers like an insect, flapping its tiny, nearly invisible wings 120 times per second. (Photo credit: Harvard Microrobotics Lab.)

In 1939, a Russian engineer proposed a “flying submarine” — a vehicle that can seamlessly transition from air to water and back again. While it may sound like something out of a James Bond film, engineers have been trying to design functional aerial-aquatic vehicles for decades …

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Actobotics’ Tracked Robot: Agent 390

This tracked chassis can handle 50 lbs loads. (Photo credit: Servocity.)

Actobotics has released a new tracked robot platform. Known as Agent 390, the agile bot features a smooth, ball-bearing supported, drive track system with omni-directional control. Agent 390 also has great traction, despite the smooth contact patches on the tracks. With a rigid, aluminum base, Agent …

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Flawed Robots are Better Equipped to Build Relationships with Humans

MARC the 3D printed robot. MARC the 3D printed robot. (Photo courtesy of the University of London.)

Humans are less likely to form successful working relationships with interactive robots if they are programmed to be too perfect, new research reveals. Interactive or ‘companion’ robots are increasingly used to support caregivers for elderly people and for children with autism, Asperger syndrome or attachment disorder, …

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Bio-inspired robotic finger looks, feels and works like the real thing

The finger was placed under the manipulandum while it was locked to measure the maximum force each SMA actuator was capable of applying. (b) The manipulandum was subsequently unlocked and a spring was placed between the two sides to measure the force and displacement of the finger with a compliant object. (Photo credit: FAU)

Inspired by both nature and biology, Erik Engeberg of Florida Atlantic University has designed a novel robotic finger that looks and feels like the real thing. The robotic finger uses shape memory alloy (SMA), a 3D CAD model of a human finger, a 3D printer, and a unique thermal …

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Adafruit’s 16-Channel PWM/Servo HAT for Raspberry Pi

This mini-kit makes it easy to control multiple DC Servos using a Raspberry Pi. (Photo credit: Adafruit.)

Normally, it’s not easy to control DC Servos using a Raspberry Pi, because the motors require well timed pulses in order to work properly. This new 16-Chanel PWM/Servo HAT from Adafruit makes it easy! No need to fut around with the Linux kernel. Just pop on the …

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Designing Robots that Move Easily Over Loose Sand

Sceloporus olivaceus moves through test bed. (Photo credt: Qian, Zhang, Horff, Umbanhowar, Full, Goldman)

Soft steps and large feet allow animals and robots to maintain high speeds on loose soil and sand. These findings, reported recently in Bioinspiration & Biomechanics, offer a new insight into how animals respond to different terrain, and how robots can learn from them. The researchers, based …

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Actobotics’ DIY Servo Controller

A customizable two-channel servo controller that you can build yourself! (Photo credit: Actobotics)

Learn about electronics while buiding your own control board with the Actobotics Servo Controller kit. Once assembled, the two-channel controller can be plugged in to servos in one of two ways. If the servos are located near the board, users can simply use plug the servos …

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New Lego Mindstorms App Announced

With the new Mindstorms app, builders will be able to create programs for MINDSTORMS robots directly from iOS and Android tablet devices. (Photo credit; The Lego Group)

A new app, called the Lego Mindstorms EV3 Programmer App, will let builders create programs for Mindstorms robots directly from iOS and Android tablet devices. Featuring a streamlined selection of the most-used commands, the EV3 Programmer App allows for more interaction away from the desktop or laptop …

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Your Robot’s Manners Matter

Research by Ohad Inbar (left) and Joachim Meyer found that people were less influenced by the perceived age and gender of a humanoid. Politeness mattered most, in terms of first impressions. (Photo credit: Tel Aviv University)

Robots are increasingly considered for use in highly tense civilian encounters to minimize person-to-person contact and danger to peacekeeping personnel. Trust, along with physical qualities and cultural considerations, is an essential factor in the effectiveness of these robotic peacekeepers. New research that will be presented at …

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