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LERN: Bat-Inspired Robot Features Wings that Adjust to Walk

The DALER robot features wings that fold, much like those on a vampire bat.

Researchers in Europe have developed a robot that can fly and walk, by rotating wing segments. Named after one of the project’s lead researchers, Ludovic Daler, the Deployable Air Land Exploration Robot (DALER) features a unique design inspired by vampire bats. Triangular segments on the outer edge of the robot’s wings twist, end over end, slowly moving the robot forward, even in ... Read More »

LERN: New Robot Helps NASA Build Lighter, Stronger Parts

Brian Stewart, system's integration manager at NASA, poses with ISAAC's rotating head. Photo courtesy of NASA/David C. Bowman.

A new robot at NASA will help the space agency develop stronger, lighter materials for aerospace vehicles. The multi-million dollar robot, called the Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISAAC), is one of only three worldwide. “It changes how we look at composites,” saysBrian Stewart, integration manager for the ISAAC project. “We can convert research ideas into real projects pretty ... Read More »

LERN: New Glass Could Make Longer-Lasting Batteries

A new kind of glass could double the life of Li-ion batteries. Photo courtesy of ETH Zürich/Peter Rüegg.

Chemists and materials scientists at ETH Zurich have developed a new kind of glass they say could significantly improve batteries. The research team says the new material — vanadate-borate glass — could be used as the cathode to double the life of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. “One major advantage of vanadate-borate glass is that it is simple and inexpensive to manufacture,” says Semih ... Read More »

LERN: BeachBot Creates Huge Pictures in the Sand

BeachBot creates huge works of art in the sand using a special rake individually adjustable tongs. Photo courtesy of BeachBot.ch.

Disney Research and ETH Zürich teamed up to create an artistic robot that draws in the sand. BeachBot uses a rake with individually adjustable tongs to create lines in the sand, drawing abstract art and Disney characters. Three special balloon tires move the bot along with beach without a trace, so the robot is free to leave some areas untouched as it follows ... Read More »

LERN: Robots Practice Exploring Mars Using Volcanos on Earth

VolcanoBot 1, shown here in a lava tube, explored the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii in May 2014. The robot is enabling researchers to put together a 3-D map of the fissure. Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are set to send more robots into volcanos. VolcanoBot 1 has already explored Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano and built 3D maps of fissures inside. Now NASA says VolcanoBot 2 will be tested later this year. Lighter and smaller than its predecessor, VolcanoBot 2 has the added advantage of being able to tilt its camera up, ... Read More »

LERN: Sally Ride EarthKam Puts the World in Perspective for Kids

This photo from a 2012 Sally Ride EarthKam mission shows the Coral Sea. Photo courtesy of Sally Ride EarthKAM.

Children from around the world can request pictures from the International Space Station, via a new Sally Ride EarthKam mission. Teachers and homeschool instructors can sign-up in advance on the Sally Ride EarthKam Website, then log-in to make photo requests between January 27 to January 30. The photo requests are processed at the University California, San Diego’s Sally Ride EarthKAM Mission Operations Center. After the mission, students and instructors ... Read More »

LERN: Beagle 2 Found on Mars

By comparing images taken over the years, scientists have been able to identify parts of the Beagle 2 on the surface of Mars.

The UK’s Beagle 2 Mars Lander has been found on Mars, more than 10 years after it went missing. After analyzing and comparing images taken over a period of years by theHiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have identified a parachute, the partially deployed Beagle 2, a rear cover, and possibly even an air bag. The parts were all found ... Read More »

LERN: Robot Learns to Cook By Watching YouTube Videos

University of Maryland computer scientist Yiannis Aloimonos (center) is developing robotic systems that can learn by watching videos. (Photo courtesy of John T. Consoli.)

Humans often learn new skills by watching other people. Ideally, robots should be able to do the same. But interpreting human actions is challenging, even for the most intelligent robots. Now researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) and the National Information Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence in Australia have programmed a robot that learns new skills by watching videos. ... Read More »

LERN: MIT Suggests Robots Move Around to Make Sense of Objects

Researchers at MIT have proposed a new algorithm to speed up object identification. Photo Credit: Christine Daniloff and Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

Robots would have an easier time identifying objects if they moved around while taking stock of their environment, according to researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). In a new study, the researchers explain that a standard algorithm for aggregating perspectives recognized four times as many objects as a single-perspective algorithm. Additionally, using multiple perspectives reduc ed ... Read More »

LERN: AI Researchers Solve Heads-Up Limit Texas Hold’em Poker

Michael Bowling (left) and his colleagues in the Computer Poker Research Group at UAlberta have solved heads-up limit Texas hold 'em poker. Photo courtesy of John Ulan.

Gaming research has contributed significantly to the development of artificial intelligence over the last few decades. Now the Computer Poker Research Group at the University of Alberta in Canada has reached a new milestone: solving heads-up limit hold’em poker. “Poker has been a challenge problem for artificial intelligence going back over 40 years, and until now, heads-up limit Texas hold’em ... Read More »

LERN: Combining Video Games with Real Robot Battles

Reach Robotics' prototypes, Brute and Berserker, fight it out. Photo courtesy of Reach Robotics.

A small company in England is developing an interesting game that combines mobile apps with real-world, robotic combat. Using smart devices, players tell their robots — called Mecha Monsters — which actions to take in battle. Winning Mecha Monsters can level up to gain new skills. “It’s kind of like Pokemon in real life,” explains Silas Adekunle,  CEO of Reach ... Read More »

LERN: Robot to Play Beer Pong at CES

Empire Robotics CES booth lets humans test their beer pong skills against a robot. Photo courtesy of Empire Robotics.

Robots often dot the landscape at the Consumer Electronics Show, and this year one bot is showing off its skills at beer pong. Empire Robotics‘ demonstration pits humans against its novel gripper robot, the Versaball. The bot is actually intended for manufacturing. But frat boys should take note: it is also quite skilled at throwing ping pong balls into plastic ... Read More »

LERN: Massachusetts Funds Multi-Million Dollar AUV Testing and Research Center

Dr. James Bellingham director of WHOI’s Center for Marine Robotics announces the grant. Photo courtesy of Jayne Doucette, WHOI.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has received a $5 million grant toward a new center to test and research marine robots, including AUVs. The new facilities will include a rapid prototyping center, advanced pressure test facility, indoor robotic test tank facility, and an in-ocean test environment. Grant money will also go toward applied research, product development and novel testing activities. ... Read More »