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LERN: 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 the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2015 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, CA examines ... Read More »

LERN: Robots Designed to Assist Seniors Get New Apartment

Dr Praminda Caleb-Solly (right) with two of the robots that will inhabit the studio. (Photo credit: UWE Bristol.)

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) recently launched a new facility to help robotics researchers develop and test technologies for assisting the elderly at home. The facility is modeled after a studio apartment, but far more high-tech. It is equipped with wireless sensors and cameras on a variety of features, such as cabinet doors, the fridge and sink. Data generated from the ... Read More »

LERN: Designing Electronics for the Harsh Environment of Venus

The Venus Landsailing Rover, depicted above, would need to be able to work in very hot, high pressure, corrosive conditions. (Photo credit: NASA.)

Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology are working on electronics able to handle the extremely high temperatures of Venus. The electronics are based on silicon carbide, a semiconductor that can withstand the extremely harsh climate of the second planet from the sun. “There are some places in space where the temperature is very high, such as the surface of Venus, ... Read More »

LERN: Drones Build Rope Bridge Capable of Supporting A Man

German researchers are using drones to build functional structures mid-air. (Photo credit: ETH Zurich, Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control.)

Drones are capable of far more than fancy photography. A team of researchers from ETH Zurich are using drones to build functional structures. A new video uploaded by the team shows a small team of quadcopters building a rope bridge that the men then walk across the 7.4 m structure. The bots build the bridge by carefully weaving ropes around ... Read More »

LERN: Marine Robots Create 3D map of Submarine Canyon

This photo of an orange Roughy in a coral reef was taken by the Isis ROV. (Photo credit: The National Oceanography Centre as part of the CODEMAP project.)

Marine robots helped capture the first truly three-dimensional pictures of submarine canyon habitats. The new maps include a 200 km canyon but also include details as fine as individual cold-water coral polyps. They will be used to help manage only English Marine Conservation Zone in deep water. The map was created during a recent scientific expedition to the Whittard Canyon ... Read More »

LERN: Indium-Plastic Film Could Lead to Stretchier Skin for Robots

Able to stretch and bend significantly while still conducting electricity, this film could result in better skin for robots. (Photo credit: Washington State University.)

A novel film designed for flexible electronics can stretch to twice to size without breaking. Created by Rahul Panat and Indranath Dutta of Washington State University, the indium-plastic film could significantly advance robotic skins, bendable batteries, wearable monitoring devices and sensors, and connected fabrics. The tiny metal connections that go into flexible electronics are challenging to manufacture robustly because they ... Read More »

LERN: Nao Learns from Humans, Passes on Knowledge

Instead of using pre-established plans, this Nao robot has been programmed to learn through direct interaction with a human. (Photo credit: Inserm/Patrice Latron.)

A team of French researchers from The National Center for Scientific Research has developed an autobiographical memory for the robot Nao, which enables it to pass on knowledge learned from people to other, less knowledgeable people. This technological progress could notably be used for operations on the International Space Station, where the robot, as the only permanent member, would liaise ... Read More »

LERN: Self-Driving Golf Carts Successfully Ferry 500 Tourists

The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) created self-driving golf carts that successfully transported 500 tourists around a garden. (Photo credit: SMART.)

Self-driving golf carts were successfully used to drive some 500 tourists around a garden in Singapore. The six-day experiment tested the carts skills when dealing with pedestrians and bicyclists, and involved an online booking system for scheduling pickups and drop-offs at 10 stations located around the garden. “We would like to use robot cars to make transportation available to everyone,” ... Read More »

LERN: Unite Your Raspberry Pi and Arduino with Arduberry

Use Arduino sensors on your next Pi project with the Arduberry. (Photo credit: Dexter Industries.)

The Arduberry has one wish: to bring together the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi. Designed by Dexter Industries, the Aruberry is a shield that plugs into a Pi so that Arduino sensors and shields can be easily connected. No physical adjustments are requirement for most shields: you can just plug them in and program them via your Raspberry Pi using ... Read More »

LERN: 3D Printed Mircofish Robots

Fluorescent image demonstrating the detoxification capability of the microfish containing PDA nanoparticles. (Photo credit: W. Zhu and J. Li, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.)

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego used an innovative 3D printing technology they developed to manufacture multipurpose fish-shaped microrobots — called microfish — that swim around efficiently in liquids, are chemically powered by hydrogen peroxide and magnetically controlled. These proof-of-concept synthetic microfish could inspire a new generation of tiny robots with diverse capabilities such as detoxification, sensing and ... Read More »

LERN: Reducing Robot Energy Consumption with Smooth Moves

From left: Dr Kristofer Bengtsson, master’s student Emma Vidarsson and Professor Bengt Lennartson in the Robotics and Automation Laboratory at Chalmers University of Technology. The research group at the Department of Signals and Systems also includes PhD students Oskar Wigström and Sarmad Riazi. The optimization tool is being developed in the EU research project Areus. (Photo credit: Oscar Mattsson.)

By minimizing the acceleration of industrial robots, energy consumption can be reduced by up to 40 percent — while retaining the given production time. This is the result of a new optimization algorithm that was developed by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology. Optimization of the robot’s movements reduces acceleration and deceleration, as well as the time the robot is ... Read More »

LERN: Will Soft Robots Speed Up?

These soft-robot actuators quickly convert a small input into a big output. (Photo credit: Credit: Johannes Overvelde/The Bertoldi Lab)

Researchers at Harvard have developed faster actuators that might speed up soft robots. Existing soft robots must move large amounts of liquid or gas, resulting in slow movements. The new approach takes advantage of snap-through instabilities: big changes that are instantly triggered by small changes. Normally, snap-through instabilities are associated with mechanical failure, thought to be uncontrollable, and avoided. This ... Read More »

LERN: 3D Imaging Technology that Works in Bright Light

A depth-sensing camera can create a 3-D image of an object, even if it is in bright light. (Photo credit: CMU.)

Researchers in Canada and the US have developed a new 3D imaging technology that — unlike other depth sensing systems — can work in bright light, because it only gathers the light it actually needs to create the image. Invented by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Toronto the system uses a mathematical model that optimizes the ... Read More »