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LERN: Underwater Robots with Collective Cognition

These underwater robots communicate using LEDs. (Photo credit: COCORO.)

Underwater, autonomous robot swarms developed by researchers in the EU act like schools of fish, exchanging information about their environment as they explore. The robots made for the project, called COCORO, can even learn from their experiences. The team produced a series of videos outlining their experimental results. In one experiment, twenty robots in a tank of water counted the ... Read More »

LERN: Robotic Art Project Tries to Learn from Audience

Axel Tidemann, their robot [self.], and Øyvind Brandtsegg. (Photo credit: Ole Morten Melgård, NTNU.)

There have been numerous attempts to create a robot that learns the same way as a child. What makes a new project out of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) different, is that one of the primary researchers is a professor of music. “We’re still pretty far away from accurately modelling all aspects of a living child’s brain, ... Read More »

LERN: Transparent Robot Skin With Flexible Touch Sensors Created

The transparent, flexible and sensor-laden skin shown above could lead to a revolution in robotics. (Photo credit: University of Exeter.)

Robots might one day sport a transparent, sensor-rich skin, thanks to a recent advance in graphene production. The new approach is significantly cheaper and easier than previous methods. The research team, led by Professor Monica Craciun from the University of Exeter, say the material produced is also the first transparent and flexible touch-sensor that could enable the development of artificial ... Read More »

LERN: Robot Controlled Using Thoughts

Researchers have created a robot that can be steered using thoughts, as the culmination of a project called project called TOBI: Tools for Brain-Computer Interaction. (Photo credit: Alain Herzog / EPFL)

Researchers in Europe created a robot that can be controlled by a user’s thoughts. The team, led by José del R. Millán of Defitech Foundation Chair in Brain-Machine Interface (CNBI) hope the machine will one day help paralyzed people interact with folks near and far. Tests have so far involved nine disabled people and ten people without disabilities in Italy, Germany and ... Read More »

LERN: Energy Efficient Solar-Powered Sensors

The magnified detail of the chip shows the main control circuitry, including the startup electronics; the controller that determines whether to charge the battery, power a device, or both; and the array of switches that control current flow to an external inductor coil. (Photo credit: MIT)

Establishing a network of environmental sensors all over a forest is one thing. Keep the circuits properly powered is another. Imagine traipsing around the forest to replace 600 batteries every week! Makers need systems with ultra-low power sensors that can efficiently harvest energy from the environment. Researchers at MIT recently presented their work on such a system at the Symposia on VLSI Technology and ... Read More »

LERN: Micro Tentacles For Robot Fingers

The rubbery microtentacle shown here isstrong and small enough to trap and ant, but soft enough not to injure it. (Photo credit: Jaeyoun Kim/Iowa State University.)

Researchers are working on tiny tentacles that could allow robots to handle very small, delicate items. “Most robots use two fingers and to pick things up they have to squeeze,” said Jaeyoun Kim, an Iowa State University associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, in a statement. “But these tentacles wrap around very gently.” The tentacles are actually more like ... Read More »

LERN: Robot to Land on Asteroid, Then Send a Boulder Spinning Around the Moon

Microspine grippers on the end of the robotics arms will be used to grab the boulder. (Photo credit: NASA.)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working on a robot that will land on a near-Earth asteroid, find a boulder, and carefully set it into a stable orbit around the moon. Once there, astronauts on-board the Orion spacecraft will examine the boulder and extract samples for further study. The collection robot will have an arm with microspine grippers on the ... Read More »

LERN: The Quest for a Robot that Works Well With Humans

Professor Jochen Steil with one of the CogIMON humanoids. (Photo credit: Bielefeld University.)

Researchers at Bielefeld University are working on robots designed to work in tandem with humans. The project is called Cognitive Compliant Interaction in Motion, or CogIMON. Led by professor Jochen Steil of BU, the project will involve six international partners and have a budget of $7 million Euros. “The goal of CogIMon is to teach robots to understand the forces ... Read More »

LERN: Will Your Job Be Taken By a Robot?

Do you operate a snow plow for a living? Look out! The YukiTaro robot not only shovels snow, it converts it into a short, melting wall. (Photo credit: of Research and Development, Inc.)

Ever wondered how likely it is that your job will be stolen by a robot? Researchers at the University of Oxford studied the issue and produced a thoughtful paper entitiled, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?” Now National Public Radio has created an interactive app based on their research so that you can figure out how ... Read More »

LERN: Wood Pulp Batteries in Development

Researchers have created a battery from tree pulp that can be squished much like a sponge. (Photo credit: KTH.)

Robots could one day be powered by tree pulp. Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stanford University have developed a method for making elastic high-capacity batteries using nanocellulose from broken down from tree fibres. The battery can be squished, much like foam, and therefore tolerate a lot of physical wear and tear. “You can press it as much ... Read More »

LERN: Gaining Insight on Robotic Vision From Insects

University of Adelaide Ph.D. student Zahra Bagheri and supervisor Professor Benjamin Cazzolato with a vision system that uses algorithms based on insect vision. (Photo credit: University of Adelaide.)

A new research project seeks to improve robot vision by applying findings from research on insect and human sight. As a part of their work, the researchers built a virtual reality simulation, in which an artificial intelligence system pursued an object. The findings were recently published in the Journal of The Royal Society Interface. “Detecting and tracking small objects against ... Read More »

LERN: Robot Planning Algorithm Tested in Minecraft Model

"The whole of Minecraft is what we refer to as 'A.I. complete.' If you can do all of Minecraft you could solve anything. That's pretty far off, but there are lots of interesting research objectives along the way," says Brown researcher Stefanie Tellex. (Photo credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University.)

A new algorithm could help robots do a better job planning for the complexities of the real world. Interestingly, the code was tested in a video game. Robots often have a tough time planning their actions, in part because they don’t intutively know how to focus their actions and what information and objects can be ignored. This can lead to ... Read More »

LERN: South Korean Robot Wins First Prize in DARPA Robotics Challenge

DRC-Hubo gets a grip on the valve. (Photo credit: DARPA.)

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals were recently held in Pomona, California. The contest, which tests a robot’s skills at assisting humans in natural disaster scenarios, is extremely difficult. Robot are judged on their ability to perform a variety of tasks, including walking across rubble, open doors, turn valves, climb stairs, and drive a vehicle. The event included 23 teams from ... Read More »