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Soft electronics change the way robots can touch

Soft electronics are changing the way robots can touch. EPFL Scientists have developed a new soft robotic gripper -- made out of rubber and stretchable electrodes -- that can bend and pick up delicate objects like eggs and paper, taking robotics to a whole new level. (Photo credit: EPFL Alain Herzog)

Have you ever rubbed a balloon in your hair to make it stick to the wall? This electrostatic stickiness called electroadhesion may change robotics forever. EPFL scientists have invented a new soft gripper that uses electroadhesion: flexible electrode flaps that act like a thumb-index duo. It …

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‘Squishy’ robot fingers aid deep sea exploration

Soft robotic gripper is attached (lower left) to the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) as it is lowered into the Red Sea for a test dive. (Photo credit: Kevin Galloway, Wyss Institute at Harvard University)

During a 2014 talk on his exploration of deep-sea coral reefs, Baruch College marine biologist David Gruber showed a video of clunky robotic hands collecting fragile specimens of coral and sponges from the ocean floor. Harvard engineer and roboticist Robert J. Wood was in the audience …

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One hundred robots that students and researchers can control

For now, the project centers on small robots like these. One day, project leader Magnus Egerstedt imagines creatures of all shapes and sizes will fill a larger Robotarium. (Photo credit: Raftermen Photography)

The Georgia Institute of Technology is building a new lab that will allow roboticists from around the country to conduct experiments remotely. Researchers from other universities, as well as middle and high school students, will schedule experiments, upload their own programming code, watch the robots in …

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Using the Force to Control Tiny Robots

This image shows how two microbots can be independently controlled when operating within a group, an advance aimed at using the tiny machines for applications such as advanced manufacturing and biomedical research. (Photo credit: Purdue University image/David Cappelleri)

Researchers are now able to control individual microrobots, using something likened to mini force fields. Until now it was only possible to control groups of microbots to move generally in unison, said David Cappelleri, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University. “The reason we …

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Robotic Glove Could Aid in the Study of Brain and Muscle Function

A research team from the National University of Singapore has developed a new lightweight and smart rehabilitation device called EsoGlove to help patients who have lost their hand functions due to injuries or nerve-related conditions to restore their hand movements. (Photo credit: National University of Singapore)

Patients who have lost hand function due to injury or nerve-related conditions — such as stroke and muscular dystrophy — now have a chance of restoring their hand movement using a new, lightweight rehabilitation device, called EsoGlove. Made of soft materials, this novel device is an …

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Developing Code to Sense Human Intent

A role adaptation control scheme allows the leader or follower role of a robot to be adjusted continuously based on the sensed intention of a human collaborator. (Photo credit: A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research)

A robot’s role in a shared task could be continuously adjusted during the activity, thanks to a new adaptive robot control system that can sense whether a human operator wants to lead or follow. Developed by researchers at Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the …

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Special Joints Transform Household Objects Into a Robot

HandiMate helps kids build robots with any material sitting around the house. (Photo Credit: Purdue University)

Purdue University Professor of Mechanical Engineering Karthik Ramani has developed a new robot toy for kids called the HandiMate robot toolkit Unlike conventional kits that require kids to build a robot according to its manual, HandiMate—designed for ages 10 to 15—can be created with any material …

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VertiGo robot climbs from floor to wall

The Vertigo's four wheels are unpowered. Thrust comes from the propellors. (Photo credit: Disney Research and ETH)

Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich teamed up to build a robot that can make the transition from floor to wall and then climb up the wall. A pair of propellors is used to flip the bot from floor to wall and move along uneven surfaces, such …

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Social, Realistic, Telepresence Robots

Prof Nadia Thalmann (left) posing beside Nadine, a life-like social robot capable of autonomously expressing emotions and gestures. (Photo credit: Image courtesy of Nanyang Technological University)

Nadine, a receptionist at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) is friendly, and will greet you back if you say hello. The next time you meet her, she will remember your name and your previous conversation with her. She looks almost like a human being, with soft …

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The Meccano Meccanoid G15KS

The Meccano MeccaNoid G15 (Photo credit: Toys R Us)

This 4-feet tall robot could get your kids excited about the robot revolution! Made of high-impact polycarbonate construction plates, the Maccanoid G15KS has six motors and multicolored LED eyes. It can be controlled remotely using a Bluetooth device, or programmed using motion capture. You basically move the robot they …

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‘Robot locust’ can traverse rocky terrain, assist in search and rescue

The Minibot was inspired by locusts. (Photo credit: American Friends of Tel Aviv University)

A new miniature robot is poised to make a major contribution to the field of advanced robotics. The new locust-inspired robot, dubbed ‘TAUB’ (for ‘Tel Aviv University and Ort Braude College’), is five inches long and weighs less than one ounce. It can jump 11 feet …

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Rudolph the Robotic Reindeer?!??

Ho! Ho! Whoooh! Those aren't reindeer! (Photo credit: Boston Dynamics)

Boston Dynamics has released a video of some of their four-legged, walking robots pulling Mrs. Claus in Santa’s sleigh. The short video features three of the biologically-inspired robots prancing across a green field in front of an office building and a cab (which happens to travel …

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Lessons Learned Watching Untrained People Fly Drones

A Parrot AR.Drone.2, such as the one shown here, was used in the study. (Photo credit: Parrot)

You can learn a lot watching someone who has no clue what they’re doing. That’s the basic premise behind new research on human-robot interactions. The study, which involved 90 untrained participants trying to fly drones through an obstacle course, found that it didn’t matter whether the participants were told …

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