Home » Leading Edge Robotics News

Leading Edge Robotics News

LERN: New robot tries to hold our interest

Humanoids such as Hiro, above, would be better at engaging humans if they noticed when we weren't interested and adjusted the conversation accordingly. (Photo credit: Elhuyar Fundazioa)

Humans communicate using words and body language. When we sense the other person is distracted, we change the course of our conversation and our actions to regain their attention. Most robots, however, use monologue mechanisms even when engaging in dialogue with a person: they continue speaking in the same way, even if the human isn’t paying attention. Researchers at the Interactions and ... Read More »

LERN: Robotic worm for head surgery can cut around corners

NiLiBoRo is held in place during surgery using its expandable bladders. Researchers are currently optimizing the pocket geometry using multiple prototypes. (Photo credit: Fraunhofer IPA)

Removing tumors from within the inner ear is a very delicate matter that typically requires surgeons to remove the entire mastoid bone. However, in the future, all doctors will need to do is cut a tunnel of 5 mm in diameter through the bone using a miniature robot named NiLiBoRo. The system is capable of adjusting its path while drilling ... Read More »

LERN: Improving Communication Between Robots and Astronauts

The international UNISONO project, which is coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has developed a new system so that astronauts can better control robots. (Photo credit: VTT)

Recently, astronaut Andreas Mogensen placed a metal connector in a receptacle that had a mechanical tolerance to the connector of only 150 micro-meters. The success was notable because Andreas wasn’t trained to perform this task and performed while in space — some 160000 km away from the robot. But the procedure took a whopping 45 minutes. Researchers with the European Space ... Read More »

LERN: ‘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 was theorized less than a decade ago, and combines passive dynamics of a mechanical ... Read More »

LERN: 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 care or domestic tasks — working near the elderly, injured, children or pets. Ph.D. ... Read More »

LERN: 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, and assist with tasks that normally require two people. The goal is to have the ... Read More »

LERN: 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 with little success. Now, engineers may be one step closer to the elusive flying ... Read More »

LERN: 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, yet by programming their behaviour to become more intelligent we could in fact be ... Read More »

LERN: 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 training technique. “We have been able to thermomechanically train our robotic finger to mimic ... Read More »

LERN: 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 at Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, and Northwestern University, developed a ... Read More »

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 »