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Leading Edge Robotics News

LERN: Open-Source Tricorder You Can Make with Your Toaster Oven

Peter Jansen's open-source tricorder puts a variety of sensors at your fingertips!

Interested in exploring the universe? Open-source tool developer Peter Jensen has created a device much like a Star Trek tricorder, using mostly off-the-shelf parts that were soldered in his toaster oven. The small device, which Jensen calls the Arducorder Mini, uses a PIC32MX795F512L with 128k of RAM and 512k of flash. It includes an array of sensors, including a radiation sensor, a magnetometer, ... Read More »

LERN: Quantum Mechanics to Accelerate Progress in Robotics

Both the classical and the quantum RPS are characterized by their internal Markov chains over the clip space. The procedures the quantum agent performs in order to choose the desired actions are listed.

Researchers from Spain, Austria, and Croatia believe the field of quantum mechanics holds great promise for advancing robotics. Specifically, the researchers believe that integrating quantum physics and artificial intelligence will provide a “quadratic speedup” in robotic learning. According to the study, many robots are unable to function adequately in “moderately realistic environment” because they simply can’t think fast enough to respond from ... Read More »

LERN: A Prosthetic Hand that Feels Textures

Researchers have developed an electrical stimulation system capable of allowing the user to feel textures and relieving phantom pain. Photo courtesy of Case Western Reserve University.)

Prosthetic limbs have many limitations. One of the challenges for users is not being able to distinguish between different textures. Researchers have now developed an electrical stimulation system that helps those who have lost limbs be able to feel different textures again. While many prosthetic limbs offer advanced mechatronics, they do not provide the texture sensations that assist with fine motor ... Read More »

LERN: Robots that Can Sign

Toshiba's sign language robot can only demonstrate basic greeting. But the company hopes to add sensing, speech synthesis and speech recognition by 2020. Photo courtesy of Toshiba.

Toshiba demonstrated a humanoid able to use Japanese sign language at the Cutting-Edge IT & Electronics Comprehensive Exhibition (CEATEC) this week. Created with researchers from aLab Inc., Osaka University, Shibaura Institute of Technology, and Shonan Institute of Technology, the robot has 43 actuators in its hands but currently can sign some basic greetings. While the Toshiba humanoid is highly realistic in appearance, it ... Read More »

LERN: Sensory-Active Skins for Robots

Shape-memory alloy threads are wrapped around foam to demonstrate how the sensory skin of a soft robot. On the left, the threads bend the foam into an L shape. On the right, the threads compress the foam. (Photo courtesy of Purdue University/Rebecca Kramer)

Researchers at Purdue University have built soft robots using shape-memory alloys (SMAs) woven into fabric. By orienting the alloy threads in different ways and wrapping it around foam blocks, the material can initiate movement. “Previous works have not combined both flexible sensors and actuators in their designs, usually only addressing one or the other,” explains Michelle Yuen, a doctoral student and one ... Read More »

LERN: Robotic Trees that Sense and Grow

Leaf sensors on the robotic plant can monitor the environment. Photo courtesy of CORDIS.

Tree-like robots could help monitor the earth, as well as other planets. Created as a part of a new project called Plantoid, the robots have leaves that sense, roots that grow and move, and a trunk-full of electronics. Project coordinator Barbara Mazzolai notes that while animals and insects frequently inspire robots, plant models also offer many insights. “Plants are very efficient in terms ... Read More »

LERN: A Robot Designed to Play Nicely with Humans

Omron's robot serves the ball back nicely to its opponent. Photo courtesy of Omron Corp.

Omron Corp. recently demonstrated their ping-pong playing robot at CEATEC Japan, to show off the company’s prowess in robotics. What makes the machine remarkable, is that it’s not intended to play competitively. Instead, it’s designed to play a long, friendly game with lots of easy volleys. By monitoring the position and movements of the human player, the robot can predict the ... Read More »

LERN: Robot Bat Glides and Jumps With Ease

MultiMo-Bat researcher Matthew Woodward stands still while his creation jumps over his head. The images of the robot in it's various stages of locomotion were taken with a high-speed video camera. Photo courtesy of Matthew Woodward.

A new robot inspired by the vampire bat can jump and glide efficiently, reaching heights of more than 9 feet. The robot, called MultiMo-Bat, was designed to explore new strategies for integrating multiple modes of mobility and enhance the performance of small-scale robotic systems. “Current works have attempted this by means of a combination of independent locomotion modes, however this ... Read More »

LERN: Sailors To Pilot 27-Foot Drone For Training

Undersea Training Drone

Drive a Robot half a mile under the waves! The NAVY Times reports that the NAVY is taking a significant step forward in the development of underwater drones, according to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport in Washington State. Sailors will be able to pilot battery powered drones for up to half a mile underwater for a period of up ... Read More »

LERN: Cheap, Swarming Research Robots

Colias robots provids a platform for researchers who want to study swarming but don't have a lot of money to spend on robots. Photo courtesy of University of Lincoln.

Researchers at the University of Lincoln, UK, and the Tsinghua University in China have developed an inexpensive robot called Colias, that they say is ideal for studying applications involving teams of robots working together. Named after a genus of butterfly, the robots are said to be able to mimic the behavior of honeybees. (I guess these researchers like their metaphors mixed.) Each robot ... Read More »

LERN: Can Female Robots Help Humans Overcome Gender Stereotypes?

Robot Man and Woman

Taezoon Park, an associate professor in Soongsil University in South Korea, raises some interesting questions about human-robot interaction in Harvard Business Review this week. Park notes past research on the subject suggests humans view robots as social actors. Park suggests that as a consequence, robots could play an important role in terms of gender stereotyping. Putting gendered robots in non-traditional ... Read More »

LERN: Fleet of Robots Gathering Data in the Altantic Ocean

The Waveglider robot receives last minutes checks before being deployed into the ocean. Photo courtesy of the Natural Environment Research Council.

Seven unmanned robots were released into the open ocean off Southwest England, on a three-week mission to collect data on the ocean and marine life. Some of the vehicles are battery-powered submarine gliders, while others float on the surface of the water and are powered by wind, solar and wave power (with conventional power supplies available if necessary). Scientists will ... Read More »

LERN: Combining a Human Brain with Rat Eyes for Better Navigation

Michael Milford with one of the robots he plans to use with his human-rat hybrid navigation system. Photo Courtesy of Queensland University of Technology.

Roboticists often look to the living world for guidance on locomotion. There are countless robots designed to move like animals: some run like cheetahs, others slither like snakes, and a few even fly like insects. Michael Milford thinks roboticists should consider a two-pronged, biomimetic approach to navigation, too. Specifically, Milford thinks combining an algorithm that mimics the brain of a ... Read More »