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Leading Edge Robotics News

LERN: Fusing Robotic Sound and Sight to Enhance Communication

Researchers at Inria used a NAO robot to test a novel system for detecting and localizing talking humans. Photo courtesy of Aldebaran.

Ideally, humans shouldn’t have to wear microphones to have a decent conversation with a robot. But background noise coming from the environment and the bot itself, can make it difficult for a bot to pick up a clear audio signal. Turning toward the person speaking tends to make the audio clearer, but first the bot has to be able to ... Read More »

LERN: U.S. Navy Finishes Testing Robotic Spy Fish

The GhostSwimmer robot is designed to stealthily gather surveillance data. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Edward Guttierrez III.

An unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) disguised as a fish could help the U.S. Navy keep our waters safe. Known as GhostSwimmer, the bot can operate autonomously or, when being stealthy isn’t a priority, it can be controlled by a laptop on a 500-foot tether. “GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success during more types of missions while keeping divers ... Read More »

LERN: Soft Robot from Harvard Inches Through Tubes

The way the fiber is woven around each segment of expandable, red tube impacts its function. Photo courtesy of Harvard University.

Roboticists often try to built machines capable of moving through very tight spaces that humans can’t access. A new video from Harvard University’s Biodesign Lab shows a machine with a lot of promise in this area: a soft bot that can inch its way through tubes. The robot is made primarily made of elastomeric tubes. Fibers are carefully woven around the ... Read More »

LERN: Library of 3D Parts for Search and Rescue Robots in Development

The RAPTER aerial hexarotor is built using interchangeable, #D printed components. Photo courtesy of Robotics Research LLC.

The US Department of Homeland Security and Robotic Research LLC of Maryland, are building a library of compatible 3D parts that can be used for search and rescue robots. The objective is to have a system in place so that parts can be quickly made to suit any disaster scenario. So when a bot needs to replace a gripper arm with ... Read More »

LERN: Smart Prosthetic Skin is Robust and Sensor Laden

Researchers have developed a skin smart enough to sense its environment and robust enough to tackle everyday tasks. Photo courtesy of Jaemin Kim et al.

A new skin for prosthetic hands can sense a lot about its environment. Sensors embedded through the material can detect temperature, pressure, moisture, and strain. The stretchable skin, which is made of gold and silicon, also includes stretchable multi-electrode arrays for nerve stimulation and electroresistive heaters to help the hand feel more realistic to other. The researchers say the skin is durable and ... Read More »

LERN: Building a Better Robotic Leg by Considering Pressure

Dr. Robert Gregg stands next to a robotic leg that was designed by UTDesign students and is similar to the one reported in his research. Photo courtesy of University of Texas, Dallas.

Researchers have developed a new way of analyzing walking, with the hope of improving robotic legs. Usually, researchers look at time as the all-important variable when trying to develop models for robotic legs. But a team at the University of Texas, Dallas, decided to focus on a different variable: the center of pressure on the foot. It’s a spot that ... Read More »

LERN: Chinese Restaurant Replaces Waitstaff with Robots

Hi, I'm a robot and I'll be your server this evening.

Engineers have long built bots to compete in robot waiter competitions. It was generally a pretty hilarious competition, with robots banging into each other, and accidentally serving snacks to garbage cans. Finally, the technology is ready for the real world and a restaurant in Zhejiang, China has opted for robots over waitresses. The robots use optical sensors to navigate the restaurant by ... Read More »

LERN: Snow Revoval Robot Compresses Flakes into Bricks

The YukiTaro robot not only shovels snow, it converts it into a short, melting wall. Photo courtesy of Research and Development, Inc.

As winter takes hold, a roboticists mind can help but think of an old favorite: YukiTaro, Japan’s answer to snow. This adorable bot doesn’t just shovel the snow: it turns it into stacks of frigid bricks. The yellow bot autonomously avoids humans using cameras and image-processing software, so it can clear the snow without endangering people nearby. But given that it only moves at a ... Read More »

LERN: Exoskeleton Suit for Children in Development

The Esko robotic exoskeleton helps patients who has suffered a stroke or spinal cord injury walk again. Photo courtesy of Ekso Bionics.

Robotic exoskeleton company Ekso Bionics is working on a special suit for children. Long known for their robotic suits that allow paralyzed adults to walk, the company is now applying the same technology to help kids. The pediatric suit is being developed for children with neurological disorders that affect their gait, such as spinal cord injuries, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, ... Read More »

EVENT: Could Your Robot Win the IEEE DIY Contest?


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is celebrating the art of do-it-yourself with an online contest. You can submit a description, pictures, and videos of your robot (or other engineering project) via the contest Website. The contest Website is also a great place to go for a little inspiration, with dozens of robots are already posted. You’ll find robot arms, line followers, ... Read More »

LERN: Underwater Robot Sheds New Light on Antarctic Ice

The twin hull design of the SeaBED AUV provides the stability needed for low-speed photographic surveys. Photo courtesy of P. Kimball/WHOI.

New data on ice sheets in the Antarctic has been gathered using an autonomous underwater vehicle (UAV) named SeaBED. Unlike most UAVs, which have sonar sensors pointing down, SeaBED’s sonar system points upward to measure and map the sea ice floes above. SeaBED was driven back and forth, in a lawn-mowing pattern, at a depth of 65 to 98 feet. The data ... Read More »

LERN: Drones with Novel Payloader Could Help in Emergencies


A new project called Drones to the Rescue aims to deliver food, water, and medicine to people during emergencies, via specially equipped search-and-rescue drones. In addition to cameras, and GPS locators, the drones also have a custom system for safely deliveries their payloads. The payloader comes in two varieties: the lightweight version can carry up to 2.2 pounds, and the heavyweight version ... Read More »

LERN: Robot Freed from Conference Room


A telepresence robot was recently liberated from its prison: a locked meeting room. Built by Double Robotics, the robot was placed in the room so that users could remotely demo the system. It’s intended to provide an in-office presence for people who work remotely. But one anonymous man took it on as a personal challenge to free the bot. The robot liberator was thrown a ... Read More »