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LERN: Law Must Catch Up with Rise of Robotics

While many advanced robots work at a distance, far off in space, increasingly, robotics and artificial intelligence are impacting our daily lives. One legal scholar believes its time for the law to consider the implications. (Photo credit: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center.)

A new article calls for the law to catch up with robotic technology. Ryan Calo, assistant professor in the University of Washington School of Law, says it’s time laws reflect the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence. “Technology has not stood still. The same private institutions that developed the Internet, from the armed forces to search engines, have initiated a ... Read More »

LERN: Jumping Robot Avoids Damage Using 3D-Printed Housing

The image on the left shows how the rigid top fractures on landing. The top made of nine layers of differing flexibility (shown right) remains intact. (Photo credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego/Harvard University.)

A new, 3D printed robot features an interesting body with a rigid core and a soft exterior. The rigid layers make for a better interface with the device’s electronics and power supply. The soft layers allow it to jump up to 2.5 feet high without sustaining damage. “We believe that bringing together soft and rigid materials will help create a ... Read More »

LERN: Study of Seahorses Could Lead to Better Robot Arms

The images on the left show how seahorse skeletons are made of highly articulated bony plates that surround a central vertebral column. One the right are the bending and twisting performance of 3D printed prototypes. (Photo credit: UC San Diego.)

Researchers studying seahorse tails believe the novel design might be useful for building better robot grippers and medical devices. According to the team, a tail made of square, overlapping segments makes for better armor than a cylindrical tail. It’s also better at gripping and grasping. “Almost all animal tails have circular or oval cross-sections–but not the seahorse’s. We wondered why,” ... Read More »

LERN: Bluetooth Enabled Multimeter Saves Measurements to Android Devices

Record data on an Android device up to 30 feet away, with the Owon B35T Digital Multimeter with Bluetooth. (Photo credit: Saelig.)

The Owon B35T Digital Multimeter offers a lot more than your Father’s multimeter! The B35T can send data to an Android-based smart device via Bluetooth, so you can keep an accurate recording of all of your measurements for later. Using the free app, the multimeter can send data to an Android device (V 4.0 or higher), up to 30 feet ... Read More »

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 »