Sunday, November 19, 2017

Leading Edge Robotic News

DARPA’s Near Zero Power RF Program Seeks Proposals

N-ZERO-equipped sensors could be helpful when a constant power supply isn't readily available for distributed sensors, but ongoing monitoring is essential. (Photo credit: DARPA.)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a new program to develop sensors that consume very little power over time, essentially laying dormant until a particular event occurs and then gathering and relaying data to new relevant people. Known as the Near Zero Power …

Read More »

MIT Developing Wireless Trackpad Worn on Thumbnail

Researchers at MIT are working on a discreet remote control device that fits on your thumbnail. (Photo credit: MIT Media Lab.)

Researchers at MIT Media Lab are working on a wireless input device that could act as a very subtle robot remote. Known as NailO, the prototype wireless trackpad is so small, it fits on on your thumbnail. Just stick it on your nail, swipe it with …

Read More »

Battle Brewing Between iRobot and Astronomers

iRobot's line of vacuums have been quite successful. Now the company hopes to add a lawn mower to their product line. (Photo credit: iRobot.)

iRobot hopes to sell robotic lawn mowers that use beacons to determine the perimeter of the lawn. The only problem is that the beacons transmit signals in the same frequency range that the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) uses to collect data about galactic evolution, by …

Read More »

A Small, Inexpensive Electric Wheelchair

Tanner Jensen tries out his open-source, electric wheelchair. (Photo credit: Brigham Young University.)

Students at Brigham Young University have built a relatively cheap electric wheelchair for small children. Two of them, actually. The chairs are for brothers with Spinal Muscular Atrophy: three-year-old Tanner Jensen and 20-month-old Skyler. “Working with the Jensen family made the whole project more meaningful,” said …

Read More »

Kuka Teams Up with Microsoft to Improve Industrial Automation

Kuka's Intelligent Industrial Work Assistant. (Photo credit: Kuka AG.)

Kuka AG, a leading manufacturer of industrial robots and automation solutions, have created an intelligent work assistant built with Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) services. They lightweight robot is on display at this year’s Hannover Messe, threading a tube into a small hole in the …

Read More »

Robot Spiders Controlled Via Intel’s Curie Wearable

Intel's tiny wearable, the Curie module, includes motion sensors. (Photo credit: Intel.)

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich recently demonstrated the Curie  at the Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen. During his presentation, Krzanich wore the Curie as a wristband. Curie — a coin-size, low-power, wearable module — features a a six-axis combined sensor with an accelerometer and gyroscope. It also …

Read More »

Zebrafish Spooked by Robot Fish

Live Zebrafish were particularly spooked by a realistic looking robot fish, modeled after the predatory red tiger oscar. (Photo credit: New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering.)

Realistic humanoids can be a little bit creepy. Apparently, zebrafish feel the same way about robot fish. In order to study fear in fish, researchers from NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering built a highly realistic, robotic model of a red tiger oscar: a fish often feared by …

Read More »

Can a Robot Acquire Consciousness?

Researchers hope that Hector's new software, reaCog, will lead to consciousness. (Photo credit: CITEC/Bielefeld University)

Researchers at Bielefeld University hope to give a stick-bug robot named Hector a simple form of consciousness. Hector, they claim, might learn to see himself as others see him, without ever being explicitly programmed to do so. “With this, he would have reflexive consciousness,” Holk Cruse, …

Read More »

New Technique Makes Joints Flap Like Wings

The dielectric elastomer used to create the flapping wing. (Photo credit: ianwen Zhao/Harbin Institute of Technology in Weihai, University of California-Los Angeles)

Researchers have discovered a new resonance phenomenon of dielectric elastomer rotary joints. Others have studied on dielectric elastomers before, but using a stable voltage that made the joint bend at a fixed angle. This project, by researchers from the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and …

Read More »

Google to Make Surgical Robots

Google and Ethicon plan to build robotic platforms that compete against bot like the da Vinci Xi Surgeon Console. (Photo credit: Intuitive Surgical.)

The Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon is working with Google’s Life Sciences team to create more advanced robots for the operating room. The two companies want to create “a robotic-assisted surgical platform capable of integrating advanced technologies,” according to a press release. “For more than 60 …

Read More »

Stanford Students Build Robots to Shoot Hoops

This robot expanded to reveal flaps that blocked other robots from sinking baskets. (Photo credit: Stanford University.)

Stanford University students recently competed in their own mechatronic sporting event, with 34 robots collecting tennis balls and shooting them into hoops. The small, tabletop arena was divided into two sides: one per robot. Each team could earn one point for shooting the ball into the …

Read More »

BionicANTs Show off Festo’s Robotics Prowess

Festo's BionicANTs use piezo technology to walk. (Photo credit: Festo.)

A new swarm of robots created by Festo aims to combine autonomous behavior and teamwork, using cutting-edge engineering processes. The BionicANTs use radio signals to communicate with each other, so that they can carry objects together. From a programming perspective, Festo’s multi-agent system is interesting because …

Read More »

Can a Robot Guide Fire Fighters with Vibrating Reigns?

The robot, which leads a human using vibrations sent along reigns, has already been tested in a smoke filled cave. (Photo credit: Sheffield Hallam University.)

Researchers at King’s College London and Sheffield Hallam University are working on a guidance robot for firefighters in dense smoke. The fire fighter would hold reigns attached to the robot, while walking about a meter behind the bot. Vibrations in the reigns would impart data on …

Read More »