Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Leading Edge Robotic News

Remote Control for Soft Robots

This image shows a selective actuation of the side arms of a soft robot in a horizontal uniform magnetic field. (Photo credit: Sumeet Mishra, North Carolina State University.)

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a technique for using chains of magnetic nanoparticles to manipulate elastic polymers in three dimensions, which could be used to remotely control soft robots. The ability to control the motion of soft robots, coupled with their flexibility, gives …

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Teaching robots the way we teach babies

Researchers used info on how babies follow an adult’s gaze to “teach” a robot to perform the same task. (Photo credit: University of Washington)

Babies learn about the world by exploring how their bodies move in space, grabbing toys, pushing things off tables and by watching and imitating what adults are doing. But when roboticists want to teach a robot how to do a task, they typically either write code …

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Robot will Help Folks Lost in the Airport

The robot will have to navigate around glass partitions -- a tricky task for a bot! (Photo credit: LASS)

A robot will help passengers navigate the major Amsterdamn airport, Schiphol. The robot, which was built as part of a project called Spencer, map its surroundings. The project is funded by the European Commission and is a collaboration between researchers and businesses in five different countries. …

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Teaching robots to stay out of the way

Researcher Marianne Bakken attempting to get close and personal with an orange robot arm – moving in all directions to try to get the robot to collide with her. But it manages to avoid her every time. (Photo credit: Werner Juvik/SINTEF)

Researchers have developed a robot that adjusts its movements in order to avoid colliding with the people and objects around it. This provides new opportunities for more friendly interaction between people and machines. Modern industrial robots commonly weigh several tonnes are therefore placed inside enclosures to …

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Soft Robot Hand Handles Breakables

The fingers on this soft robotic gripper have sensors that estimate the size and shape of an object accurately enough to identify it from a set of multiple items. (Photo credit: Jason Dorfman/CSAIL)

Researchers from MIT have created a robot hand that can handle your fine breakables. Daniela Rus of MIT’s Distributed Robotics Lab demonstrated the 3-D-printed robotic hand which was made out of silicone rubber. The three-fingered bot can handle items as delicate as an egg and as thin …

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Developing New Standards of Drone Operations

A test pilot operates a virtual large unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, with simulated air traffic at a NASA research ground control station. The pilot uses the main traffic display for situational awareness. When detect-and-avoid systems notify the pilot that other traffic is too close, he uses a command and control interface to maneuver the aircraft into a safer trajectory. The pilot is connected with a communication head-set where he interacts with air traffic control similar to present-day operations. (Photo credit: NASA)

At a recent meeting at NASA’s Ames Research Center, members of a special committee called the RTCA worked on minimum operational performance standards for large unmanned aircraft systems. The RTCA is a public-private partnership that provides the Federal Aviation Administration comprehensive, industry-vetted recommendations about critical aviation …

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Tiny robots inspired by pine cones

This schematic shows the concept behind the team's plant-inspired microrobot. Photo credit: Image courtesy of American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics)

Most efforts to develop bio-inspired robots center on mimicking the motions of animals: but plants move too — even if most of their motions are so slow they can’t be detected by the naked eye. The mechanism involved in plant movement is much simpler than that …

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Keeping Prosthetic Legs Upright Using a Natural Approach

Lower-leg amputees will test Carnegie Mellon’s balance recovery technology. (Photo credit: Carnegie Mellon University)

A robotic leg prosthesis from Carnegie Mellon University could help users avoid falls, using techniques based how humans control real flesh and bone. Hartmut Geyer, assistant professor of robotics at CMU, says a control strategy devised by studying human reflexes and other neuromuscular control systems has shown …

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Humans can empathize with robots

It's important to understand how humans feel about robots, if we are going to work together. (Photo credit: Toyohashi University of Technology)

New research from Japan suggests humans feel empathy toward robots they think are in pain. Electroencephalography (EEG) studies of humans found their brains responded similarly to perceived pain in robots as they did in other humans — except at the beginning of the process. The researchers …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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‘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 …

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