Saturday, November 18, 2017

Leading Edge Robotic News

How to fall gracefully, if you’re a robot

By planning ahead, the robot above is able to brace for impact and avoid hitting his head. (Photo credit: Georgia Institute of Technology.)

Researchers at Georgia Tech have identified a way to teach robots how to fall with grace and without serious damage. The work is important as costly robots become more common in manufacturing alongside humans. The skill becomes especially important, too, as robots are sought for health …

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BesMan: A Robot for Menial Labor in Space

If the project is successful, Besman will be able to learn by imitating humans. (Photo credit: David Schikora, DFKI GmbH)

There’s a lot of work to do on the International Space Station, and only a handful of humans to do it! That’s why researchers from the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence and the University of Bremen are working on a bot to perform menial labor in space, …

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Dive of the RoboBee

The Harvard RoboBee, designed in Wood's lab, is a microrobot, smaller than a paperclip, that flies and hovers like an insect, flapping its tiny, nearly invisible wings 120 times per second. (Photo credit: Harvard Microrobotics Lab.)

In 1939, a Russian engineer proposed a “flying submarine” — a vehicle that can seamlessly transition from air to water and back again. While it may sound like something out of a James Bond film, engineers have been trying to design functional aerial-aquatic vehicles for decades …

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Flawed Robots are Better Equipped to Build Relationships with Humans

MARC the 3D printed robot. MARC the 3D printed robot. (Photo courtesy of the University of London.)

Humans are less likely to form successful working relationships with interactive robots if they are programmed to be too perfect, new research reveals. Interactive or ‘companion’ robots are increasingly used to support caregivers for elderly people and for children with autism, Asperger syndrome or attachment disorder, …

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Bio-inspired robotic finger looks, feels and works like the real thing

The finger was placed under the manipulandum while it was locked to measure the maximum force each SMA actuator was capable of applying. (b) The manipulandum was subsequently unlocked and a spring was placed between the two sides to measure the force and displacement of the finger with a compliant object. (Photo credit: FAU)

Inspired by both nature and biology, Erik Engeberg of Florida Atlantic University has designed a novel robotic finger that looks and feels like the real thing. The robotic finger uses shape memory alloy (SMA), a 3D CAD model of a human finger, a 3D printer, and a unique thermal …

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Designing Robots that Move Easily Over Loose Sand

Sceloporus olivaceus moves through test bed. (Photo credt: Qian, Zhang, Horff, Umbanhowar, Full, Goldman)

Soft steps and large feet allow animals and robots to maintain high speeds on loose soil and sand. These findings, reported recently in Bioinspiration & Biomechanics, offer a new insight into how animals respond to different terrain, and how robots can learn from them. The researchers, based …

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Your Robot’s Manners Matter

Research by Ohad Inbar (left) and Joachim Meyer found that people were less influenced by the perceived age and gender of a humanoid. Politeness mattered most, in terms of first impressions. (Photo credit: Tel Aviv University)

Robots are increasingly considered for use in highly tense civilian encounters to minimize person-to-person contact and danger to peacekeeping personnel. Trust, along with physical qualities and cultural considerations, is an essential factor in the effectiveness of these robotic peacekeepers. New research that will be presented at …

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Robots Designed to Assist Seniors Get New Apartment

Dr Praminda Caleb-Solly (right) with two of the robots that will inhabit the studio. (Photo credit: UWE Bristol.)

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) recently launched a new facility to help robotics researchers develop and test technologies for assisting the elderly at home. The facility is modeled after a studio apartment, but far more high-tech. It is equipped with wireless sensors and cameras on a variety …

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Designing Electronics for the Harsh Environment of Venus

The Venus Landsailing Rover, depicted above, would need to be able to work in very hot, high pressure, corrosive conditions. (Photo credit: NASA.)

Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology are working on electronics able to handle the extremely high temperatures of Venus. The electronics are based on silicon carbide, a semiconductor that can withstand the extremely harsh climate of the second planet from the sun. “There are some places …

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Drones Build Rope Bridge Capable of Supporting A Man

German researchers are using drones to build functional structures mid-air. (Photo credit: ETH Zurich, Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control.)

Drones are capable of far more than fancy photography. A team of researchers from ETH Zurich are using drones to build functional structures. A new video uploaded by the team shows a small team of quadcopters building a rope bridge that the men then walk across …

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Marine Robots Create 3D map of Submarine Canyon

This photo of an orange Roughy in a coral reef was taken by the Isis ROV. (Photo credit: The National Oceanography Centre as part of the CODEMAP project.)

Marine robots helped capture the first truly three-dimensional pictures of submarine canyon habitats. The new maps include a 200 km canyon but also include details as fine as individual cold-water coral polyps. They will be used to help manage only English Marine Conservation Zone in deep …

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Indium-Plastic Film Could Lead to Stretchier Skin for Robots

Able to stretch and bend significantly while still conducting electricity, this film could result in better skin for robots. (Photo credit: Washington State University.)

A novel film designed for flexible electronics can stretch to twice to size without breaking. Created by Rahul Panat and Indranath Dutta of Washington State University, the indium-plastic film could significantly advance robotic skins, bendable batteries, wearable monitoring devices and sensors, and connected fabrics. The tiny …

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Nao Learns from Humans, Passes on Knowledge

Instead of using pre-established plans, this Nao robot has been programmed to learn through direct interaction with a human. (Photo credit: Inserm/Patrice Latron.)

A team of French researchers from The National Center for Scientific Research has developed an autobiographical memory for the robot Nao, which enables it to pass on knowledge learned from people to other, less knowledgeable people. This technological progress could notably be used for operations on …

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