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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Octobot Swims in the Ocean without Scaring Fish

Inspired by Octopus vulgaris, this robot can move through the water at more than 7 inches per second. Photo courtesy of FORTH.

Researchers at the Foundation for Research and Technology in Heraklion, Greece created a robot modeled after an octopus to study the near-wake vortex patterns created by octopus limbs. Earlier this year, they put the robot in the Mediterranean Ocean and found the mechanical device left the fish …

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Teaching Robots How to Fall Safely

setting by creating a reduced-gravity environment using a tilted surface similar to an air hockey table outfitted with a leaf blower. Photo courtesy of Georgia Institute of Technology.

Unlike humans and robots, cats are known for their ability to always land on their feet. Now researchers at Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing are studying the way cats reorient themselves during a fall, in an effort to make robots more robust. According to the paper outlining …

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Little Robot Friends: A Cute Way to Learn About STEAM

Let your creativity flow with these tiny STEAM machines. Photo courtesy of Aesthetec Studio.

Made by a small Canadian company called Aesthetec Studio, Little Robot Friends combine a cute aesthetic with the basics of electronics and programming. The tiny critters light up and chatter in a truly adorable way. The bots feature an Atmel ATMega328p microprocessor, MEMS microphone, two full color LEDs, a speaker, …

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Bridging the Gap Between Simulation and Real-World Performance

Researchers at the University of Oslo are working with a diverse group of 3D printed robots to improve their ability to traverse different kinds of terrain. “We tell the simulation program what we would like the robot to do, how fast it should walk, its size and energy consumption. …

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s That Time Again, Avoid The Socks & Underwear This Year! Yes… it’s that time of year again. Time to look at your holiday lists and see who’s been good or bad. There is nothing better this holiday season than to give the gift of robotics. A robot would surly …

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Build Your Own Simple, 3D Printed Walker

Created in less than 48 hours, this 3D Printed Arduino robot offers a touch of everything a builder needs to learn. Photo courtesy of Instructables.

If you’re looking for a straightforward Arduino project that involves a bit of 3D printing, some simple construction, with just a dab of soldering, Randy Sarafan has the perfect project for you! With Sarafan’s easy-to-follow Instructable, you’ll have a basic robot up and walking in no time. The robot has four …

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Robot Lands on Comet: A Sci-Fi Dream Come True

Philae was supposed to secure itself to the comet using harpoons. Photo courtesy of the ESA.

After spending 10 years traveling through space, the robot Philae safely landed on Comet 67P. That act alone is historic: this is a first time humans have ever soft landed anything on a comet. It’s was tricky encounter, partly because Philae cannot be steered. It was all …

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Robots Discover Warm Storms Deep in the Ocean

Researchers prep the glider robot before its launch in January 2012. Photo courtesy of Alan Jamieson/Caltech.

The dynamic systems causing sheets of ice in West Antarctica to melt are less mysterious, thanks to a team of glider robots. Using data collected by the bots, the team was able to deduce that swirling ocean eddies help transport warm waters to the Antarctic coast. Knowing how the warm …

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Raspberry Pi Model A+ Released

The new Raspberry Pi Model A+ is cheaper and eats up less power than previous models. Photo courtesy of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

If you’re looking for a smaller, better version of your old Raspberry Pi, the wait is over! The Raspberry Pi Foundation has just released the Model A+. This single-board, ARM-based computer is ideal for makers of all varieties. At 65mm by 55mm, the A+ is smaller than …

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Can a Robot Make a Better Cup of Coffee?

The Poursteady Coffee Robot readies five cups of liquid caffeine. Photo courtesy of Engadget.

Brooklyn-based Poursteady brought their coffee making machine to Engadget Expand earlier this week. The automated device is designed to replicate the very particular, very pretentious, pour-over coffee making technique. The process requires that precisely heated water be poured over the grounds at certain intervals, using a …

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Creating a Ghostly Presence with Robotics

A master-slave robotic system was used by researchers in Switzerland to create a ghostly experience through sensory dissonance. Photo courtesy of Alain Herzog/EPFL.

New research suggests that if you program your robot in just the right way, you could create enough sensory dissonance to scare the heck out of your friends and family. Researchers in Switzerland used a master-slave robotic system to try to create a ghostly experience, in order …

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BLE Nano Board from RedBearLab Released

At just 18.5 mm by 21.0 mm, the BLE Nano board by RedBearLab is the smallest Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy development board available.  The quarter-size chip is a real power saver and can serve a central or peripheral role in your next project. Supported BLE central devices include …

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Rescue Roaches Steered Toward Sounds Via Circuitry

Researchers have created a circuit that guides cockroaches toward sounds picked up on a tiny microphone. Photo courtesy of Eric Whitmire, North Carolina State University.

After a disaster, rescuers often search for trapped victims by listening for sounds of life. Researchers at North Carolina State University hope to assist this effort, by enlisting roaches. The bugs could crawl into tiny spaces human rescuers can’t easily access, with small microphones on their backs to detect sounds. …

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