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Monthly Archives: March 2015

New Aerial Robot Flies on Sight, Without Accelerometers

The eyes of the BeeRotor were inspired by those of insects. (Photo credit: Expert & Ruffier (ISM, CNRS/AMU))

A new system for aerial robots ensures flight stability using optic flow sensors instead of an accelerometer. Inspired by the way insects see the world, the sensors allow the robot to autonomously avoid obstacles while flying through a tunnel with uneven walls, without measuring speed or …

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uArm Robotic Arm

A small suction cup at the end of the uArm makes it easy to pick up small items. (Photo credit: uFactory.)

A big success on Kickstarter, the easy-to-operate uArm is now available for $399 directly from UFactory. Program it to move chess pieces, deal cards, or assist you with packaging. The metal arm features a vacuum-powered suction cup on the tip, perfect for picking up small items. …

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Sensor Package For Modeling Pits on Moon and Mars Ready for Flight Test

This Spring, a team of Carnegie Mellon University undergraduates will flight test a sensor package they developed for analyzing large pits in the surface of the moon or Mars. For the tests, the equipment will be loaded on to a reusable vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing XA-0.1-B rocket that …

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Actobotics New PeeWee Runt Rover

The Peewee Runt Rover Kit snaps together. No tools required! (Photo credit:

Need a small, inexpensive platform for your next robot? Actobotics new PeeWee Runt Rover Kit ($15.99) offers a push-together chassis that weighs in at less than half a pound! Special mounts on top of the bot make it easy to snap in a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or Redboard, …

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Flexible Fabric Powers Diodes and Displays

Material made from silver (Ag), polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and zinc oxide captured energy generated by pressure and used it to power diodes and displays. Photo credit: ACS Nano.)

Scientists have created the first durable, flexible cloth that harnesses human motion to generate energy. The material can also charge batteries and super capacitors without an external power source. As reported in the journal ACS Nano, the “mechanically robust” material can even be folded — just …

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Build Bots with the Artec Blocks Robotist Basic

Use the Arduino-compatible board to program your robot different behaviors. (Photo credit: Maker Shed.)

With the basic Robotist kit from Artec Blocks, kids can easily combine sensors and motors to make their own robot. The kit contains infrared, touch, light and sound sensors, as well as servos, a buzzer, LEDs, and an accelerometer. With all those parts and a bunch …

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Autonomous Drone Assists Naval Firefighters

A quadrotor autonomously navigates through compartments of the ex-USS Shadwell. (Photo Credit: ONR)

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and spin-off company Sensible Machines recently flew an autonomous drone through dark, smoke-filled compartments to map fires and locate victims. The demonstration was part of an Office of Naval Research (ONR) project called Damage Control Technologies for the 21st …

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A Battery Monitor, Charger, and Arduino in One

The Qduino Mini effectively combines an Arduino Leonardo with a LiPo battery charger and power gauge. (Image credit:

Want to charge your Arduino projects easily and monitor the life of your batteries? What you need is a Qduino Mini. Designed by Quinn, a 13-year old with impressive electronics skills, the Qduino Mini is small, inexpensive, and handy. It effectively combines an Arduino Leonardo, a …

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Oculus Rift Robot Displaces Reality

The Intuitive Rift Explorer combines virtual reality and robotics. (Photo credit: Jonas Lauener.)

Jonas Lauener’s Intuitive Rift Explorer combines a robot and a head-mounted display, to create a mobile virtual reality system that’s worth a nod. The camera mount on the robot is wirelessly connected to an Oculus Rift display, so that when the person wearing the Rift tilts their head, the …

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Learn to Solder with CHIP the Robot

CHIP is ready to shine in his Power Pixel base. (Photo credit: Soldering Sunday.)

While there are many starter soldering kits on the market, most don’t integrate coding. What makes CHIP notable — aside for his adorable face — is the fact that he’s programmable. Once you’ve finished soldering all of CHIPs parts, he can be plugged into an Arduino …

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Flowstone Workshop 17

Programming Balancing Robots

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Body Slamming Allowed!

Robot Battles returned to Atlanta for the 24th year in a row at this year’s Dragon*Con convention, held Labor Day weekend. Brian Nave, our intrepid reporter, TV robotics host and a top competitor in combat robotics was there with camera in hand, covering the event

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