October 7, 2010

Doctors Install First Robotic Heart

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A 15 year-old suffering from Duchenne syndrome wasn't eligible for a heart transplant through his health insurance, so Dr. Antonio Amodeo of the Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital in Rome decided to install a permanent robotic artificial heart, the first operation of its kind. Powered by a battery worn on his belt and connected to a plug implanted behind his ear, the organ works as an hydraulic pump and will last about 20-25 years.

Via Telegraph

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October 6, 2010

Robotic Arm Users Prefer Manual

Sometimes even robot researchers can overdo it. A team from the University of Central Florida came up with a way to improve a robot arm for those with physical limitations by a click of a button, the result being that the arm "decides" how to best perform needed tasks. They were surprised to find that users preferred the manual control over automatic because they found the latter "too easy."

Via UCF

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September 29, 2010

iCub Practices Archery

Now that iCub has mastered recognizing objects, he has moved up to firing a weapon with the assistance of Augmented Reward Chained Regression. By modulating and coordinating hand and arm motion, the ARCHER algorithm helps him improve with each subsequent shot. This is one instance where it would not be a good thing for a human to become involved in his learning curve, no matter how cute he is. Dr. Petar Kormushev and team will be presenting the iCub's progress at the Humanoids 2010 Conference this December in Nashville, TN.

Via Petar Kormushev

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September 23, 2010

NSYSU Uses Neural Networking in Robots

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Humans increasingly expect their robots to be more advanced as time goes on, like the ones they see in movies and video games. Taiwan's Wei-Po Lee, Tsung-Hsien Yang and Bingchiang Jeng of National Sun Yat-sen University are using neural networks to go beyond repetitive behavior and reach emotional responses when interacting.

The team is dealing with:
-constructing control architecture to help the robot behave coherently.
-developing natural human/robotic interaction.
-building emotional responses and behavior into the robot.

The entire article was written up in the International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control.

Via Times of India

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September 20, 2010

The White House is Looking for a Few Good Robots

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Listen up, roboticists who need funding. As part of the President's FY2012 Budget, the White House has combined five Fed agencies for small business research to create grants for Robotics Technology Development and Deployment. Specifically, your robotics company can apply for funding for developing service bots, drug discovery bots and those that can disarm military bombs. DARPA will be overseeing the funding of the latter and although the grant may not make you rich, it can certainly help you develop your ideas.

If you want more information on any of the three opportunities, check out the link to the entire announcement. Applications must be submitted by December 20, 2010. Let us know if yours is accepted and details as we promise to be almost as excited as you are.

Via Robot Grant Information

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September 16, 2010

E-Skin Makes Robots More Sensitive

Researchers at Stanford and Berkeley have developed e-skin, a "pressure-sensitive electronic material from semiconductor nanowires." They believe that the electronic skin, sensitive enough to feel a butterfly landing on it, can be used on robots who could determine how much pressure should be applied to tasks. It may also serve those with artificial limbs to regain feeling. We believe the first application may bring us closer to the day when robots become literal cuddle buddies with humans.

Via Physorg.

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September 14, 2010

The Chariot Assists in Standing/Walking

Exmovere has developed a Segway-based mobility device. Designed for those who have difficulty standing or walking, especially for an extended period, the Chariot is hands free and self-balancing and integrates vital signs, emotion monitoring and environmental sensors. The company has future plans that includes smart battery management, heating and cooling ability, wireless connectivity and GPS.

Via Exmovere

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September 13, 2010

PR2s Available for Purchase

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For those who crave their very own Willow Garage PR2, they are now available to the masses, at least the masses who can afford them as one will cost you $400,000. With 11 of them already in the field, if you have a proven history of open source programs, you might be eligible for a $120,000 discount.

Via Willow Garage

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GIT Teaches Robots to Lie

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Can robots lie? This is the subject of research from a team based at the Georgia Institute of Technology that enables them to detect whether one is susceptible and use that gullibility against another based on algorithms. They feel that the deception could help it avoid being captured by evil military sources and calm those they rescue, but robotic experts claim that the ability would not only damage robots' current positive image, but may lead to teaching them to be able to gamble and hunt.

Via Telegraph

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September 10, 2010

Uncle Sam Climbs a Tree

One of the projects that Carnegie Mellon has been busy with lately is nicknamed Uncle Sam. In true reptilian fashion, he slithers along in biomimetic fashion and can now climb a tree. This latest version contains actuators, sensors and a camera for spying on the enemy, seeking out disaster victims and, because of its modular build, can easily be repaired. Obviously, this is a work in progress in progress as it is still tethered to its power supply.

Via CMU


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