September 9, 2010

NASA Adopts RoboThespian

NASA has purchased a RoboThespian from the UK's Engineered Arts to become a spokebot at the Kennedy Space Center. The 5' 9" tall droid even comes with a warranty once installed and we suspect that in true NASA participatory fashion, we can soon all help name it. The hundred thousand dollar humanoid runs on a 1.6 gigabyte Atom processor and has 32 GB memory. We have to admit that all we can think of in watching this promo is that we hope the first thing they do is put a spacesuit on it as, AI or no AI, this thing looks chilly.

Via The Register

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September 6, 2010

NASA Drone Sent Into Hurricane Earl

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NASA's Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes project sent the unmanned drone Global Hawk directly into Hurricane Earl as part of an experiment to better understand how tropical storms evolve into hurricanes. The result includes this incredible shot from of Earl's eye. The GRIP mission includes three aircraft with 14 different instruments and several satellites and the study will continue through September 25.

Via NASA

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September 2, 2010

Noelle Gives Birth, But Not Without a Fight

The latest service bot in town comes from Ohio's Wright State University and was designed for health care professionals to practice emergencies in the delivery room. Noelle complains, groans and grunts and seizes her way through childbirth, with a detachable belly cover that every woman wishes she had. The $40,000 simulator keeps track of medical statistics and lets the participants perform several different predicaments, including some with her robotic baby. Good times.

Via Dayton Daily News

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September 1, 2010

Electric Robofish Filled With Silicone Oil

Robofish keep getting more sophisticated as evidenced by this electric swimmer. Controlled via electrostatic actuators as muscles, the fish has been filled with silicone oil and even moves its eyes around to appear more lifelike. The creation from Germany's University Venture Creation Science and Technology Agency runs left or right by an operational joystick, the result being that its tail propels it forward.

Via Sendensha (translated)

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August 31, 2010

ECH Taken Over by Robots, Almost

El Camino Hospital in Silicon Valley, CA have leased 19 robots to replace current workers. They handle chores such as delivering medication and food and take out the trash. The guy who took this video is certainly enchanted. The rentals amount to about $350,000 a year, according to Ken King, VP of facilities, while humans would have cost about a million a year. We are assuming that is more than 19 total employees as that would be a huge salary.

Via El Camino Hospital

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August 30, 2010

Robots With a Sense of Smell

We just cannot fathom how/why researchers come up with some of this stuff. The University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science took frog eggs, inserted insect RNA and ended up with robots with a sense of smell. This compact smelling sensor could be used in the future to detect the differences between chemicals, polluting gasses and hopefully a better class of burgers.

Via PNAS

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August 26, 2010

MIT Developing Oil Sucking Robots

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MIT's Senseable City Lab will be debuting a prototype of their SeaSwarm technology this week at the Venice Biennale festival. The 16 ft. long belt made of nanowire mesh can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil. It skims the surface and absorbs the oil in its head, heats it and separates it from the mesh, then goes on to repeat the chore. Thousands of them can be used to swarm in the future. It is too bad that the tech was not available before now.

Via NY Times

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August 23, 2010

ATHLETE Celebrates Dance Day

NASA has been testing ATHLETE, an all-terrain robot for use on the Moon and Mars, but recently took a day off in honor of National Dance Day to bust a move. This certainly proves that even hexapods can have rhythm.

Via NASA

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August 18, 2010

ROLY Aids Wheelchair Bound Children

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Training younger children to use a wheelchair can be difficult and requires a therapist to take them step by step. Dr. Laura Marchal-Crespo and team at the University of California at Irvine have developed ROLY (RObot-assisted Learning for Young drivers) so that no assistance is required and the kids can learn at their own pace. The chair uses haptic guidance to follow a line on the floor using computer vision while the child determines how much control of the joystick is needed.

Via Medical News Today

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August 16, 2010

Popchilla Assists Autistic Kids

The Autism Center of Pittsburgh and Interbots may have made it one step easier to communicate with children who suffer from Autism. Popchilla and an interactive iPad app create Character Therapy, a program that a therapist uses to create emotions in the robot that in turn may help the child better understand their own. This video demos one of Popchilla's current apps, "Let's Do Shapes."

Via Pad Gadget

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