August 12, 2010

Beaumont Hospitals Adopt da Vinci Robots


The three Beaumont Hospitals in Metro Detroit have acquired da Vinci SI Surgical Systems to assist them. Last week, the Troy hospital tried theirs out for the first time to perform a success laparoscopic prostatectomy. Surgeons Kenneth Kernen and Jason Hafron used master controls while viewing the image in 3D. Dr. Kernen claims that the robodoctor "has transformed surgery for prostate cancer because of the technical and clinical advantages in terms of visual magnification and refinement in an area that can be difficult to operate on using traditional techniques."

(Thanks, Mike)

Via Beaumont Hospitals

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Wall-Climbing ROCR

William Provancher of the University of Utah and his team of mechanical engineers have collaborated with ROCR ('Rocker') the robot as the result. This little guy can climb a carpet-padded wall with the assistance of two hooks. Provancher sees the future of his climber to inspect buildings, bridges or nuclear facilities when equipped with a remote camera. Until that time, ROCR will be hanging out in the lab.


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August 11, 2010

DEPTHX Finds New Bacteria


Thanks to NASA's ASTEP funding, an underwater robot is studying biology in a series of sinkholes in Zacatón in northeastern Mexico. So far the autonomous DEPTHX, guided by a team of several universities, has gathered 100 types of microbes, including three new phyla of bacteria. It will continue to seek the unknown in months to come.


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Bionic Prothetic Arm is Controlled by Thinking


A new prosthetic arm is controlled by thoughts. Meant for quadriplegics, the limb is controlled via sensors that will be implanted in their brains. Sensors in the fingers send signals back to the brain. Still in the experimental stage, John Hopkins' APL has been awarded a $34.5 million contract with DARPA to develop the neural prosthesis over the next two years.


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August 5, 2010

NASA R2 Gets Twitter Account


NASA's Robonaut 2 now has his own Twitter account. R2 will soon be heading to the final frontier to see how robots function in space both inside and outside the ISS. By the way, to assure his readers, the humanoid robot tweeted that he is not related to either Hal or Boba Fett.

Via R2 Twitter

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August 3, 2010

Sparse Array Improves Robot Communication


Adaptive Communications Research and Santa Clara University have teamed on creating 'sparse antenna' technology, making it easier for groups of robots to communicate with each other and home base. They are arranged in circular patterns or grids, then signal-processing software turns their antennas into a transmitter. That is sent via one 60x super-signal to their headquarters. The technology can only work on a group of about a dozen.

(Thanks, William)

Via New Scientist

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July 29, 2010

Autonomous Doctor Bot Practices on Turkey

Duke University researchers are working on an autonomous robot that can take biopsies on humans based on ultrasounds. Using a turkey as the guinea pig because their flesh is similar to humans, they claim that the robot guided its plunger correctly to eight different locations 93% of the time without human intervention. We guess its that 7% that will keep the practice in the experimental stage a while longer.

Via Duke

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Cornell Ranger Beats World Record Walking


Cornell University managed to create a robot that has broken a world record. The Ranger, controlled by remote, walked 14.3 miles in eleven hours untethered. This totals out to 70,000 actual steps. For those of you keeping track, this beats a 12.8 mile trek made by Boston Dynamics' Big Dog.

Via Tech News Daily

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July 26, 2010

Softbots Ape Caterpillars


The scientific explanation may be a bit dry and complicated, but the gist of the story is that Virginia Tech is developing "softbots," robots that move similarly to Manduca sexta caterpillars. They "gut slide" to move forward as it turns out that their legs are not doing the walking. Future applications may include search-and-rescue or even internal travel in a human.

Via Current Biology

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July 22, 2010

Robot Assists in Alzheimers Reasearch


Dr. John Q. Trojanowski and Dr. Virginia M.-Y. Lee, of the University of Pennsylvania, are studying tau, a protein that is damaged in a person suffering from Alzheimers. They have the assistance of a $1.5 million robot that fetches and carries plastic plates that contain wells, injects them with chemicals, then carries the plates to an incubator. It may also take the results to a microscope for analysis.

Via NY Times

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