June 7, 2010

Tube Robot Practices on Pig

Boston University researchers have developed a concentric tube robot that can twist around inside a pig (for now) and still perform heart surgery. A series of telescoping curved tubes extend and twist away from the previous ones, allowing them to move through an artery. During the test surgery, the robot managed to plug holes in the pig's heart.

Via New Scientist

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June 1, 2010

BP ROVs Work on Cut and Cap

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Now that Operation "Top Kill" has failed, BP has sent their ROVs to cut small pipes and will soon be attempting to cap off the well with a containment valve. This would lead to a temporary increase in the amount of oil flowing into the Gulf, unless it fails. Once again, there doesn't appear to be a great deal of optimism as other workers construct two relief wells. BP certainly doesn't stand for "Be Prepared."

Via BP

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UofL Assists By Telemedicine Robots

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The Frankfort Regional Medical Center in Kentucky can now rely on the expertise from the Stroke Center at the University of Louisville Hospital. The robotic telemedicine machine can be placed in an exam room and see, hear and diagnose patients, then suggest treatment. The UofL Health Care network program began in 2007 and now includes 13 hospitals in the state. They claim that more than 1,000 people benefited from it last year.

Via UofL

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May 31, 2010

Willow Garage Begins Shipping PR2s

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After holding a sort of graduation for their 11 PR2s, Willow Garage has shipped the first one off to Stanford University. The bot was uncrated upon arrival without incident and had already begun collecting data within a few hours. The remaining PR2s will be sent on their two year voyages during the next couple of weeks.

Via Willow Garage

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May 28, 2010

Bebionic Hand Close to Real Thing

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Bebionic has created a mylo-electric hand with a wrist that can rotate, flex and extend. Available for humans later this year, it is covered in silicon skin and looks like the real deal, well almost.

Via Bebionics

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May 27, 2010

Robotic Swallowtail Takes Flight

Swallowtail butterflies have larger wings than average ones and researchers Hiroto Tanaka and Isao Shimoyama have been studying them. The end result is this ornithopter that can flap its wings and fly without the aerodynamic forces used by other butterflies. While it may be a while before the technology is utilized in future aircraft, there is something quite amazing in watching this bugbot take flight.

Via io9

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May 24, 2010

Venter Institutes Create Synthetic Cell

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Robots beware. Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute have created a synthetic cell. At a cost of about $40 million, the one-celled organism can actually reproduce. The bacterium was created as a demo, but many experts believe that it can be applied to others to create something "commercial."

Via Wall Street Journal

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May 20, 2010

Merces-Benz Uses Bots for Vehicle Testing

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Mercedes-Benz has begun using robots to test their vehicles using the same technology as DARPA. The robots steer, accelerate and break while an onboard computer controls the autopilot on a pre-programmed course. The car company is the first to use these maneuvers in safety testing that cannot be duplicated by humans.

Via Motor Authority

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ATV to Clean Up ISS, then Commit Seppuku

The European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle 2 is on its way to So. America. Set to be launched later this year, it will bring up cargo to the ISS without the need of a human. The first ATV, named Jules Verne, successfully flew in 2008, filled itself with waste and burned up intentionally on re-entry. ATV-2 has been dubbed Johannes Kepler and will suffer the same fate after its mission is complete.

Via Space

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May 19, 2010

Robots To Get Biosonar Night Vision

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Bats use echolocation (biosonar) to "see" in the dark and now researchers are thinking of using it on robots. Simon Whiteley and team, from the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, mounted wireless mic sensors on 6 Egyptian fruit bats to record their calls. They then replicated it electronically. Future applications may include using the technology in sonar and in positioning robotic vehicles.

Via Live Science

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