April 17, 2009

Marco Polo Game Teaches Detection and Interception


Duke University and Univ. of New Mexico researchers took the basic principles of the swimming game Marco Polo to increase a robot's ability to detect and intercept things that are moving via algorithms. The bots have camera sensors that can identify where cells within a certain space are and then can figure out where it will move. Obviously, this can have military applications in the future, but we wonder if we could use it to simply find our car keys.

Via Science Daily

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April 14, 2009

Octopus IP - First Soft Robot of the Deep

The Octopus IP has sensory motor capabilities in a design that is based on the arms of its real counterpart so that it performs similarly in water in terms of speed, control, flexibility, dexterity and applicability. The Italian Institute claims that it is the first entirely soft robot that will be used to check out the ocean floor. It can bend in all directions, has 194% of elongation in each arm, a 40N pulling force and 50 x 106 neurons in each arm. We find the idea and video both fascinating and freaky, do you?

Via Octopus Project

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April 13, 2009

MIT Students Create Robot Run Garden


Undergrads at MIT were given a project to create a race of gardening bots that can water, harvest and pollinate plants. At a price of $3,000.00, each moves on a Roomba-like base. Using sensors to tell when the cherry tomato plants need water, they will go to the pump. They know when the fruit is ripe, as they were programmed with a growth model, and will pick them with their botty arms. We are not sure we should go into the pollination aspect. Suffice it to say that they are undoubtedly hygenically correct. Future applications include creating a fully autonomous garden with the robots delivering fertilizer and pesticides when needed.

Via MIT News

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April 12, 2009

HAL Suit Increases Strength


This HAL does more than sing "Daisy." The Hybrid Assistive Limb suit comes from the teaming of Cyberdyne Corp. of Japan and Daiwa House. It was originally created for those with disabilities. The cybernetic clothing increases user strength up to 10 times normal and could also be utilized by those in farming and industrial occupations. Cyberdyne explains how it works:

"When a person attempts to move, nerve signals are sent from the brain to the muscles via motoneuron, moving the musculoskeletal system as a consequence. At this moment, very weak biosignals can be detected on the surface of the skin. HAL catches these signals through a sensor attached on the skin of the wearer. Based on the signals obtained, the power unit is controlled to wearer's daily activities."

At a price of about $4,200.00, it has a battery life of about 5 hours. Still in the works, HAL will soon be available to give us all a leg up.

Via h+

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April 9, 2009

Roony Wants to Go to the Moon

Fourteen students from Malardalens University in Sweden got together with artist Mikael Genberg to create the House on the Moon project. They are hoping that Roony, an autonomous rover, should be sent to the moon, carrying materials and consequently build a small cottage. While this is a work in progress, they are hoping to complete the objective by 2012.

Via Project Roony

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April 8, 2009

ASIMO Controlled by Brain Waves

Honda Research Institute has developed a BMI for robots. This particular interface allows researchers to control ASIMO via a sensor cap and his brain. The company worked in conjunction with Advanced Telecommunications Research (ATR) and Shimadzu Corporation to make the technology possible. Honda claims that it has 90% accuracy without any specialized training. This will certainly come in handy should all the evil scientists in the world finally decide it's time to take over the planet.

Via Akihabara News

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April 7, 2009

Robo-Scientists Think for Themselves


Two research teams have claimed that they have created autonomous robo-scientists that can reason, formulate theories and discover scientific knowledge autonomously. Hod Lipson and Michael Schmidt of Cornell University in New York, have developed a program for Twister II that deciphered Newton's laws without any physics instructions.

Meanwhile, Ross King and team in Wales at Aberystwyth University made Adam, who carries out actual experiments and plans the next one. Their next project will be Eve, who will search for new medicines. We can't wait for Cane and Abel. We wonder if they will be able to create other bots in their own images.

Via Reuters

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March 31, 2009

Cornell Creates Self-Replicating Robots

Researchers at Cornell University have developed a robot that can self-replicate. A machine was made from cube-shaped modules that functioned independently and when combined, created an exact copy of itself. Each contained a microprocessor, a motor and electromagnets and was preprogrammed with building instructions. Fortunately for us all, the team claims that it can do little but reproduce at this point, but they foresee applications in the areas of nanotechnology and space exploration.

Via National Geographic

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March 23, 2009

Cars May Soon Answer Back


Hal may soon be hanging out in your car. Ford Global Technologies has applied for a patent on an Emotive Text To Speech System and Method. It seems that you can chat it up to this navigational device and it will answer back. For example, ask it for a restaurant and it will give you a list of some in the area. And there is more. The EAS has sensors that can detect the emotional state of the driver and will respond based on that. There will also be an avatar somewhere down the line. We figure that the first to purchase the technology will be those who yell at their cars when they stall or praise them if they get you home after an extended commute. "My pleasure, Dave."

Via Autoblog

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March 17, 2009

Sukima - Ghostly Interaction

Keio University and Keio University of Art and Design got together and came up with the Sukima (interspace) Robot, designed to provide a "space with a virtual human body." The bot has human presence sensors, eyes which are information out put interfaces and mechanical hands underneath the desk and between bookshelves. All are connected to a PC via Bluetooth. When the sensors detect a human, Sukima responds as if "real."

The team claims that their poltergeist with personality can be used for artistic purposes or to keep people away from dangerous or limited access areas. We opt for the first idea. Somehow Sukima doesn't look all that scary.

Via Tech-On

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