June 11, 2012

Real Fish School With IOP Fish

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A recent study from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU found that live zebra fish will hang out with robofish, even if they don't look "fishy" enough. Although the robot is five times larger than its real-life counterparts, it attracted both males and females. They also found that they did not like the noise the bot made, but would put up with it if the visual clues were satisfactory. With more research, the team sees future usage as helping to protect endangered species.

Via IOP

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June 4, 2012

R2 Gets to Work on ISS

We wondered what Robonaut 2 had been up to lately and found him busily obeying his masters on the ISS. Last week he practiced working on a task board then was given the task of measuring the airflow from 5 vents to make sure there was no blockage. This test is performed every 90 days and is a perfect chore for the astrobot that can hold the gauge steady and not measure other air flow sources such as exhaling from humans.

Via NASA

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May 30, 2012

DIY iCraft Robotic Arm For Feeding

A Northeastern University team has developed an Eye-Controlled Robotic Arm Feeding Technology that can be manipulated by looking. The iCraft was designed for the disabled or elderly. By looking towards the food desired, the robotic arm will take over. Their prototype was built with about $900 and they have released open source software for those who would like to build their own.

Via Northeastern University

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May 29, 2012

NOA Bots Perform in Sync

It is not enough to see the tune Thriller recreated by Filipino inmates or the occasional flash mob. These NAO robots, built by Aldebaran Robotics and programmed by MIT, use a quorum sensoring system and couple oscillators to synchronize the group. The video is especially eerie when the one out of sync rejoins the others. Imagine the technology being adapted in large factories or forming a robo-army for the eventual takeover.

Via arXiv Blog

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May 22, 2012

One-Armed Robotic Juggler

A team at Japan's Chiba University has built a robot arm that can juggle 2 balls. Because it has no shoulder it can only do about 5 repetitions at a time but anyone who has learned the skill will know that the balls have to be watched in the air like this bot does. Then calculations are made with each cycle. The purpose of their experiment is to display "skillful and dynamic human-like motion."

Via ieee Spectrum

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May 15, 2012

Japanese Scientists Manipulate Shiri

Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications built Shiri, which literally means buttocks in Japanese. It difficult not to make wise cracks here so we will let them explain it:

"Shiri" is a buttocks humanoid robot that expresses various emotions with organic movement of the artificial muscles.

Example emotions such as "Tension", "Twitch" and "Protrusion" in attempt to express emotions on buttocks were added to SHIRI.

This project has two main points, one is the innovative use of robotics technology and its purpose. And second is to raise the argument as to what perceptions will be manifested in the minds of people who communicate with SHIRI.

Hmm. If you can make it through all 3 minutes and 51 seconds of the video, then you are surely one of those that agrees with New Zealand researchers Ian Yeoman and Michelle Mars that robot hookers will arrive by 2050.

Via Blame it on the Voices

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May 14, 2012

Lomas Finishes London Marathon With ReWalk

The amazing Claire Lomas finished the London Marathon in 16 days with the aid of a bionic suit made by ReWalk. The $69,000 FDA-approved motorized skeleton helped her by correcting shifts in her balance.

In 2007, Lomas broke her neck, back and ribs and punctured a lung after being thrown from a horse. She will receive a special cup for her participation because she didn't qualify for a medal since she didn't finish the walk in one day.

The courageous marathoner has already raised about £80,000 (~$128,000) for Spinal Research, an organization that funds research and treatments for back and neck paralysis. Although she says she is just glad to have earned the money, a campaign is already underway to see that she is properly awarded for her performance and several other runners donated their medals to her.

Via Telegraph

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May 10, 2012

Ecobot Decomposes After Gig Ends

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Imagine having a robot that would decompose once it finishes its task. The University of Bristol, UK is working on a £200,000 research grant to do just that. While most outdated or overused bots will tend to resemble Wall-E.
Ecobot will be made of plant textiles and bioplastics that can be digested by organisms. Dr. Jonathan Rossiter, head of the team, claims that, "Once a biodegradable robot has reached the end of its mission, for example having performed some environmental cleanup activity following an oil spill, it will decompose into harmless material."

We could see these environmentally friendly robots hanging out in disaster areas or getting a one-way ticket to a planet far, far away.

Via University of Bristol

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May 9, 2012

The Smartest Machine on Earth

We happily brag about the exploits of Watson, IBM's super computer, when he won on Jeopardy and was loaned to the University of Maryland to attend Med School. Now we found a Nova Episode called "The Smartest Machine on Earth" recently run on PBS. Featured prominently is Watson, with a behind-the-scenes look at how the 'puter became a champ. Hit the link to see the entire episode. Pay special attention to the scenes that show comedian Todd Crain prepping Watson for the big event and actually harassing him.

Via PBS

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May 8, 2012

Micro Air Vehicle Perfects Landing

A group from the University of Illinois developed an avian MAV that can land on a human's hand. The autonomous bot has undergone test flights that demonstrates its two phases. First it flies while maneuvering with articulated wings then it pitches up and slows down before landing. Still in the early stages, the team plans to continue to fine tune their project in the future.

Via Spectrum ieee

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