Robot gestures to improve communication
In the world of robot communication, it seems actions speak louder than words. Scientists in the UK have discovered that by getting robot avatars to "talk with their hands," we understand them as well as we do our fellow human beings. Avatars have been in existence since the 1980s and today are used by millions of people across the globe. They are big business too: from AI to social media and psychotherapy to high-end video games, they are used t...
Prototype of neurorobotics platform released
An important milestone for the Human Brain Project has been reached: as of 30th March, the prototypes of the six information and communications technology (ICT) platforms are set for release. The neurorobotics platform, led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), gives scientists the chance to apply brain models to various different robots and thus conduct their own experiments.
Next step with cyborg beetles: controlling their gait
A small team of researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has taken the idea of controlling live insects using electronics a step further—by controlling its gait. In their paper published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the team describes how they created their 'cyborg' beetles, why they did so, and where they see the technology going in the future. Over the past several years, scientists have found that they c...
Drawing on the fly: drone is agent of expression
The human-machine interactive experience has been up for a rethink at Cambridge, MA -based Fluid Interfaces group from MIT's Media Lab. These are the innovative champions in thinking up enhanced interactions and systems that can be more responsive to people's actions. One such project is the creation of the "Flying Pantograph." A very simple way of describing it would be that it is a flying drawing machine, but that would hardly scratch the surfa...
Mini methane sensor makes successful flight test
As part of a project to improve safety in the energy pipeline industry, researchers have successfully flight-tested a miniature methane gas sensor developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, on a Vertical Take-off and Landing small unmanned aerial system (sUAS). The sensor, similar to one developed by JPL for use on Mars, enables detection of methane with much higher sensitivity than previously available for the industry ...
Robots are fully capable of accomplishing a variety of tasks
They are all shapes and sizes, with all numbers of legs. They can put out fires on ships, shimmy up construction sites to do dangerous inspections, safely traverse battlefields and enter power plants to plug radiation leaks. Oh, and they play soccer, too. One tiny one even break-dances. These are just some of the products of the endlessly creative mind of UCLA's Dennis Hong, director of the legendary RoMeLa (Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory), a...
Fear not the cobot
The world’s first industrial robot was an idea conceived after a conversation about science fiction novels between inventors George Devol and Joseph Eagleburger in 1954. Six years later, Unimate had secured its place in the robotic hall of fame as the world’s first industrial robot. It was then put to work on the General Motors assembly line in 1961.
'Liam' the robot recycles old iPhones
Introduced onstage in a peppy video, "Liam" the robot — more specifically a robotic arm — was specifically developed by Apple engineers to pick apart iPhone and other gadgets, tearing the devices down into discreet modules. These parts, like an iPhone screen or logic board, can then be broken down further to recover materials for reintroduction into the global supply.
Morphing metal shapes future of soft robotics
Imagine an aircraft that could alter its wing shape in midflight and, like a pelican, dive into the water before morphing into a submarine. Cornell University engineering professor Rob Shepherd and his group might help make that futuristic-sounding vehicle a reality. The key is a hybrid material featuring stiff metal and soft, porous rubber foam that combines the best properties of both stiffness and elasticity. The material also has the ability ...
Human eyes assist drones and teach them to 'see'
Drone images accumulate much faster than they can be analysed. Researchers have developed a new approach that combines crowdsourcing and machine learning to speed up the process. Who would win in a real-life game of "Where's Waldo," humans or computers? A recent study suggests that when speed and accuracy are critical, an approach combing both human and machine intelligence would take the prize.