Need help with something? Your roboreceptionist is here to assist you. Researchers at the U. of Arizona and Carnegie Mellon University are developing a robot receptionist that is more than just a pre-programmed phone answering system. “Hala,” the prototype roboreceptionist at Carnegie Mellon’s Qatar outpost, is a bicultural, bilingual robotic interface that interacts with visitors based on each person’s linguistic preference and cultural customs.
Japan’s HRP-4 robotic pop star has been hogging the spotlight lately, honing her singing style and making appearances at CEATECH JAPAN and more recently at the Digital Content Expo in Tokyo. But this time she’s performing with her own crew of backup dancers, which very well could make Divabot – as she’s sometimes known – the first robot to headline a musical performance with support from a human dance troupe.
After investing eight years and $1 million, Turkey has now joined the elite club of countries with humanoid robots, finally introducing SURALP to the public in Istanbul on Wednesday. Opting for the traditional acronym-nomenclature, SURALP stands for “Sabanci University Robot Research Laboratory Platform.”
A robot in Slovenia is bringing the pain in name of science, repeatedly punching human research subjects in an effort to see just how much of a beating they can take. As New Scientist points out, this is a stark violation of Asimov’s first law of robotics, but the scientists behind the study say the point of the study is to better define that rule.
You remember the Chumby--it's that cute little Wi-Fi device designed to constantly stream a greatest-hits lineup of your favorite Web apps to places where your laptop, netbook, or smartphone can’t go. The Chumby on its own makes for a cute alarm clock, but this DIY upgrade for the tiny media display is really going places. (Ha!)
At Carnegie Mellon University, one robotics student estimates that there are more robots than students in the department, but in a shameful display of mammalian arrogance, the precise number and type of said robots is unknown. That realization led the student, Heather Knight, to begin the world's first robot census.
Anyone trying to get onto the grounds of the Nevada National Security Site – the installation housing tens of millions of cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste and site of many nuclear weapons tests back when they were militarily fashionable – will now face a new smart layer of security beyond the usual fences, sentry towers, and security cameras.
If you think you can’t motivate the kids to put down the Sega or whatever it is they’re playing with these days, Japanese robotics manufacturer Sakakibara-Kikai would beg to differ. The company that created the Landwalker bi-pedal exoskeleton has created a five-and-a-quarter-foot exoskeleton just for the kiddies that is sure to captivate even the most technophobic youngster, assuming such a thing exists.
Last week, the world waited with bated breath as Swedish robotics engineers teased us with promises of a robotic swan that danced so beautifully to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” that the few who had viewed it were moved to tears. The dancing swan was unveiled this week at Sweden’s largest book fair, and due to the overwhelming demands of readers (okay, three of you) we’ve obtained the first video of robo-swan in action.
We love robots here at PopSci, especially the kind that have practical uses beyond making crowds of onlookers say “wow.” But today FastCo reports on a shape-shifting ‘bot that is both “wow”-worthy and completely useful: a robotic mannequin that can conform to your specific body measurements to show you how an online clothing vendor’s wares will wear on your unique frame.
Hitachi’s “Intelligent Carry” isn’t humanoid, doesn’t build moon bases, and has, as far as we know, limited cooking skills. Rather, it's something so many robots are not: surprisingly practical. The boxy ‘bot autonomously moves around a space without human help, carrying and delivering whatever to wherever.
In America, the animalistic automatons at Chuck E. Cheese entertain (and sometimes terrify) children with their inelegant, slack-jawed singing, spastic motions, and soulless, lifeless eyes. It’s a stark contrast with Sweden, where a robot swan is literally moving people to tears with a four-minute, professionally choreographed routine, dramatically executed to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”
Believe it or not, your robots may soon be lying to you. But you don’t have to take our word for it; Georgia Tech researchers, with funding from the Office of Naval Research, have been toying with algorithms that allow a robot to determine whether or not it wishes to deceive another robot or human, and then to carry out a deceptive strategy to that end.
Researchers at Yale's Grab Lab aren't about to let the nuances of rotary-wing flight restrict what unmanned aerial vehicles can do. A team there has developed a hand-like modular grasping and manipulation platform that can be fitted to the bellies of UAVs to provide them with extra functionality without overly taxing their flight capabilities.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo are using frog eggs to enhance what might seem like an unlikely element of robotics: olfactory sensing. By injecting the eggs with the DNA from various insects known for expressing keen senses of smell, the team was able to create a robotic nose that can detect molecules at levels as low as a few parts per billion.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.