By looking to the neural networks of spiders, crabs, lobsters, and worms, European researchers are building better gait-governing systems for robots. Mimicking the rhythmic nerve impulses of some invertebrates can create automatic, repetitive motions that help robots move more naturally and seamlessly, much like the organisms they emulate.
Meet iMobot, a new reconfigurable robot that can be linked together like a chain to form larger versions of itself. With four degrees of freedom, it can stand itself up and turn into a tiny camera stand, roll end-over-end like a mini tank tread, or hunch along like an inchworm.
Earlier this week, Stephen Colbert gave us a nice shout-out for Rebecca Boyle's post on the first robots to jump into the fray at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Seems like Colbert may have wanted to see some of Japan's own robotic earthquake helpers, or at least a contribution from somewhere other than perpetual Report punching bag France.
A new lifelike seagull ‘bot is one of the most realistic bio-inspired flight machines we’ve seen. SmartBird takes off, flies and lands on its own, flapping its wings and turning its head and tail to steer. It is modeled on the herring gull and its appearance and movements are uncannily similar to the real thing.
About a month ago we wrote about robot maker TiaLinx Inc.'s Cougar20-H robot, a rolling ground-based 'bot with sensors so acute it can detect a person breathing through a concrete wall. But, as we (and others) pointed out at the time, the limited mobility of a terrestrial robot limited the Cougar's applications.
Exoskeletons aren't all just made for soldiers — now they can help desk jockeys reach for a pen or a cup of coffee, and reduce the fatigue that comes with typing all day long.
The x-Ar arm support won't give you superhuman strength or do your work for you — it will just help your arm feel a little less like dead weight.
Most telepresence robots are geared toward providing the user with a remote presence in the workplace or home. TEROOS, a shoulder-mounted telepresence robot developed by researchers at Keio University and elsewhere in Japan, is making telepresence more of a social experience.
It was a day that started like any other: dark, rainy, and silent, except for the hum of my motors. I sat in my shadowy Robotown office, nursing some cheap electricity from the wall. It had been a slow month. A slow year. That was when the DameBot wheeled into my office. She was dressed in red metallic paint that fit her like a coat of paint, because it was, and her elegant treaded tires went all the way to the floor. You could tell she was used to getting what she wanted by the confident, single-speed way she made her way towards the corner of my office where I was plugged in, recharging with that sweet, intoxicating electricity habit I couldn't seem to kick. "Private EyeBot, huh?" the DameBot bleeped and blooped. "I need you to follow someone without being seen--that is, if you can put down the plug." "I need the plug, sister," I said, "and for what you've got in mind, there's no one better. Plug or no plug."
Manufacturing tiny, fragile wings is a delicate business, but using 3-D printing tech a team of Cornell roboticists have trimmed days off their usual production process by printing their fragile robots right on the workbench. That’s not just good news for ornithopter enthusiasts (surely they exist), but for aerospace engineers and entomologists as well.