We've seen robotic exoskeletons before -- there's Lockheed's HULC that's designed to augment soldier performance, and then there's Raytheon's XOS that's more like an actual Iron Man suit -- but this one is different. REX, the Robotic Exoskeleton, is designed to help those usually bound to wheelchairs stand up and walk, and it should be commercially available later this year.
Soon, when you want your helper robot to wash the dishes or fetch you a cold one, you may have to say it in a different way. Like "butij pimo lupuma." (Get that bottle.)
Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands are working on a spoken language for robots, built with both human brains and robot simplicity in mind. ROILA, or Robot Interaction Language, is intended to be easy for people to learn and easy for robots to understand.
Add gumshoe detective to NASA's resume. Last year, scientists from the space agency working with the US Geological Survey and the Menlo Park District Attorney's office solved an 18-year-old murder case using technology developed for autonomous Earth science missions, NASA has announced.
Not that soldiers on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone can read this tale of Western decadence, but if they could they would do well to take note: South Korea has deployed two $334,000 robotic sentries armed with automatic weapons and 40-millimeter grenade launchers along the tense border region bisecting the Korean peninsula.
UPenn's quadcopters are learning new tricks. We were impressed last month when video emerged of the autonomous 'copters ducking through very tight spaces with startling agility. Now, the GRASP Lab's tiny aircraft have learned to work in teams to lift heavy payloads with surprising grace.
With this head gear, you could make robots go grab you a beer simply by glancing at the refrigerator.
A team of researchers at Northeastern University in Boston is working on a brain-robot interface that lets you command a robot by looking at specific regions on a computer screen. The system detects brain signals from the user's visual cortex, and commands a robot to move left, right and forward, the Boston Globe reports.
The roboticists at Willow Garage, like the rest of us this summer, are thirsty. But they have the quick-learning PR2 bot to help out. Having mastered other handy tasks, like folding laundry and playing pool, the robot has now learned to fetch beer for its masters.
A team of unmanned subs developed by European researchers could use new software to work together as a team, exploring the ocean's deepest secrets, conducting search-and-rescue operations or, conceivably, sealing off a blown-out oil well.
The European Union-funded Grex project, named for the Latin word for "flock," involves networking software to coordinate multiple autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs. Multiple AUVs can benefit from the sum of their parts, as the project's Web site notes -- each could perform separate functions that contribute to a larger mission.
Whether wielded by Egyptian sun gods, Luke Skywalker, or your run of the mill solar-thermal power plant, light has the potential to do big things. Thanks to a breakthrough by UC Berkeley and the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, we can now make light do very small things as well. Researchers there have created the first nano-sized light mill motor that can be manipulated in both speed and direction by tuning the frequency of the light waves that serve as its power source.
University of Washington and Stanford researchers have created what could become a model for future microbots: a one-inch microchip sporting 512 thermal-powered "feet" that can carry more than seven times its own weight while moving in any direction.