Getting humans to Mars is a challenge in several steps, with the most difficult and dangerous likely to be the descent. Landing safely on another world is hard for a rover, let alone a spacecraft carrying people.
When a satellite becomes unresponsive in orbit, there's not much to be done — engineers can try in vain to hail the spacecraft and send it instructions, or perhaps blow it up in a show of bravado. But fixing it is pretty much out of the question, especially now that the space shuttle is retired.
But what if a remotely operated robot could do the job? Engineers at Johns Hopkins University have been working with a da Vinci surgical robot in a test of long-distance mechanical repair — call it satellite surgery.
A new household servant robot made by the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial ‘bots can help people with disabilities or limited mobility move things around. It’s controlled via Kinect, with the robot aping the Kinect user’s body gestures.
Larvabot is baaack ... and now it’s in your pocket, giving a whole new meaning to the vibrate setting on your cell phone. The new Elfoid telepresence telephone tickles its owner when it gets a call, wriggling to transmit your head and face movements, along with your voice, to the person on the other end of the line.
Maybe it's just us, but some Japanese robots are a special brand of creepy. The moaning mouth was bad enough, but now there's this tadpole-shaped telepresence robot, hereby christened Larvabot.
The Telenoid R1 is meant to be a minimalist human, so details are restricted to its eyes and face, which are strangely realistic. Its body is limited to flipper-like arms and a stylized torso that ends in a mermaid-ish taper.