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Micro-drones at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt Courtesy of AAU/Lakeside Labs

Micro-drone Networks Present Unique Communications Challenges

March 4, 2015 10:39 am | by Alpen-Adria-Universität | News | Comments

Micro-drones are being put to use in a large number of areas, where these small aircraft face extensive requirements while performing aerial observation tasks or when deployed in the field of disaster management. A newly developed concept summarizes some of these challenges.

NASA Spacecraft Making First Visit to Dwarf Planet Ceres

March 3, 2015 10:26 am | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

A NASA spacecraft is about to reach the end of a nearly eight-year journey and make the first...

Three Men First to Get Reconstructed Bionic Hands

February 26, 2015 1:18 pm | by Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

Three Austrians have replaced injured hands with bionic ones that they can control using nerves...

A Comically Involved, Complicated Invention, Laboriously Contrived to Perform a Simple Operation

February 24, 2015 10:34 am | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Blogs | Comments

Of course, I’m talking about the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest! This annual international...

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An artist concept of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission. Courtesy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

MAVEN Completes First Deep Dip of Martian Atmosphere

February 23, 2015 3:46 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA’S Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution has completed the first of five deep-dip maneuvers designed to gather measurements closer to the lower end of the Martian upper atmosphere. The 16-mile altitude difference may not seem like much, but it allows scientists to make measurements down to the top of the lower atmosphere. At these lower altitudes, the atmospheric densities are more than 10 times what they are at 93 miles.

An operator controls a robot that looks like an enlarged fiberscope during a demonstration for the media at a government facility in Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. The snake-like robot, developed by Japanese electronics giant Hitachi and

Japan Readies First Robot to Probe Melted Fukushima Reactor

February 9, 2015 11:17 am | by Miki Toda, Associated Press | News | Comments

A snake-like robot designed to examine the inside of one of three melted reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is ready to begin its expedition. Assessing the damage inside the reactors is a crucial step in the decommissioning of the plant, which was badly damaged by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Use of a remote-controlled robot is essential, because no humans can go close to the reactor chambers due to fatally high radiation.

The octopus robot is capable of accelerating up to 10 body lengths in less than a second. Courtesy of University of Southampton

Speed Record: Octopus Robot’s Ultra-fast Acceleration is Unprecedented

February 6, 2015 3:30 pm | by University of Southampton | News | Comments

Scientists have developed an octopus-like robot  that can zoom through water with ultra-fast propulsion and acceleration never before seen in man-made underwater vehicles. Cephalopods are capable of high-speed escapes by filling their bodies with water and then quickly expelling it to dart away. Inspired by this, scientists built a deformable robot with a 3-D printed skeleton, no moving parts and no energy storage device.

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Vega VV04 fully assembled in its mobile gantry. Courtesy of M. Pedoussaut, ESA

What’s New about Europe’s Reentry Mission?

February 6, 2015 3:12 pm | by ESA | News | Comments

ESA’s experimental spaceplane, poised for liftoff on Vega, is set to showcase the latest technologies and critical systems to extend Europe’s capability for space exploration. In a world first, Europe will launch and land an unmanned spaceplane that has no wings but instead features an aerodynamic shape that produces the lift to fly through the atmosphere. Flaps and thrusters will autonomously steer it back to a splashdown.

Eve, the Robot Scientist Courtesy of University of Manchester

AI Robot Scientist ‘Eve’ could Boost Search for New Drugs

February 4, 2015 2:46 pm | by University of Cambridge | News | Comments

Eve, an artificially-intelligent ‘robot scientist’ could make drug discovery faster and much cheaper, say researchers. The team has demonstrated the success of the approach, as Eve discovered that a compound shown to have anti-cancer properties might also be used in the fight against malaria.

For decades, researchers in artificial intelligence, or AI, worked on specialized problems, developing theoretical concepts and workable algorithms for various aspects of the field. However, in recent years, as the individual aspects of artificial intelli

AI Algorithms Programmed into Self-driving Cars

February 3, 2015 3:02 pm | by National Science Foundation | News | Comments

For decades, researchers in artificial intelligence, or AI, worked on specialized problems, developing theoretical concepts and workable algorithms for various aspects of the field. However, in recent years, as the individual aspects of artificial intelligence matured, researchers began bringing the pieces together, leading to amazing displays of high-level intelligence.

This artist's rendering provided by the European Space Agency shows the Beagle-2 lander. The spacecraft went missing on Christmas Day, 2003, when it was supposed to land on Mars and start transmitting data back to Earth. On Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, more tha

Mystery Solved: Missing Beagle-2 Finally Located on Mars, Deployment Failed in Final Stage

January 20, 2015 2:47 pm | by Gregory Katz, Associated Press | News | Comments

It turns out the Beagle has landed after all — but it never called home. The gone-but-not-forgotten spacecraft Beagle-2 went AWOL on Christmas Day, 2003, when it was supposed to land on Mars and start transmitting data back to Earth. Instead, the British-built craft went dark. After several months, it was declared lost — presumed to have been destroyed during its approach or while trying to land on the red planet.

Developing a more efficient vision system for household robots. Courtesy of Christine Daniloff and Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

MIT Algorithm Helps Household Robots Identify Items Concealed in Clutter

January 15, 2015 9:49 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

For household robots to be practical, they need to be able to recognize the objects they’re supposed to manipulate. While object recognition is one of the most widely studied topics in AI, even the best detectors still fail much of the time. Researchers believe the robots should take advantage of their mobility, imaging objects from multiple perspectives. Matching up objects in the different images, however, poses computational challenges.

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Helen Greiner, chairman and co-founder iRobot Corporation, poses for photo with an iRobot PackBot EOD in front of her booth during RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition. Greiner, one of the inventors behind the Roomba, the robotic vacuum that can clean y

Today’s Drone Market Resembles Silicon Valley's Early Days

January 9, 2015 10:51 am | by Scott Mayerowitz, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

To see the future of drones, head up the hill at the intersection of Industrial Drive and Electronics Avenue. Inside a bland brick office building, the team at CyPhy is working on tethered machines that can fly nonstop for days and pocket-sized drones for search-and-rescue missions. It's not a fancy building. There's no giant aerospace or defense company here. Just small teams of computer scientists and mechanical engineers...

Button-sized prototype of the Intel Curie module, a tiny hardware product based on the company’s first purpose-built system-on-chip (SoC) for wearable devices.

Intel’s CEO Outlines Future of Computing

January 7, 2015 3:54 pm | by Intel | News | Comments

Intel has announced a number of technology advancements and initiatives aimed at accelerating computing into the next dimension. The announcements include the Intel Curie module, a button-sized hardware product for wearable solutions; new applications for Intel RealSense cameras spanning robots, flying multi-copter drones and 3-D immersive experiences; and a broad, new Diversity in Technology initiative.

Approximately 3,000 FRC teams are projected to compete for the chance to gain top honors at the FIRST Championship, which will take place April 22 to 25 in St. Louis, MO.

2015 FIRST Robotics Competition Kicks Off

January 7, 2015 2:45 pm | by Automation Federation | News | Comments

Nearly 75,000 high-school students on approximately 3,000 teams at 107 venues around the globe joined the kickoff event on January 3, 2015, of the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) via live Comcast NBCUniversal broadcast. FIRST is a not-for-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology and math.

The 2.5-meter-long underwater drone is ready to be launched through the hole in the sea ice. Courtesy of Lars Chresten Lund Hansen

Underwater Drones lead Antarctic Exploration into New Epoch

January 5, 2015 1:12 pm | by Signe Høgslund & Peter Bondo Christensen, Aarhus University | News | Comments

Splash. A Weddell seal weighing almost 500 kilograms lands inside the tent and blocks the hole laboriously sawn out by researchers in the two-meter-thick ice to launch drones under the sea ice. The tent is lovely and warm. Outside, the thermometer shows -15 degrees. The seal finally glides back into the water, and the researchers have access to the open water. The advanced technology drone is carefully lowered into the icy cold sea.

Ozobot was selected for a Kids at Play Interactive (KAPi) Award for the Best Robot.

World's Smallest Programmable Robot wins KAPi Award

January 5, 2015 12:40 pm | by Evollve | News | Comments

Who's that tiny dancer in the aisles of the Consumer Electronics Show? It's Ozobot, the world's smallest programmable robot with an intuitive color-based language. Ozobot's capacity for fun and learning is designed to bridge the physical and digital divide, and the “smart game piece” glides seamlessly from paper to digital tablet. Playing with the robot introduces kids and young adults to simple coding basics...

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The prototype robotic turtle. Courtesy of NUS

Next-gen Thinking Biomimetic Robots Perform Surveillance, Energy Harvesting

January 2, 2015 4:26 pm | by National University of Singapore | News | Comments

Researchers are closer to creating underwater robotic creatures with a brain of their own — besides behaving like the real thing. In the near future, it would not be too tall an order for the National University of Singapore (NUS) team to produce a swarm of autonomous tiny robotic sea turtles and fishes, for example, to perform hazardous missions, such as detecting nuclear wastes underwater or other tasks too dangerous for humans.

A gecko foot. Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have developed a gripping system based on the way gecko feet are able to stick to surfaces. Just as a gecko's foot has tiny adhesive hairs, the JPL devices have small structures that work in si

Gecko Grippers Get a Microgravity Test Flight

January 2, 2015 2:16 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

There are no garbage trucks equipped to leave the atmosphere and pick up debris floating around the Earth. But what if we could send a robot to do the job? Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are working on adhesive gripping tools that could grapple objects, such as orbital debris or defunct satellites, that would otherwise be hard to handle.

As the first humanoid robot to pay for a seat on a commercial flight, Athena travelled in style, dressed in a white T-shirt and fetching red shoes. © MPI for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen

Robotics in Disaster Response: Athena begins Autonomous Perception Training

December 18, 2014 12:23 pm | by Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems | News | Comments

Travelling from Los Angeles to Frankfurt onboard Lufthansa flight 457, the passenger arrived on December 16 with no signs of jet lag: this was no ordinary holidaymaker, but the first humanoid robot to take up a seat on a commercial flight. Athena made her way from LA to Tübingen in order to acquire many new skills: standing, balancing, walking — and various other meaningful activities, which she can use to assist people in daily life.

A team of researchers is embarking on a collaborative project to ensure that the autonomous robots we build in the future will be safer, making decisions that are ethical and follow legislation on robotics.

New Research Will Help Robots Know Their Limits

December 8, 2014 6:05 pm | by University of Sheffield | News | Comments

A team of researchers is embarking on a collaborative project to ensure that the autonomous robots we build in the future will be safer, making decisions that are ethical and follow legislation on robotics.             

A University of Texas at Dallas professor applied robot control theory to enable powered prosthetics to dynamically respond to the wearer’s environment and help amputees walk.

Engineer Applies Robot Control Theory to Improve Prosthetic Legs

December 4, 2014 3:47 pm | by The University of Texas at Dallas | News | Comments

A University of Texas at Dallas professor applied robot control theory to enable powered prosthetics to dynamically respond to the wearer’s environment and help amputees walk.                     

It's a robot unlike any other: inspired by the world's fastest land animal, controlled by video game technology and packing nifty sensors — including one used to maneuver drones, satellites and ballistic missiles. The robot, called the cheetah, is the cre

MIT Engineers Have High Hopes for Cheetah Robot

December 2, 2014 3:27 pm | by Rodrique Ngowi, Associated Press | News | Comments

It's a robot unlike any other: inspired by the world's fastest land animal, controlled by video game technology and packing nifty sensors — including one used to maneuver drones, satellites and ballistic missiles. The robot, called the cheetah, is the creation of researchers at the Massachusetts of Technology, who had to design key elements from scratch because of a lack of or shortcomings in existing technology.

Ohio State's Adaptive Suspension Vehicle (AVS), nicknamed the "Walker." Developed by electrical engineer Robert McGhee and mechanical engineer Kenneth Waldron, along with a 60-member team of students and technical assistants, the 'Walker' was designed to

NSF Celebrates More than 40 Years Supporting US Robotics Research

November 24, 2014 4:14 pm | by Aaron Dubrow, NSF | News | Comments

The fundamental research in computing and engineering that enabled robotics to develop in the U.S. has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) since its inception. Yet despite these early investments in sensors, machine movement and computer vision, it wasn't until 1972 that the first grant with "robot" in the title was funded.

University of Waikato Master of Engineering student Pinwei Jin with his Snake Robot prototype at the Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show.

Snake Robot to the Rescue

November 11, 2014 3:17 pm | by University of Waikato | News | Comments

Pinwei Jin has designed and built a remote control robotic snake, which he hopes will be used in the future for rescue operations. Differing from the existing mobile rescue robot systems currently in the market place, Jin says his Snake Robot provides the flexibility of movement needed in cluttered and irregular environments created by disasters.

The USS Macon inside Hangar One at Moffett Field on October 15, 1933 — following a transcontinental flight from Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Google Signs 60-year, $1 Billion NASA Lease

November 11, 2014 3:07 pm | by Brandon Bailey, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Google has signed a long-term lease for part of a historic Navy air base, where it plans to renovate three massive hangars and use them for projects involving aviation, space exploration and robotics. The giant Internet company will pay $1.16 billion in rent over 60 years for the property, which also includes a working air field, golf course and other buildings. The 1,000-acre site is part of the former Moffett Field Naval Air Station.

The world’s most advanced bionic hand was tested with the help of amputee Dennis Aabo Sørensen who was able to grasp objects intuitively and identify what he was touching, while blindfolded. © LifeHand2

Neural Interface allows Natural Control of World’s Most Advanced Bionic Hand

November 7, 2014 3:27 pm | by European Commission | News | Comments

A prosthetic hand, which provides a sense of touch acute enough to handle an egg, has been completed and is now exploited by the NEBIAS project after 10 years of EU-funded research. The world’s most advanced bionic hand was tested with the help of amputee Dennis Aabo Sørensen who was able to grasp objects intuitively and identify what he was touching, while blindfolded.

A remote-controlled roving camera camouflaged as a penguin chick in Adelie Land, Antarctica. The device is so convincing that penguins don't scamper away and sometimes even sing to it with trumpet-like sounds. Emperor penguins are notoriously shy. When re

Roving Robotic Spy Keeps Tabs on Shy Penguins

November 4, 2014 12:42 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

The newest tool for biologists is the baby penguin robotic spy. It's pretty darn cute, and so convincing that penguins essentially talk to it, as if it is a potential mate for their chicks. Emperor penguins are notoriously shy. When researchers approach, these penguins normally back away and their heart rate goes up. That's not what the scientists need when they want to check heart rate, health and other penguin parameters.

MIT researchers explain their new visualization system that can project a robot's "thoughts." Video screenshot courtesy of Melanie Gonick/MIT

Projecting a Robot’s Intentions: New Spin on Virtual Reality to Read Robots’ Minds

October 30, 2014 4:46 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | News | Comments

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT’s Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter.

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