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Baxter (left), a versatile robot that is designed to work in industry alongside people, is one of about 40 robots featured in Robot Revolution. CHARLI (right), developed to move and be shaped like humans, can walk in all directions, turn and kick. Courtes

Robot Revolution Explores Visionary World through Cutting-edge Robots

May 29, 2015 9:44 am | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | News | Comments

“They’re here … to help and improve our lives,” The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago announces on its Web site. MSI is hosting a new national touring exhibit, Robot Revolution, which explores how robots, created by human ingenuity, will ultimately be our companions and colleagues, changing how we play, live and work together. It allows guests to step into a visionary world where robots are not just a curiosity, but a vital asset.

Robots Automatically Recover from Damage in Minutes

May 28, 2015 3:37 pm | by University of Wyoming | News | Comments

Robots will one day provide tremendous benefits to society, such as in search and rescue — but...

Autonomous Robot Swarms Use Collective Cognition, are Aware of their Environment

May 28, 2015 3:20 pm | by European Commission, CORDIS | News | Comments

Scientists have created underwater robot swarms that function like schools of fish, exchanging...

New Algorithm lets Autonomous Robots Divvy up Assembly Tasks on the Fly

May 27, 2015 2:33 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

Today’s industrial robots are remarkably efficient — as long as they’re in a controlled...

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What if handheld tools know what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers have developed and started studying a novel concept in robotics - intelligent handheld robots.

Intelligent Handheld Robots Have the Skills

May 26, 2015 3:52 pm | by University of Bristol | News | Comments

What if handheld tools know what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers have developed and started studying a novel concept in robotics - intelligent handheld robots.

Through a clinical trial collaboration between Caltech, Keck Medicine of USC and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, a new generation of neuroprosthetics may enable paralyzed patients to perform practical tasks and regain some of their indep

Next-gen Neuroprosthetics: Clinical Trial Shows Intuitive Control of Robotic Arm Using Thought

May 22, 2015 11:02 am | by Alison Trinidad, University of Southern California - Health Sciences | News | Comments

Paralyzed from the neck down after suffering a gunshot wound when he was 21, Erik G. Sorto now can move a robotic arm just by thinking about it and using his imagination. Sorto is the first person in the world to have a neural prosthetic device implanted in a region of the brain where intentions are made, giving him the ability to perform a fluid hand-shaking gesture, drink a beverage and even play “rock, paper, scissors.”

A robotic hand, or gripper, undergoes a NIST test to measure the contact force exerted by a robotic finger on an object. Courtesy of NIST

Get Ahold of This: NIST Tools Test Robot Hand Grasping, Fine-motor Skills

May 21, 2015 9:01 am | by NIST | News | Comments

Grasping and shaking hands is a defining human ritual. But what about our android counterparts? What does the grip of a robot’s hand say about the machine’s capabilities, especially dexterity — the ability to wield and manipulate different objects under challenging circumstances, such as in manufacturing or assembly operations? NIST is developing tests to take full measure of robotic grasping in order to provide useful benchmarking tools.

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The IEEE Standard for Ontologies for Robotics and Automation (IEEE P1872) is designed to simplify programming, extend the information processing and reasoning capabilities of robots, and enable

Ontology for Automatons: Standard Knowledge for Robots

May 20, 2015 2:12 pm | by NIST | News | Comments

What do you know? There is now a world standard for capturing and conveying knowledge robots possess — or, to get philosophical about it, an ontology for automatons. Crafted by a working group of 166 experts from 23 nations, IEEE Standard for Ontologies for Robotics and Automation is designed to simplify programming, extend information processing and reasoning capabilities, and enable clear robot-to-robot and human-to-robot communication.

Autonomous Car Prototype Folds, Shrinks, Drives Sideways

Recap: The Week's Top Stories — May 8-14

May 15, 2015 2:34 pm | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | News | Comments

In case you missed it, here's another chance to catch this week's biggest hits. Writing like a genius; the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity; imaging fascinating, wild and unpredictable thunder; a car prototype that folds, shrinks and drives sideways; a high-efficiency laser system to remove space debris from orbit; and more are among the latest top stories.

Researchers have detected that the random changes in the direction of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) follow mathematical patterns, which are a mixture of Gaussian and Pareto distributions. Courtesy of Lek Khauv

Ants’ Movements Hide Mathematical Patterns

May 13, 2015 12:41 pm | by SINC | News | Comments

When ants go exploring in search of food they end up choosing collective routes that fit statistical distributions of probability. This has been demonstrated by a team of mathematicians after analyzing the trails of a species of Argentine ant. Studies like this could be applied to coordinate the movement of micro-robots in cleaning contaminated areas for example.

Tablet and robot system: A person taps the tablet to control where the beam of light appears on a floor. The swarm robots then roll toward the illumination, constantly communicating with each other and deciding how to evenly cover the lit area.

Controlling Robot Swarms with the Swipe of a Finger

May 12, 2015 12:28 pm | by Georgia Tech | News | Comments

Using a smart tablet and a red beam of light, researchers have created a system that allows people to control a fleet of robots with the swipe of a finger. A person taps the tablet to control where the beam of light appears on a floor. The swarm robots then roll toward the illumination, constantly communicating with each other and deciding how to evenly cover the lit area.

EO Smart Connecting Car 2 prototype Courtesy of Dipl.-Inform. Timo Birnschein, DFKI GmbH

Autonomous Car Prototype Folds, Shrinks, Drives Sideways

May 12, 2015 8:44 am | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Blogs | Comments

A team of German software developers and designers, along with electronics and construction engineers, has developed an innovative design for a new type of electric smart “micro car.” Now in its second-phase, the prototype is able to convert from “traditional driving” to driving sideways in just seconds, with each wheel powered by its own motor. The two-seater also can shrink from eight feet to less than five feet in length.

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The first of The Planetary Society's two LightSail spacecraft will ride to space aboard an Atlas V rocket in May 2015. The mission is a shakedown cruise designed to test out the CubeSat's critical systems. In 2016, the second LightSail spacecraft will pig

Solar-powered Sail could Revolutionize Satellite Control and Movement

May 11, 2015 8:32 am | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Blogs | Comments

Last September, Cal Poly's CubeSat team and The Planetary Society unfurled a solar-powered sail that some believe could revolutionize satellite propulsion. This was a deployment test and key milestone for the LightSail project. Among those present was Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society. Lightsail is a Planetary Society initiative with the goal of demonstrating effective use of solar sails for satellite control and movement.

In future telerobotic procedures, the last communication link may be a wireless uplink (dotted lines) to a drone or satellite that is more easily hacked than pre-established network connections (solid lines.) Courtesy of University of Washington

Researchers hack Teleoperated Surgical Robot to Reveal Security Flaws

May 8, 2015 10:48 am | by Jennifer Langston, University of Washington | News | Comments

To make cars as safe as possible, we crash them into walls to pinpoint weaknesses and better protect people who use them. That’s the idea behind a series of experiments conducted by an engineering team who hacked a next-gen teleoperated surgical robot — one used only for research purposes — to test how easily a malicious attack could hijack remotely-controlled operations in the future and to make those systems more secure.

The system is similar to one that Williams developed for NASA following the loss of the Mars Observer

Cognitive Control: Robots Plan Underwater Missions Autonomously

May 7, 2015 12:18 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | News | Comments

When developing the autonomous mission-planning system, Williams’ group took inspiration from the Star Trek franchise and the top-down command center of the fictional starship Enterprise, after which he modeled and named the system. Just as a hierarchical crew runs the fictional starship, the Enterprise system incorporates levels of decision-makers and similar to one that Williams developed for NASA following the loss of Mars Observer.

From joy to sadness, facial expressions could soon be decipherable to robots.

Making Robots More Human

April 30, 2015 9:20 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Most people are naturally adept at reading facial expressions — from smiling and frowning to brow-furrowing and eye-rolling — to tell what others are feeling. Now, scientists have developed ultra-sensitive, wearable sensors that can do the same thing. Their technology, reported in the journal ACS Nano, could help robot developers make their machines more human.

Chris Evans, left, as Captain America/Steve Rogers, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, in a scene of the new film, "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." The movie releases in the U.S. on May 1, 2015. (Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP)

'Avengers' Stars Wary of Artificial Intelligence

April 28, 2015 2:46 pm | by Ryan Pearson, AP Entertainment Writer | News | Comments

The cast of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" may battle out-of-control artificial intelligence on-screen but, in real life, they're not so sure about cutting-edge technology. AP talked with the cast about what they embrace and fear in today's high-tech landscape: ROBERT DOWNEY, JR.: I feel you have to embrace it. You know, there's always that shadow play that goes on ... But look, it took over a while ago...

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Another dimension: Professor Marc in het Panhuis (left) and Ph.D. student Shannon Bakarich are building objects using 4D printing, where time is the fourth dimension.

4D Printing, where Time — actually Shape Shifting — is the 4th Dimension

April 24, 2015 2:01 pm | by University of Wollongong | News | Comments

Just as the extraordinary capabilities of 3D printing have begun to infiltrate industry and the family home, researchers have started to develop 3D printed materials that morph into new structures post production, under the influence of external stimuli, such as water or heat — hence the name, 4D printing.

Through special environments called biotic processing units, bioengineers allow people to interact with cells like fish in an aquarium or even do simple experiments from afar.

Biotic Processing Makes Biotech Interactive with Games, Remote-control Labs

April 22, 2015 2:10 pm | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | News | Comments

Riedel-Kruse and his team are enabling people to interact with biological materials and perform experiments the way they interact with computers today — called interactive biotechnology.  They have created three related projects that begin to define this new field. In the most far-reaching project, Riedel-Kruse created a robotic biology cloud lab capable of carrying out remote-control experiments.

Lenore Rasmussen’s dream of developing a synthetic muscle that could be used to make better prosthetic limbs and more responsive robots will literally become airborne when her experiment rockets off to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral i

Synthetic Space Robot Muscle Ready for Testing on ISS

April 13, 2015 4:25 pm | by Jeanne Jackson DeVoe, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory | News | Comments

Lenore Rasmussen’s dream of developing a synthetic muscle that could be used to make better prosthetic limbs and more responsive robots will literally become airborne when her experiment rockets off to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Nurses practice taking blood pressure and collecting medical history with a traditional human patient simulator system. Its face is completely inexpressive, and its lips do not move when it "talks." Speech is either pre-recorded, or voiced by the clinical

Human Patient Simulators: How Robots can Help Build Better Doctors

April 9, 2015 9:53 am | by NSF | News | Comments

A young doctor leans over a patient who has been in a serious car accident and invariably must be experiencing pain. The doctor's trauma team examines the patient's pelvis and rolls her onto her side to check her spine. They scan the patient's abdomen with a rapid ultrasound machine, finding fluid. They insert a tube in her nose. Throughout the procedure, the patient's face remains rigid, showing no signs of pain.

One of the new drones of the UZH research group Courtesy of UZH

New Technology Making Drones Safer and Smarter

April 8, 2015 3:27 pm | by University of Zurich | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Zurich have unveiled new technology enabling drones to recover stable flight from any position and land autonomously in failure situations. It will even be possible to launch drones by simply tossing them into the air like a baseball or recover stable flight after a system failure. Drones will be safer and smarter, with the ability to identify safe landing sites and land automatically when necessary.

The UCLA Biomechatronics Lab develops a language of touch that can be "felt" by computers and humans alike. Courtesy of the National Science Foundation

Artificial Haptic Intelligence: Giving Robots the Human Touch

April 7, 2015 4:56 pm | by Miles O'Brien, NSF | News | Comments

Researchers are designing artificial limbs to be more sensational, with the emphasis on sensation. They have developed a language of touch that can be "felt" by computers and humans alike. The engineers and students are constructing a language quantified with mechanical touch sensors that interact with objects of various shapes, sizes and textures.

Matt Pugh (left) and Phil Hughes on board a Friends of Cardigan Bay dingy

Computer Vision, Machine Learning give New Perspective on Seabed Videos

March 30, 2015 2:02 pm | by Aberystwyth University | News | Comments

Scientists have been working with marine conservation group to develop better techniques for studying the seabed, which is vital for marine conservation and fisheries management. Cardigan Bay is renowned for its populations of dolphins and porpoises. Until recently the work of mapping and recording the seabed had been done using the traditional “researcher and clipboard” technique, which is costly and time consuming.

Testing the reins in a smoke filled area Courtesy of Sheffield Hallam University

Robot Guide Dogs could be Firefighters’ Eyes

March 26, 2015 10:59 am | by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) | News | Comments

Firefighters moving through smoke-filled buildings could save vital seconds and find it easier to identify objects and obstacles, thanks to revolutionary reins that enable robots to act like guide dogs. The small mobile robot — equipped with tactile sensors — would lead the way, with the firefighter following a meter or so behind holding a rein. The robot would help the firefighter move swiftly in ‘blind’ conditions.

The winning teams from those tournaments join the global competition at FIRST Championship, bringing skills, enthusiasm, infectious good will and, of course, hundreds of amazing robots of all sizes to engage in friendly competition.

FIRST Championship: The Ultimate Sport for the Mind

March 20, 2015 2:43 pm | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Blogs | Comments

FIRST Championship is an annual three-and-a-half-day robotics competition that is the culmination of several FIRST programs. The high-tech spectator event brings together three separate robotics competitions. The winning teams from those tournaments join the global competition at FIRST Championship, bringing skills, enthusiasm, infectious good will and, of course, hundreds of amazing robots.

Giant beetles present a potential alternative to remote-controlled drones

Remote-controlled Cyborg Beetle Flies, Turns and Hovers

March 19, 2015 2:40 pm | by Nanyang Technological University | News | Comments

Breaking new grounds in the future of remote-controlled drone technology, researchers have developed a living machine whose flight can be wirelessly controlled with minimal human intervention. Mounted on top of a giant flower beetle, a tiny, electronic backpack with a built-in wireless receiver and transmitter converts radio signals received remotely into a variety of actions in the beetle.

To qualify for the DRC Finals, the new teams had to submit videos showing successful completion of five sample tasks.

$3.5 Million in Prizes at Stake in DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals

March 11, 2015 11:40 am | by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | News | Comments

The international robotics community has turned out in force for the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, a competition of robots and their human supervisors to be held June 5 to 6 outside of Los Angeles. In the competition, human-robot teams will be tested on capabilities that could enable them to provide assistance in future natural and man-made disasters.

Paul Denny-Gouldson is VP of Strategic Solutions at IDBS.

AI and Robot Scientists: The Lab of the Future?

March 10, 2015 8:44 am | by Paul Denny-Gouldson, IDBS | Blogs | Comments

Pharmaceutical companies are under intense pressure. With patents expiring and cost pressures growing, the speed and productivity of drug discovery and manufacturing are under the microscope. It is timely, then, that researchers recently shared promising findings on Eve — an artificially-intelligent robot scientist. Eve discovered a compound with anti-cancer properties. Is this a glimpse of what the lab of the future might look like?

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