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Faye Wu, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, demonstrates the "supernumerary robotic fingers" device. Courtesy of Melanie Gonick/MIT

Getting a Grip on Robotic Grasp

July 23, 2014 3:16 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | News | Comments

Twisting a screwdriver, removing a bottle cap, and peeling a banana are just a few simple tasks that are tricky to pull off single-handedly. Now, a new wrist-mounted robot can provide a helping hand — or rather, fingers. Researchers at MIT have developed a robot that enhances the grasping motion of the human hand.

Astronauts to Test Free-flying “Housekeeper” Robots

July 21, 2014 2:30 pm | by Maria Alberty, NASA's Ames Research Center | News | Comments

Inspired by science fiction, three bowling ball-size free-flying Synchronized Position Hold,...

Drones: Next Big Thing in Aviation is Really Small

July 15, 2014 4:23 pm | by Danica Kirka, Associated Press | News | Comments

With some no bigger than a hummingbird, the hottest things at this week's Farnborough...

Clever Intelli-copters Learn as they Fly

July 7, 2014 3:48 pm | by University of Sheffield | News | Comments

Flying robots that can show true autonomy and even a bit of politeness in working together and...

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Cutting Robot Power Consumption up to 40 Percent

July 7, 2014 11:17 am | by University of the Basque Country | News | Comments

Robots are being increasingly used in industrial processes because of their ability to carry out repetitive tasks in a precise, reliable way. Right now, digital controllers are used to drive the motors of the joints of these robots. And it is no easy task developing and programming these controllers so that they will work efficiently.

Computing Paths to Future Asteroid Exploration

July 2, 2014 10:05 am | by NASA | News | Comments

As left over building blocks of the solar system's formation, asteroids are of significant interest to scientists. Resources, especially water, embedded within asteroids could be of use to astronauts traveling through deep space. Likewise, asteroids could continue to be destinations for robotic and human missions as NASA pioneers deeper into the solar system, to Mars and beyond.

University of Washington computer scientists have shown that crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks.

Robots Learn Faster, Better with Online Helpers

June 30, 2014 10:00 am | by Michelle Ma, University of Washington | News | Comments

University of Washington computer scientists have shown that crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks. Instead of learning from just one human, robots could one day query the larger online community, asking for instructions or input on the best way to set the table or water the garden.

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Algorithm lets independent agents collectively produce a machine-learning model without aggregating data.

Robots Collaborate Independently

June 26, 2014 11:05 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

Machine learning, in which computers learn new skills by looking for patterns in training data, is the basis of most recent advances in artificial intelligence, from voice-recognition systems to self-parking cars. It’s also the technique that autonomous robots typically use to build models of their environments. That type of model-building gets complicated, however, in cases in which clusters of robots work as teams.

Recently, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) celebrated its fifth anniversary in space. In honor of the fifth anniversary, the LRO project kicked off the Moon as Art Campaign.

View of Tycho Central Peak

June 23, 2014 10:28 am | by NASA | News | Comments

Recently, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) celebrated its fifth anniversary in space. In honor of the fifth anniversary, the LRO project kicked off the Moon as Art Campaign. The public was asked to select a favorite orbiter image of the moon for the cover of a special image collection. After two weeks of voting, the public has selected this image of Tycho Central Peak as its favorite moon image.

Such an elastic technology could make possible robots that have sensory skin and stretchable garments

Elastic Technology Makes 'Soft' Machines, Robots Possible

June 19, 2014 5:08 pm | by Purdue University | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a technique that might be used to produce "soft machines" made of elastic materials and liquid metals for potential applications in robotics, medical devices and consumer electronics. Such an elastic technology could make possible robots that have sensory skin and stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes.

The team Mountaineers robot is seen after picking up the sample during a rerun of the level one challenge at the 2014 NASA Centennial Challenges Sample Return Robot Challenge. Courtesy of NASA

Complexity of NASA Robot Competition Challenges 17 Teams

June 16, 2014 2:00 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

Seventeen teams of citizen inventors from across the globe competed in the 2014 NASA Centennial Challenges Sample Return Robot Challenge from June 11 to 13, 2014, on the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts. Prize money of nearly $1.5 million was on the line in this third running of the challenge.

When the operator thinks of an action e.g. 'I want to walk', the electrical signals associated with this action are recorded and decoded by a computer worn in a backpack, and used to control the hydrolytic drivers of the exoskeleton suit that generate mov

Paraplegic to Take First Kick of World Cup Using Brain Activity-controlled Exoskeleton

June 11, 2014 11:21 am | by Nicolelis Laboratory | News | Comments

A brain activity-controlled robotic exoskeleton suit, which demonstrates the very latest advances in neuroengineering, will make its debut at the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It is planned that the exoskeleton suit will be worn by a paraplegic patient, who will take the first kick of the World Cup during the opening ceremony in São Paulo on June 12th, before Brazil takes on Croatia in the first match of the tournament.

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HorseFly, a newly designed, autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle, was developed to work in tandem with AMP's delivery trucks, creating a safe, fast and never-before-seen method of delivering goods. Courtesy of Kelly Cohen

HorseFly Octocopter Primed to Fly the Future to Your Front Door

June 9, 2014 12:31 pm | by Tom Robinette, University of Cincinnati | News | Comments

Have you ever seen a horse fly? Maybe you have, but never like this one. This HorseFly has eight rotors, a wirelessly recharging battery and a mission to deliver merchandise right to your doorstep. The HorseFly "octocopter," a newly designed, autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), was developed to work in tandem with delivery trucks, creating a safe, fast and never-before-seen method of delivering goods.

MagnetoSperm performs a flagellated swim using weak oscillating magnetic fields. Courtesy of I.S.M. Khalil/GUC & S. Misra/U.Twente

Sperm-Inspired Robots Controlled by Magnetic Fields

June 4, 2014 8:00 pm | by American Institute of Physics (AIP) | News | Comments

A team of researchers has developed sperm-inspired microrobots, which can be controlled by oscillating weak magnetic fields. The 322 micron-long robots consist solely of a head coated in a thick cobalt-nickel layer and an uncoated tail. When the robot is subjected to an oscillating field of about the strength of a decorative refrigerator magnet, it experiences a magnetic torque on its head, which causes its flagellum to oscillate

Morpheus Prototype Uses Hazard Detection System -- Courtesy of NASA/Mike Chambers

Morpheus Prototype Uses Hazard Detection System

June 2, 2014 2:18 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA demonstrated that it can land an unmanned spacecraft on a rugged planetary surface in the pitch dark in a free-flight test of the Morpheus prototype lander and Autonomous Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology, or ALHAT. The 98-second test began with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending more than 800 feet into the dark Florida sky using only ALHAT's Hazard Detection System for guidance.

A visual odometry algorithm uses low-latency brightness change events from a Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS) and the data from a normal camera to provide absolute brightness values.

Think Fast, Robot: Making Autonomous Robots more Nimble

May 30, 2014 11:21 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

One of the reasons we don’t yet have self-driving cars and mini-helicopters delivering online purchases is that autonomous vehicles tend not to perform well under pressure. A system that can flawlessly parallel park at 5 mph may have trouble avoiding obstacles at 35 mph.

A very early version of Google’s prototype self-driving car

Just Press Go: Google's New Self-Driving Car Has No Steering Wheel or Brake

May 29, 2014 9:10 am | by Chris Urmson, Director, Google Self-Driving Car Project | Blogs | Comments

Ever since we started the Google self-driving car project, we’ve been working toward the goal of vehicles that can shoulder the entire burden of driving. Just imagine: You can take a trip downtown at lunchtime without a 20-minute buffer to find parking. Seniors can keep their freedom even if they can’t keep their car keys. And drunk and distracted driving? History.

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Simulating brain controlled flying at the Institute for Flight System Dynamics Courtesy of A. Heddergott/TU München

Brain Controlled Flight: Using Thoughts to Control Airplanes

May 28, 2014 12:27 pm | by Technische Universität München | News | Comments

Scientists have demonstrated the feasibility of flying via brain control — with astonishing accuracy. The pilot is wearing a white cap with myriad attached cables. His gaze is concentrated on the runway ahead of him. All of a sudden the control stick starts to move, as if by magic. The airplane banks and then approaches straight on towards the runway. The position of the plane is corrected time and again

A group of researchers from Harvard University have developed a millimeter-sized drone with a view to using it to explore extremely cramped and tight spaces. The microrobot they designed, which was the size of a one cent coin, could take off and land ...

Nature Inspires Drones of the Future

May 27, 2014 2:55 pm | by IOP | News | Comments

Based on the mechanisms adopted by birds, bats, insects and snakes, 14 distinguished research teams have developed solutions to some of the common problems that drones could be faced with when navigating through an urban environment and performing novel tasks for the benefit of society.

The UN reports that civilians have been killed in 33 attacks involving unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. Courtesy of Paul Fleet

Robot Warfare: What Happens When Humans Cede Combat Duty to Automated Forces?

May 27, 2014 2:47 pm | by KTH Royal Institute of Technology | News | Comments

With increasing use of drones in military operations, it is perhaps only a matter of time before robots replace soldiers. Whether fully automated war is on the immediate horizon, one researcher says it’s not too early to start examining the ethical issues that robot armies raise, suggesting it is necessary to reconsider the international laws of war, and to begin examining whether advanced robots should be held accountable for their actions

Like Lego bricks, Roombots pieces can be stacked upon each other to create various structures. Each 22-centimeter-long piece, which looks like two large dice joined together, has a wireless connection.

Robots Transform into Furniture

May 22, 2014 2:16 pm | by EPFL | News | Comments

Scientists are creating futuristic furniture that can move around and autonomously change its shape, an  innovation that may prove useful to support disabled individuals. EPFL Biorobotics Laboratory researchers have developed small robotic modules that can change their shape to create reconfigurable furniture. Like Lego bricks, Roombots pieces can be stacked upon each other to create various structures.

NASA judges have selected five challenge winners, and the global social media community selected a People’s Choice fan favorite.

NASA Announces Global Award Winners of 2014 International Space Apps Challenge

May 19, 2014 4:47 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA mission priorities were explored by five winners of the 2014 International Space Apps Challenge, a worldwide "hackathon" to spark innovation with direct application to future space missions and improve life on Earth. NASA judges have selected five challenge winners, and the global social media community selected a People’s Choice fan favorite.

The research was conducted with common objects that offer a varied range of situations in which the part of the object that the robot has to catch does not correspond to its center of gravity. The case of the bottle offers an additional challenge ...

Ultra-fast Robotic Arm Catches Objects on the Fly

May 12, 2014 5:32 am | by Sarah Perrin, EPFL | News | Comments

A robot developed by EPFL researchers is capable of reacting on the spot and grasping objects with complex shapes and trajectories in less than five hundredths of a second. With its palm open, the robot is completely motionless. A split second later, it suddenly unwinds and catches all sorts of flying objects thrown in its direction.

The module that drove a prototype Audi self-driving car, based on the new NVIDIA K1 System On a Chip (SoC), is the size of a small tablet computer, albeit thicker.

From Design to Embedded Systems, NVIDIA moves into the Auto Industry

May 9, 2014 3:08 pm | by Rob Farber | Blogs | Comments

NVIDIA's CEO Jen Hsun, along with Audi's head of pre-development Andreas Reich demonstrated a prototype Audi self-driving car based on the new NVIDIA K1 System On a Chip (SoC) during the GTC 2014 keynote in San Jose. “Tegra K1 is the brain of your future self-driven car.” Jen Hsun claims.

12,000+ Students Bring Custom Robots to Ultimate Sport-for-the-Mind Showdown

12,000+ Students Bring Custom Robots to Ultimate Sport-for-the-Mind Showdown

May 5, 2014 12:49 pm | by FIRST | News | Comments

More than 12,000 students from around the globe traveled to St. Louis, MO, to put their engineering skills to the test at the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship, held at the Edward Jones Dome a the week of the week of April 26, 2014.

In this April 21, 2014 photo, North Dakota Gov. Jask Dalrymple is joined by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, second from left, and members of the state's congressional delegation in Grand Forks to announce that North Dakota's Northern Plains Unmanned

For North Dakota, Drones a Possible Growth Market

April 28, 2014 10:42 am | by Henry C. Jackson, Associated Press | News | Comments

U.S. and North Dakota officials have big hopes for the growth of what are known as unmanned aircraft systems. And the remote northwestern state has positioned itself well to take advantage of its unique attributes: A first-of-its-kind academic program, an established military presence, a strong commitment from state and federal officials to find funding, and even the weather.

President Barack Obama kicks a ball passed to him by a robot namesd ASIMO, an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, as he attends a youth science event at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, known as the Miraikan, in Tokyo

Obama's Robot Summit: Youth Science Event at the Miraikan

April 24, 2014 1:59 pm | by Darlene Superville and Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press | News | Comments

The voice was slightly halting, childlike. "Welcome to Miraikan, Mr. President, it is a pleasure to meet you." President Barack Obama bowed, looking delighted. His greeter, after all, was a 55-inch-tall, give or take, humanoid robot with the look of a diminutive Star Wars storm trooper.

Chetro Ketl Great Kiva in Chaco Canyon, NM

Drones Unearth More Details about Chaco Culture

April 22, 2014 3:40 pm | by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press | News | Comments

Recently published research describes how archaeologists outfitted a customized drone with a heat-sensing camera to unearth what they believe are ceremonial pits and other features at the site of an ancient village in New Mexico. The discovery of the structures hidden beneath layers of sediment and sagebrush is being hailed as an important step that could help archaeologists shed light on mysteries long buried by eroding desert landscapes

Robot Sub Returns to Water after 1st Try Cut Short

April 15, 2014 3:01 pm | by Margie Mason, Associated Press | News | Comments

A robotic submarine looking for the lost Malaysian jet began its second mission on April 15, 2014, after cutting short its first because the ocean waters where it was sent were too deep, officials said. Its first planned 16-hour search lasted just six and none of the data collected by the U.S. Navy's Bluefin 21 submarine offered clues to the whereabouts of the plane.

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