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All posts tagged "robotics"

  • 5 incredible robots showcased at DARPA’s Robotics Challenge

    Entrants in DARPA’s 2015 Robotics Challenge competed for a US$3.5-million cash prize, and the robots showcased didn’t fail to deliver on their promise. The robots were expected to successfully navigate a marathon-like obstacle course, complete with eight tasks specifically designed to test their mettle in natural disasters. Why natural disasters, you ask? The competition was conceived and put into motion directly following the cascading disasters that resulted from the deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown combo that devastated parts of Japan in 2011. Earlier in May of 2015, 10% of containers holding contaminated water at Fukushima’s power plant were still...

  • MIT builds ‘first ever’ cheetah-like running, jumping four-legged robot

    This week MIT researchers released a video featuring the first ever four-legged robot that can identify and jump over obstacles while running. Thanks to a new three-part algorithm, MIT’s cheetah robot can size up the height and distance of an approaching obstacle and estimate the best placement of its feet right before jumping. The robot is also able to assess how much force it has to exert to clear the obstacle and land safely. "A running jump is a truly dynamic behavior. You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically...

  • Bipedal robot ATRIAS takes its first outdoor stroll

    Developed by engineers at Oregon State University (OSU), ATRIAS is a bipedal robot that recently took its first ever outdoor stroll, marking a significant milestone in its quest to become the first robot to emulate the true nature of human locomotion. Although there are plenty of exciting bipedal robots currently in development, only ATRIAS mimics “the elastic, energy retention” characteristics of human legs. Why develop bipedal robots that walk like humans? To scare children and expedite the obsolescence of human beings, obviously. I kid. In truth, emulating human walking in robotics serves the purpose of saving energy. Already, ATRIAS expends significantly less energy when walking as compared to other...

  • ‘Need For Speed’, drone pong and CES: this week’s TGIF video roundup

    TGIF, and we really shouldn’t be at work, but that won’t stop us from gandering through the week’s best tech, gadget and gaming videos, now will it? There goes the holidays, am I right? Although most of the working citizens of this world are back to their uncomfortable office chairs staring into their screen for eight hours a day, we don't want those eight hours to be wholly unproductive. Thanks to the internet, there's always something more interesting to do in the office, like catch up on this week's best gadget, gaming and tech videos, for example. In this weeks avalanche of...

  • Don’t invite this beer pong playing robot to your NYE party [Video]

    Beer pong is the king of New Years Eve and St. Patrick's Day games, not so? If you so happen to be an evil scientist (or just a gaggle of robotics majors at university), you'd probably want to build a beer pong machine to rule them all. And that's exactly what these chaps have done. Empire Robotics, a company based in Boston, MA, has just built the Shaquille O'Neal of beer pong playing robots. It's called the Versaball and it makes the game that seems easier than it is seem even easier than it is. But how does it work? Empire...

  • Watch this six-legged robot crawl into your nightmare

    Although we’ve seen all kinds of impressive advances in robotics this year, perhaps none inspire as much fascination, and creepiness, as Hector, a six-legged walking robot that mimics the movement of stick bugs. Developed by researchers at the University of Bielefield, Germany, Hector’s ability to crawl across gravel and clamber over raised wooden blocks eerily resembles the movement of real-life spiders. Although the video clearly demonstrates an extremely slow moving robot, this is typical of most robots when they are in the early stages of development. Nevertheless, the engineering behind Hector represents new barriers broken in the world of robotics. What...

  • The PR2 robot can fetch beer, play pool and fold your laundry

    The benefits to be had from automating household tasks is the dream of, well, everyone. After a long week of work, wasting your precious few days of sweet, glorious freedom on doing laundry, vacuuming the carpet and scrubbing your toilet among other domesticated horrors is a burdensome reality most of us endure with great reluctance and plenty of groaning. Fortunately, a team of engineering experts who founded the company Willow Garage have developed an open source and open platform personal robot that can be programmed to fulfill almost any task. For a mere US$280 000, the Personal Robot 2 (PR2) can...

  • 15 techy things we’re giving thanks for this Thanksgiving [Gallery]

    It's Thanksgiving again after an exciting but long year in the tech sphere. Although down here in South Africa we love our turkey as much as any North American, we normally wait until 25 December to pop them on the "braais" and enjoy a family meal. However, we also know how to give thanks for the brilliant things and moments in life. This year has been particularly kind to the technology industry -- journalists, consumers and companies alike. There have been landmark gadget releases, like Apple's iPhone 6, Google's next iteration of the Nexus series and Nvidia's range of Tegra-based mobile devices....

  • Humanoid robots will someday fly our planes

    Pibot is the first ever humanoid robot designed to fly a plane autonomously. Researchers at South Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology responsible for developing Pibot hope their robot will offer several advantages over drones when it comes to dangerous missions that require the control of larger rescue aircraft. Although autonomous drones are good at providing surveillance and air support during warfare, lead researcher Shim Hyung-Chul explains that robots are needed to fly a variety of existing aircraft specific to any number of dangerous situations, the most notable being the Fukushima tragedy in Japan: “When Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant got damaged...

  • Ebola-combatting robots under consideration for West African deployment

    The world's current Ebola outbreak is quickly turning into the planet's worst nightmare, and a realization of some of Hollywood's scariest post-apocalyptic movies, but an equally futuristic solution might be on the cards if robotics experts get their way. According to Computerworld, scientists are developing a new breed of robot that could act as "rolling interpreters, autonomous vehicles that could deliver food and medicine" and even specialised ones tasked with cleansing equipment and burying those who succumbed. This will remove the human element from the treatment and containment of the virus, which may lead to a more effective solution. Taking into...