science + technology news

Robo-talk Helps Pocket Translator

March 16, 2004

Papero (Partner-Type Personal Robot), the first all-hearing, all-seeing robot, is able to translate verbally between two languages in colloquial tongue.

Robo-Therapist Helps Ailing Limbs

March 1, 2002

InMotion2 is a robo-therapist that its inventors believe can help patients regain the use of limbs incapacitated by a stroke.
The robot emulates the physical therapist’s movements by putting the patient’s affected limb through a range of repetitive exercises designed to rehabilitate damaged nerve pathways.

The patient sits at a table with his lower arm and wrist in a brace attached to the arm of the robot. The patient… read more

Robo-worm to wriggle through rubble to quake survivors

July 6, 2011

Prototype Wormbot

Jordan Boyle at the University of Leeds, UK, has closely studied the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans and has developed a robot based on it, using control software that mimics its unique motion.

One day he hopes it could head for earthquake-hit cities in search of people trapped in collapsed buildings.

Based on the biology of the nematode, Boyle created a 2-meter-long, 16-centimeter-wide robot that uses sensors to control… read more

Robobug goes to war

May 5, 2008

British defence giant BAE Systems is creating a series of tiny electronic spiders, insects and snakes that could become the eyes and ears of soldiers on the battlefield.

As in minority report, the robots will be released in a swarm into the building to relay images back to the soldiers’ hand-held or wrist-mounted computers, warning them of any threats inside, or equipped with sensors to detect chemical, biological or… read more

RoboCup competition opens in Seattle

August 2, 2001

Robotics teams from universities in 23 countries will compete at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle from Aug. 2 to 10. It runs concurrent with the American Association for Artificial Intelligence’s annual conference.
The ultimate goal for the competition: “By the year 2050, develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can beat the human World Cup soccer champions.”

RoboEarth teaches robots to learn from peers, pour European fruit beverages

February 7, 2011


European scientists and engineers have developed RoboEarth, the “World Wide Web for robots,” to allow robots to learn from the experience of their peers, thus enabling them to take on tasks that they weren’t necessarily programmed to perform.

Using a database with intranet and Internet functionality, the system collects and stores information about object recognition, navigation, and tasks and transmits the data to robots linked to the network.

Robofish and microchips

August 25, 2009

MIT engineers have developed robofish that could inspect pipelines, lakes, rivers and boats.

RoboFly’s flight test

November 7, 2001

The first limited flight of the smallest-ever flapping-wing machine has been achieved by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Berkeley’s RoboFly has a wingspan of just three centimeters and weighs 300 milligrams. It is modeled on a fruit fly, which flaps and rotates its wings hundreds of times per second.

The inaugural flight was just 30 centimeters and used one wing, while the robot was tethered to… read more

Robolympics contestants shoot for gold

March 19, 2004

The world’s first Robolympics kicks off in San Francisco this weekend. The 414 robots will compete for prizes in various categories, such as the Humanoid Robot World Cup Soccer Tournament and Ribbon Climber, in which robots race up a carbon-fiber ribbon, designed to inspire “space elevator” technology that might one day lift satellites into orbit.


January 10, 2006

The new robot designs for space exploration are part of a broader shift toward a vision of robots that are partners, not simply remote-controlled probes.

At the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, robots are developing the skills they’ll need to be useful to people. The Mertz robot recognizes faces and distinguishes one person from another. Obrero, a mechanical arm, has a touch so sensitive it can… read more


July 13, 2006

Microsoft has announced that it will give $1 million to a team of researchers from Bryn Mawr College and the Georgia Institute of Technology to develop “personal robots” for use in introductory computer science classes as part of the creation of the Institute for Personal Robots in Education at the two colleges.

Robot wars

April 19, 2007

The US Department of Defense wants to replace a third of its armed vehicles and weaponry with robots by 2015.

‘Robot agents’ to help settle disputes

January 8, 2006

The e-Dispute system provides fast online arbitration, mediation and conciliation services to help organizations quickly resolve disputes.

e-Dispute’s online collaboration tools include video, audio, live-chat, e-forum, text and transcript capabilities with full case management, fact assessment, analysis, and weighted issue/interesting variables.

Robot Air Attack Squadron Bound for Iraq

July 16, 2007

The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It’s outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.

The Reaper is loaded, but there’s no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000… read more

Robot aircraft will ride thermals to save fuel

August 22, 2008

A UK team has developed software that allows an uncrewed aerial vehicle to harness upward-moving thermal air currents to keep it aloft longer.

The GPS-based system combines the locations of dome-shaped clouds formed by rapidly rising hot air with real-time weather forecasts, computer simulations of air flow across the local terrain, and expert advice to predict the locations of further thermal currents.

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