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Robots Need a Sensitive Touch

January 11, 2008

Robots could mean real business when they get arms and hands that mimic the dexterity and sensitivity of humans, said Tandy Trower, general manager of Microsoft’s robotics group.

The hardware needed for that may be available in five years, but the real challenge will be in programming the robot, Trower said. Software that allows robots to figure out surface textures and identify objects will require many lines of complex… read more

Robots of the Future

December 22, 2006

DARPA’s Urban Challenge, safety issues, artificial muscles, a multifunctional home robot, and Microsoft involvement will be the five key developments in robots in 2007.

Robots offer devotion, no strings attached

April 23, 2004

Robots may be the answer to caring for the aged in Japan and other nations where the young are destined to be overwhelmed by a surging elderly population.

Robots serving not just as helpers — carrying out simple chores and reminding patients to take their medication — but also as companions, even if the machines can conduct merely a semblance of real dialogue.

Proponents of robot therapy say… read more

Robots on TV: Five glimpses of future machines

September 21, 2010


Robots used by divers exploring shipwrecks and underwater caves, speech-recognition for search and rescue robots, domestic bots, a shape-shifting robot that compensates for damaged limbs, and a bot modeled on the behavior of a child are five latest robot developments described in a special video section.

Robots on TV: Rescue bot knows, um, what you mean

September 27, 2010

Matthias Scheutz, a computer scientist from Indiana University in Bloomington, and colleagues have developed a robot that can cope with ungrammatical speech patterns. Their design filters out disfluencies and helps the robot translate natural speech into clear instructions. The robot has been tested in a mock search and rescue scenario.

Robots putting their heads together

June 14, 2005

The key to getting robots to perform complex tasks may not be in making them smarter. Instead, it may be in getting a lot of dumb robots to act together.

That’s the idea behind a project being led by the University of Pennsylvania, funded by a $5 million grant from the Department of Defense. The purpose of the Scalable Swarms of Autonomous Robots and Sensors project is to create… read more

Robots Scour WTC Wreckage

September 19, 2001

Dozens of experimental search-and-rescue robots are scouring the wreckage of the World Trade Center’s collapsed twin towers. A team of four robot researchers from the University of South Florida are assisting the salvage operation with about seven robots, including various marsupial designs, which combine a large “mother” robot with a smaller “daughter” machine that is small enough to maneuver deep into crevices in the rubble. Some of the daughter machines… read more

Robots Square Off for Firefighting Title

May 31, 2001

An annual robot firefighting competition has led to big improvements in speed and smarts in fighting house fires at the recently held annual Trinity College event in Hartford, Connecticut.

It took robots about five minutes to find a fire in the first year of the contest. In this year’s event, some of the robots did the job within 10 seconds under far more complicated conditions.

Robots Take on Social Tasks

September 28, 2007

Robotics experts say gadgets introduced Thursday could usher more socially oriented robots into the U.S. market.

A new device by iRobot Corp. has a webcam, designed to enable parents on a business trip could remotely check up on children. The Spykee, a WiFi spy robot, could potentially help catch a home intruder if placed near a door or window. If the robot’s motion sensor is triggered, it can activate… read more

Robots Take To The Stairs — This Is Just The Beginning

May 7, 2009

One of a long series of major challenges that robots can now perform quite easily, robots can climb stairs using feet, tracks, wheels, shifting appendages, and more.

Robots Tested in Mock Search for Urban Disaster Victims

August 20, 2001

Search-and-rescue teams of robots competed in a recent standardized obstacle course in an earthquake simulation. The event was part of the annual Robocup competition, held in conjunction with the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Designed by robotics experts around the world, the competitors are early iterations of search-and-rescue robots that can enter buildings after earthquakes, fires or bombings.

Robots That Act Like Rats

February 23, 2005

Researchers have recorded the behavior of rat pups and built rat-like robots with the same basic senses and motor skills to see how behavior can emerge from a simple set of rules.

University Of California – Davis news release

Robots that learn from the environment

June 3, 2010

Ian Fasel, an assistant research professor of computer science at the University of Arizona, has received two grants to train robots to learn concepts from trial and error in the world, instead of requiring a human to program them, and to seek out new information as efficiently as possible.

More info: University of Arizona news

Robots that monitor emotions of ASD children

February 18, 2009

Vanderbilt University researchers are experimenting with using robots to take over some of the behavioral therapy that is one of the most time-consuming and expensive aspects of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) treatment.

Their method uses physiological measurements, including heart rate, changes in the electrical properties of the skin (galvanic skin response), temperature and muscle response, to monitor the emotional state of individuals.

The researchers report that the physiological… read more

Robots that rock

November 11, 2003

Four robots from fiction and the real world are being inducted into Carnegie Mellon University’s Robot Hall of Fame as the inaugural honorees: Mars Sojourner, GM’s Unimate, R2-D2, and HAL 9000.

The next batch of honorees will be announced in October 2004. But in the meantime, you can send in your suggestions.

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