science + technology news

Robot learns to use tools by ‘watching’ YouTube videos

January 2, 2015

"Hmmm, I can do that." Robot watches videos to detect objects and how to grasp them (credit: Yezhou Yang et al.)

Imagine a self-learning robot that can enrich its knowledge about fine-grained manipulation actions (such as preparing food) simply by “watching” demo videos. That’s the idea behind a new robot-training system based on recent developments of “deep neural networks” in computer vision, developed by researchers at the University of Maryland and NICTA in Australia.

The objective of the system is to improve performance, improving on previous automated robot-training systems such… read more

Robot links doctors and patients remotely

August 6, 2003

A high-tech robot being tested at The Johns Hopkins Hospital could be used to remotely link patients with their physicians.

Looking at a computer terminal, the doctor directing the robot sees what the robot sees and hears what the robot hears. At the other end, patients can see and talk to the doctor’s face displayed on a flat screen that sits on the robot’s “shoulders.” The devices are connected… read more

‘Robot locust’ can jump 11 feet high

Can traverse rocky terrain and assist in search and rescue and reconnaisance missions
December 18, 2015

Real vs. robot (credit: Tel Aviv University)

A locust-inspired miniature robot that can jump 3.35 meters (11 ft.), covering a distance of 1.37 meters (4.5 ft.) horizontally in one leap is designed to handle search-and-rescue and reconnaissance missions in rough terrain.

The new locust-inspired robot, dubbed “TAUB” (for “Tel Aviv University and Ort Braude College”), is 12.7 cm (5 in.) long and weighs weighs 23 grams (less than one ounce). It was developed by Tel Aviv… read more

Robot love: South Korea to build robot theme parks

November 14, 2007

South Korea officials today said they hope to build two robot theme parks for $1.6 billion by 2013, saying they consider robotics to be one of South Korea’s key growth industries, emphasizing “service robots” that can clean homes and offer up entertainment.

Robot marathon kicks off in Japan

February 25, 2011


The world’s first full-length marathon for two-legged robots kicked off in Japan on Thursday, with the toy-sized humanoids due to run 42.195 kilometers (26 miles) over four days.

Robot mimics vertebrate motion

May help develop future therapies and neuroprosthetic devices for paraplegic patients and amputees
July 7, 2016

Pleurobot (credit: EPFL)

École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) scientists have invented a new robot called “Pleurobot” that mimics the way salamanders walk and swim with unprecedented detail.

Aside from being cool (and a likely future Disney attraction), the researchers believe designing the robot will provide a new tool for understanding the evolution of vertebrate locomotion. That could lead to better understanding of how the spinal cord controls the body’s locomotion, which… read more

Robot ‘Mission Impossible’ wins video prize

August 16, 2011

In a striking display of military-like precision, the “Swarmanoid” robotic team attacks the problem of finding and retrieving a book with flying “eye-bots” and rolling “foot-bots; a “hand-bot” then fires a grappling hook-like device up to the ceiling and scales the bookshelf.

Footage of the experiment, conducted by Marco Dorigo at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium and colleagues, won the video competition at the… read more

Robot moved by a slime mould’s fears

February 13, 2006

Kobe University researchers have developed a slime mold-controlled bot in an effort to find simpler ways to control a robot’s behavior in a complex or paradoxical environment.

They grew slime in a six-pointed star shape on top of a circuit and connected it remotely, via a computer, to the hexapod bot. Light sensors on top of the robot controlled light shone onto one of the six points of the… read more

Robot octopus shakes your hand

September 9, 2011


Researchers at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy are creating a robot that mimics the abilities of a real octopus, with a robotic tentacle can hold your hand or even grab a bottle, reports New Scientist TV blog.

Robot on the run

June 21, 2002

Scientists running an experiment with “living robots” that think for themselves said they were amazed to find one had escaped from a building and traveled out the parking lot.

“But there’s no need to worry, as although they can escape they are perfectly harmless and won’t be taking over just yet” mused Professor Noel Sharkey of the Magna science centre in Rotherham, South Yorkshire in Australia.

Robot Planes Tested for Friendly Skies

April 18, 2003

“NASA is developing a collision-avoidance system that would allow fully autonomous, and not just remotely piloted, aircraft to operate in civil airspace.”

The aircraft uses a radar system and can detect the transponders found in larger aircraft. “Eventually, engineers envision a system that combines radar, transponders, cameras and other instruments so drones can operate as safely as any other plane.”

Robot Plays Follows the Leader

March 17, 2009

Image-recognition software and an infrared camera developed at Brown University let a robot follow people in different environments.

Robot pool player

June 18, 2010

Willow Garage has programmed its PR2 robot to play pool.

Technical challenges included engineering a special grip and bridge so the PR2 could hold the cue, a ball detector, table localization, visualizations, input tools, and shot selector.

More info: The PR2 Plays Pool, Willow Garage Blog

Robot race suffers quick, ignoble end

March 15, 2004

A robot race across the Mojave Desert turned into a parade of frustration Saturday, as 15 driverless vehicles spun their wheels, flipped over and encountered rocks and ruts that befuddled sensors and baffled programming.

Robot reproduces human mouth movements for speech

September 25, 2007

Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science and the Musashino Red Cross Hospital are developing a robot capable of reproducing oral movements necessary to produce human speech, for use in speech therapy and teaching foreign languages.

The prototype robot, an artificial mouth with a tongue made of silicone and a lower jaw driven by artificial muscles, can mimic tongue and lower jaw movements for reproducing Japanese vowel sounds. The… read more

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