science + technology news

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.

Robots That Sense Before They Touch

September 17, 2007

Intel researchers are using electric-field sensors to build pre-touch technology into robots to help them size up objects and people they encounter.

Robots That Slink and Squirm

March 28, 2007

A wave of interest in biomimetic robotics is leading to robots modeled on caterpillars, salamanders, snakes, and other simple creatures.

Robots modeled on caterpillars, for example, could be used as mine detectors, in hard-to-reach spots in nuclear reactors and spacecraft, and in internal medicine as crawling probes and sensors.

Robots That Suck

January 17, 2003

Have they finally come out with a robot for the rest of us? iRobot’s Roomba, a robot designed for vacuuming, rises above the level of mere gadget.

Robots to get their own operating system

August 10, 2009

The Robot Operating System or ROS, an open-source set of programs meant to serve as a common platform for a wide range of robotics research, is being developed and used by teams at Stanford University, MIT, and the Technical University of Munich, among others.

Robots to help out blind shoppers

May 4, 2005

Computer scientists have developed a robot that could help blind people to shop or find their way around large buildings.

It uses radio frequency identification tags to locate items and a laser range finder to avoid collisions.

Robots to reduce cost of building aircraft

September 20, 2011

Plastic Gripper

Fraunhofer researchers have come up with a concept for a flexible assembly-line concept using robots to build future aircraft more flexibly and economically.

The aircraft will be machined and assembled by small industrial robots, as in the automotive sector. The key element of the assembly line is a versatile component gripper made of lightweight CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) that can deal flexibly with various… read more

Robots to rescue soldiers

March 1, 2010

The Pentagon is asking inventors to come up with designs for a robot with strong, dexterous arms and grippers to rescue injured troops, with little or no help from outside, and that can cooperate with swarms of similar machines for mass rescues.

Robots use Kinect to understand our world

July 22, 2011

Researchers at Cornell University are teaching robots to understand the context of their surroundings so that they can pick out individual objects in a room.

Microsoft’s Kinect sensor perceives real-world 3-D scenes by combining two visible-light cameras with depth information from an infrared sensor. The researchers’ algorithm learns to recognize particular objects by studying images labelled with descriptive tags such as “wall,” “floor,” and “tabletop.”

To find out… read more

Robots with insect brains

February 14, 2014

robot_insect_brain

German researchers have developed a robot that mimics the simple nervous system used for olfactory learning in the honeybee, using color instead of odors.

The researchers have installed a camera on a small robotic vehicle connected to a computer. The computer program replicates, in a simplified way, the sensorimotor neural network of the insect brain and operates the motors of the robot wheels to control its motion and direction… read more

Robots With Knives: A Study of Soft-Tissue Injury in Robotics

May 7, 2010

To find out what would happen if a robot handling a sharp tool accidentally struck a person and design and test a collision-detection system to prevent or minimize injury, Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics researchers performed a series of stabbing, puncturing, and cutting experiments.

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