Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Japan's Murata Girl Bot Unicycles On A Curved Balance Beam (Video)

From Popular Science:

Following in the footsteps of many robots we’ve seen who perform awesome but random feats, Japanese electronics company Murata has revealed an update of their Little Seiko humanoid robot for 2010. Murata Girl, as she is known, is 50 centimeters tall, weighs six kilograms and can unicycle backwards and forwards. Whereas in her previous iteration, she could only ride across a straight balance beam, she is now capable of navigating an S-curve as thin as 2.5 centimeters (only one centimeter wider than the tire of her unicycle)

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Video: Robots Now Guarding Nevada Nuke Site

From The Danger Room:

Citizens of Nevada, you can now relax. The Nevada National Security Site, home to tens of millions of cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste — and location of over a thousand Cold War nuclear weapons tests — is now being guarded by robots. The first of a planned trio of Mobile Detection Assessment Response Systems, or MDARS, is currently patrolling some of the more remote sections of the 1,360 square mile facility.

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My Comment: The Terminator movies do not seem like science fiction anymore.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Robotic Otter: Underwater Robot That Swims With Flippers And Can Be Controlled With A Tablet Computer

The AQUA robot uses flippers to move and now will no longer need to be tethered

From The Daily Mail:

Scientists have developed a remote-controlled robot that can receive and carry out commands while underwater.

AQUA is small and nimble, with flippers rather than propellers, and is designed for intricate data collection from shipwrecks and reefs.

The robot, designed by a team of universities from Canada, can be controlled wirelessly using a waterproof tablet computer.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

We, Robot: What Real-Life Machines Can And Can’t Do

Photo: A lot of us teach ourselves how to reason, how to think, how to analyze new information....This has been very difficult for robots to be able to do.

From Science News:

As director of the Maryland Robotics Center, Satyandra Gupta oversees 25 faculty members working on all things robotic: snake-inspired robots, robotic swarms, minirobots for medicine and robots for exploring extreme environments on land, under the sea and in outer space. In September the Center hosted its first Robotics Day; afterward, Gupta talked robots with Science News writer Rachel Ehrenberg.

How do robots influence our lives today?

There are certain scenarios, such as manufacturing — making cars, making airplanes — where people are replacing human labor with robotic devices and the rationale is usually that it is less expensive, quality is consistent, that kind of thing. Then there are certain applications where very few humans can do the task because the skills required are so high…. Surgery would be an example. Let’s imagine that there’s a very hard-to-perform surgery that very few humans can do. Now if a robot can be trained or even teleoperated by these surgeons, then you would be able to get that performance from that robot.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Darpa Is Looking At Young Minds For New Ideas

FIRST Robotics Competition Taking a cue from the FIRST Robotics Competition, DARPA is offering prize-based challenges to inspire high school students to design new robots. FIRST

Seeking New Defense Robots, Darpa Gives Fabrication Technology To High Schoolers -- Popular Science

Taking a page from advertising strategy, DARPA is hoping to get ‘em while they’re young. The military’s mad-science wing wants various organizations to put manufacturing equipment in 1,000 high schools around the world, part of a new program called “MENTOR” — Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach. The partnership will include new prize-based challenges to inspire a new generation of defense manufacturers.

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My Comment: The young perceived the world with no boundaries .... they are the perfect instrument for new ideas and concepts.