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Asterisk: A spider-like bot

Meet a robot that resembles a spider. Yes, a spider. It can rappel on a web and do cartwheels. The robot is being developed by a team of researchers from Osaka University.

From Tecca:

The Asterisk robot is a six-year-old work in progress from a team of researchers at Osaka University in Japan. It had been previously able to walk over uneven terrain, but recent advances in its design allow it to hang from and descend from a web on a wire, much like a real spider. It can also perform something akin to a cartwheel and, from the look of the video above, it's also learning how to capture and feast on tiny stuffed animals.


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Dec 16, 2011

Autom: A robot who's a personal weight loss coach

Meet a robot who can keep you on your diet and exercise plan

From the website:

Autom™ is a personal weight loss coach who learns about and adapts to you over time. No two conversations are alike and the more she learns about you, the more she customizes her feedback advice to keep you motivated on your diet. These features and the relationship she builds with you make her more effective than any other weight loss program you've tried. Not only will she help you lose weight, she'll make sure you keep it off.


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Dec 16, 2011

PETMAN: He sweats

Meet a robot that can walk, squat, kneel, and even do push-ups.

From IEEE Spectrum:

PETMAN is an adult-sized humanoid robot developed by Boston Dynamics, the robotics firm best known for the BigDog quadruped. Today, the company is unveiling footage of the robot's latest capabilities. It's stunning. The humanoid, which will certainly be compared to the Terminator Series 800 model, can perform various movements and maintain its balance much like a real person.

The robot can also simulate respiration and sweating, among other things.


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Nov 2, 2011

Gecko-like bot: It can climb walls

Meet a bot that can climb up trees and walls.

From MSNBC:

Researchers have built a tank-like robot that can climb smooth walls with the ease of a gecko scurrying about in the middle of the night. In fact, the robot was inspired by a scientific explanation for what makes gecko feet so sticky.

The robot could find use in applications ranging from inspections of pipes, buildings, and nuclear power plants to search and rescue missions.

Its tank-like feet are inspired from the millions of tiny, hair-like toe pads on gecko feet that allow the lizards to scurry up trees, walls, and across ceilings without falling down.


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Nov 2, 2011

Two-arm robot: Helps you put your shirt on

If you have trouble putting on your shirt, meet this robot.

From IEEE Spectrum:

A cross-laboratory team led by Tomohiro Shibata and Takamitsu Matsubara developed a two-arm robot to slide a shirt over and onto a person's head and torso. Since a person's neck or arms may not be in the exact same position each time, a scripted movement could potentially cause distress.

Enter the team's reinforcement learning approach. Just like a child learning through experience, the robot is taught once how to clothe a human user, and then is given several attempts to put the shirt on by itself. The success is measured with motion capture system at the end of each trial, which lasts about 10 seconds.

In the video, you can see how the robot has learned how to place a shirt after three learning trials.


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Nov 2, 2011

Robot Roundup: Smart and reproductive bots

The GLObal Robotic-telescopes Intelligent Array -- or GLORIA -- opens next year. You'll be able to operate 17 telescopes on four continents on your computer.

From GLORIA's website:

GLORIA will be the first free and open- access network of robotic  telescopes of the world. It will be a Web 2.0 environment where users can do research in astronomy by observing with robotic telescopes, and/or analyzing data that other users have acquired with GLORIA, or from other free access databases, like the European Virtual Observatory

Robots are reproducing. University of Pennsylvania built a bot that sprays foam onto other robot parts, so they can form one big robot.

And a robot can solve the Rubik's cube faster than any human. The human record is 5.66 seconds. The CubeStormer II can solve it in 5.35 seconds. Watch the video in the left sidebar.


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Oct 20, 2011

Robot Roundup: Advances

Four stories on robot advances. Robot telemarketers may be allowed to call your cell phone. You can read the text of the bill here.

Meanwhile, in Japan, Panasonic is unveiling new helper robots. The robots are meant to help take care of Japan's elderly. From Gizmag:

The three robotic devices set to make their debut at the upcoming 38th International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition (H.C.R.2011) in Tokyo include a communication assistance robot and new models of the company's Hair-Washing Robot and RoboticBed. 

The picture below is that of Panasonic's "HOSPI" automatic medication delivery robot.

And we've got robots that resemble gigantic militarized dogs (check out the video in the left sidebar), and robots and rats are MERGING.


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Oct 3, 2011

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About this collection

Robots can do some crazy things. Follow our coverage of the scary/cool/strange things these electric creatures are doing today, and what these bots might be doing in the future.