Tag: robot

This Robot Recreates The Walk Of A 290-Million-Year-Old Creature

How did the earliest land animals move? Scientists have used a nearly 300-million-year old fossil skeleton and preserved ancient footprints to create a moving robot model of prehistoric life.

Evolutionary biologist John Nyakatura at Humboldt University in Berlin has spent years studying a 290-million-year-old fossil dug up in central Germany’s Bromacker quarry in 2000.

The four-legged plant-eater lived before the dinosaurs and fascinates scientists “because of its position on the tree of life,” said Nyakatura.

Researchers believe the creature is a “stem amniote“—an early land-dwelling animal that later evolved into modern mammals, birds and reptiles.

Scientists believe the first amphibious animals emerged on land 350 million years ago and the first amniotes emerged around 310 million years ago.

The fossil, called Orabates pabsti, is a “beautifully preserved and articulated skeleton,” said Nyakatura. What’s more, scientists have previously identified fossilized footprints left by the 3-foot-long (90 cm) creature.




Nyakatura teamed up with robotics expert Kamilo Melo at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne to develop a model of how the creature moved.

The researchers built a life-size replica of the prehistoric beast—”we carefully modeled each and every bone,” said Nyakatura—and then tested the motion in various ways that would lead its gait to match the ancient tracks, ruling out combinations that were not anatomically possible.

They repeated the exercise with a slightly-scaled up robot version , which they called OroBOT. The robot is made of motors connected by 3D-printed plastic and steel parts.

The model “helps us to test real-world dynamics, to account for gravity and friction,” said Melo. The team also compared their models to living animals, including salamanders and iguanas.

Technology such as robotics, computer modeling and CT scans are transforming paleontology, “giving us ever more compelling reconstructions of the past,” said Andrew Farke, curator at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, California, who was not involved in the study.

Based on the robot model, the scientists said they think the creature had more advanced locomotion than previously thought for such an early land animal.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

This Robot Dog Can Recover From a Vicious Kick Using Artificial Intelligence

Researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland taught a four-legged robot dog a valuable life skill: how to get up again after it gets knocked down. And yes, it involved evil scientists kicking and shoving an innocent robot.

The researchers used an AI model to teach ANYmal, a doglike robot made by ANYbotics, how to right itself after being knocked onto its side or back in a variety of physical environments — as opposed to giving the robot a detailed set of instructions for only one specific environment.




But It Gets Up Again

The results were published in a paper today on Science Robotics. In simple terms, the robot tried again and again to right itself in simulation, and learned from instances when a movement didn’t end up righting it.

It then took what it learned and applied it to the real world.

It even learned how to run faster than it could before. Thanks to the neural network, ANYmal was also able to reach 1.5 metres per second or just over three mph in mere hours, according to a report.

Never Gonna Keep It Down

Are we inching closer to a future where robot guard dogs chase us down to exact revenge on us, as seen on Netflix’s Black Mirror? Sure looks like it.

So perhaps it’s time to stop kicking robot dogs — before we know it, they’ll start learning how to protect themselves.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Gecko-Inspired Robot Has Grippers That Help Could Clean Up Space Debris

robot

In space, grabbing onto things is hard. A new robot that uses grippers inspired by gecko feet could solve that problem, helping clear up the mess of debris that orbits Earth.

The toaster-sized device can grip, hold onto and move around even large, smooth surfaces in microgravity, on both flat and curved objects.




To do this, it uses a “dry adhesive” material created by Hao Jiang at Stanford University in California and his colleagues.

In an environment where an accidental nudge can send something flying and space debris can be travelling faster than the speed of sound, agility is key.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

This Mechanical Instructor Can Guide And Teach Anyone How To Dance

waltz robot

Researchers have developed a waltzing robot that can teach people how to dance. This robot can take the lead, allowing the robot to teach dance sequences.

While the system has been developed for dancing, it could also have other applications including physical rehabilitation and sports training.

The system adjusts its difficulty mode based on the user’s number of previous practices and performance history.




The bot, which stands 1.8 meters tall (5 feet 9 inches), was designed by researchers at Tohoku University in Japan.

According to the authors of the study, the bot its designed for contact with adults with heights ranging from 1.5 meters (4 feet 9 inches) to 1.9 meters (6 feet two inches) meters tall.

It has a force sensor and two laser rangefinders to track movements, which are compared against motion-capture data originally recorded from professional dancers.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

An Army Of These Robotic Turtles Might Help Rid The World Of Landmines

robot turtle

Detecting landmines is no easy task, but thankfully, a team of researchers at the Arizona State University is developing a fleet of robotic turtles to locate (and detonate) them in the desert.

These robot turtles could safely tag landmines without risking human lives.

Every year, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people are killed or maimed by landmines, according to UNICEF. Militaries around the globe currently use an array of both low and high-tech approaches to remove them from metal detectors and trained bomb-sniffing dogs.




Unlike bomb-sniffing dogs, these robotic turtles have the ability to work independently in the field. Seeing as the current prototypes are intended for use all over the globe, researchers are programming them with algorithms that allow them to react and adjust to different environment.

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Self-Healing Robot Can Adapt To Injury Within Minutes

From putting out forest fires to grabbing you a cup of coffee, robots have the potential to be hugely beneficial to humans.

The problem, however, is that they seem to fall apart when they’re injured. A new study published in Nature may have just overcome this hitch by creating a robot that learns to adapt to its injuries. What could possibly go wrong?

Researchers from Pierre and Marie Curie University and the University of Wyoming have created a robot that is able to get back on its feet—literally—after two of its legs were broken.




They also developed a robotic arm that is able to place a ball into a can, despite having several broken motors.

When injured, animals do not start learning from scratch,” senior author Jean-Baptiste Mouret said in a statement.

Instead, they have intuitions about different ways to behave. These intuitions allow them to intelligently select a few, different behaviors to try out and, after these tests, they choose one that works in spite of the injury.

For example, if you hurt your ankle, you quickly try to find a way to overcome the injury by testing out new ways to walk.

Using this principle, researchers created an algorithm called ‘Intelligent Trial and Error’ that makes a detailed map of the different behaviors the robot can perform and allows them to adapt to unexpected situations.

Once damaged, the robot becomes like a scientist. It has prior expectations about different behaviors that might work, and begins testing them.”

“However, these predictions come from the simulated, undamaged robot. It has to find out which of them work, not only in reality, but given the damage,” says lead author Antoine Cully in a statement.

For example, if walking, mostly on its hind legs, does not work well, it will next try walking mostly on its front legs. What’s surprising is how quickly it can learn a new way to walk.”

“It’s amazing to watch a robot go from crippled and flailing around to efficiently limping away in about two minutes,” he adds.

Intelligent Trial and Error undergoes two crucial steps; the first involves a new type of evolutionary algorithm called MAP-Elites to create a behavior-performance map.

MAP-Elites depends on Darwin’s concept of ‘survival of the fittest’ to create competitions in computer simulations, which evolve artificially intelligent robots. In the second step, the robots

MAP-Elites depends on Darwin’s concept of ‘survival of the fittest’ to create competitions in computer simulations, which evolve artificially intelligent robots. In the second step, the robots uses its prior knowledge provided by the first step to adapt to specific damages.

Researchers hope this new technique can lead to the development of more ‘autonomous’ robots. To see the robots in action, watch the video below.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

This Is A Bio Inspired 3D Printed Spider Octopod Robot

T8 robot

The T8 octopod robot is modeled after a real tarantula, and the way it moves is startlingly realistic an effect that’s amplified by its high-resolution 3D-printed shell, which conceals the robotics inside

Each T8 moves with the help of 26 Hitec HS-35HD servo motors. Three in each leg and two to move the body and is pre-programmed using Robugtix’s Bigfoot Inverse Kinematics Engine, which handles the calculations for factors like trajectory planning and gait and motor control.




All the operator has to do is press buttons on the controller, which communicates with the robot via an XBee radio module.

It’s an impressively spooky little critter, though. Check it out in the video below.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

This Is The Newest And Fastest Way To Press Vinyl

The first new record-pressing machines built in over 30 years are finally online.

The brainchild of some Canadian R&D guys with a background designing fancy MRI machines. The Warm Tone record press is everything that its vintage counterpart is not: safe, fast, fully automated, reliable, run by cloud-based software, and iOS-controlled.




Unlike the old stamping behemoths, a single worker can operate several Warm Tone units at once.

Its unrivaled speed and efficiency leaves the standard cycle time benchmarks in the dust, too: 20 seconds versus 35 seconds, which translates to three records per minute instead of only two.


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Pass it on: Popular Science

You’ll Never Dance Alone With This Artificial Intelligence Project

Your next dance partner might not be a person.

A new project from the Georgia Institute of Technology allows people to get jiggy with a computer-controlled dancer, which “watches” the person and improvises its own moves based on prior experiences.

When the human responds, the computerized figure or “virtual character” reacts again, creating an impromptu dance couple based on artificial intelligence (AI).

The LuminAI project is housed inside a 15-foot-tall geodesic dome, designed and constructed by Georgia Tech digital media master’s student Jessica Anderson, and lined with custom-made projection panels for dome projection mapping.

The surfaces allow people to watch their own shadowy avatar as it struts with a virtual character named VAI, which learns how to dance by paying attention to which moves the current user is doing and when.




The more moves it sees, the better and deeper the computer’s dance vocabulary. It then uses this vocabulary as a basis for future improvisation.

The system uses Kinect devices to capture the person’s movement, which is then projected as a digitally enhanced silhouette on the dome’s screens.

The computer analyzes the dance moves being performed and leans on its memory to choose its next move.

The team says this improvisation is one of the most important parts of the project. The avatar recognizes patterns, but doesn’t always react the same way every time.

That means that the person must improvise too, which leads to greater creativity all around. All the while, the computer is capturing these new experiences and storing the information to use as a basis for future dance sessions.

LuminAI was unveiled for the first time this past weekend in Atlanta at the Hambidge Art Auction in partnership with the Goat Farm Arts Center.

It was featured within a dance and technology performance, in a work called Post, as a finalist for the Field Experiment ATL grant. T. Lang Dance performed set choreography with avatars and virtual characters within the dome.

Post is the fourth and final installment of Lang’s Post Up series, which focuses on the stark realities and situational complexities after an emotional reunion between long lost souls.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Ocado’s Collaborative Robot Is Getting Closer To Factory Work

Retailer Ocado is getting closer to creating an autonomous humanoid robot that can help engineers fix mechanical faults in its factories.

The firm’s latest robot, ARMAR-6, has a human-looking torso, arms with eight degrees of freedom, hands that can grip and a head with cameras inside. But it doesn’t have legs and is equipped with a large wheeled base that lets it move around.

To this end, ARMAR-6 uses a three camera systems inside its head to help it detect and recognize humans and objects; speech recognition helps it understand commands; and its hands are able to pick-up and grasp objects.




At present, the robot is still a prototype but getting to this point has taken two and a half years. Four European universities have been working to create each of the systems, under the EU’s Horizon2020 project.

The retailer has already automated large parts of its warehouse operation. Its 90,000-square-metre Dordon warehouse, near Birmingham, has 8,000 crates moving around it at any one time, across 35 kilometers of conveyor belts.

However, components can break and require maintenance. This is where future versions of the ARMAR-6 robot will come in.

Other training tasks that have been worked on include getting it to find a spray bottle, pick it up, and then handing it across to a human.

 

At the moment, this is a prescribed sequence,” Deacon says. “But the ultimate aim is for the robot to be able to recognize where in a maintenance task the technician is and understand from its behavioral repertoire what will be a good thing for it to do in order to assist the technician.”

Ocado’s humanoid project runs under the banner of Secondhands and involves engineers and computer scientists from EPFL, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Sapienza Università di Roma, and University College London.

Each university has developed individual elements of the ARMAR-6 system.

The firm first laid out the ambitious plans for the collaborative robot in 2015. Since then, it has worked on a number of robotics projects.

Most recently, it revealed its robotic arm that can pick-up items using suction. It’s planned the gripper will be used in the company’s factories to lift and place thousands of different items into the shopping of its customers.

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Pass it on: New Scientist