Tag: robot

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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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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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

The Kiwi Bots Trundles Along Campus Streets And Deliver Food To Students

A Kiwibot delivers food around the UC Berkeley campus via Kiwi, a new on-demand delivery service.

UC Berkeley has a new on-demand delivery service. Unlike any of its predecessors however, this one relies on robots.

Kiwi uses a fleet of 20 terrier-sized wheeled robots to pick up and deliver food and personal-care items within a roughly one square mile area centered around campus.

The vehicles operate between Shattuck and Piedmont avenues and between Hearst Avenue and Dwight Way.




If you want to start a robot company, use a campus,” said founder and CEO Felipe Chávez, “and if you want to use a campus, use UC Berkeley.

The city and the campus were a natural fit for Kiwi.

At the most basic level, the infrastructure paved streets, well-maintained sidewalks, functioning traffic signals, crosswalks and a generally law-abiding citizenry allows for robots to operate smoothly.

In addition, UC Berkeley has a high concentration of residents pressed both for time and space to prepare meals at home.

Finally, there’s Berkeley’s abundance of local dining options and a generally favorable attitude towards innovation.

Though Chávez started Kiwi in his native city of Bogotá, Colombia in 2015, using people as couriers, he switched to robots when he brought Kiwi north to Cal in January of 2017 as part of UC Berkeley’s LAUNCH program, an incubator for promising startups.

The bot roamed free-range on the plaza as Chávez sat on a bench for our interview.

He looked ahead, unconcerned as the robot made several turns around the fountain, then headed off under an alley of trees, almost out to Sather Gate before turning back and circling the plaza again.

The Kiwibot’s motions appear self-directed but it uses the same technology as Roomba, the robot vacuum cleaner.

It recognizes boundaries and avoids obstacles by using lidar sensors and has a smartphone mounted to its hood.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

This Is An Underwater Robotic Excavation System For Flooded Open-Cut Mines

The ¡VAMOS! Project (Viable Alternative Mine Operating System) is developing a novel underwater excavation system to test the technological and economic viability of the mining of inland mineral deposits in flooded open-cut mines, currently uneconomic using conventional methods.

A floating launch and recovery vessel has been built, and in July 2017, work will be completed on a remotely-operated underwater roadheader and robotic assistance vehicle.




After completion, the first of two European trials will commence.

During these trials, the road-transportable system will be tested on a range of rock-types and its technological and economic viability and socio-environmental impact will be analysed.

By demonstration of a safe, silent, clean and low-visibility system, the project hopes to encourage investment in abandoned and prospective EU mines by providing an alternative and more cost-effective excavation technique, ultimately aiming to reduce the EU’s reliance on strategically important raw materials imports.

Following a design freeze in October 2016, work is set to be completed on all system components and software by July 2017, shortly before the first European field trial in 2017 in England.

Post-trial microeconomic, environmental andstrategic foresight analyses will guide the future development of the technology vision.

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Pass it on: New Scientist