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Back in the 1890's, people laughed at those ugly, stinky, awkward steam powered cars. "That thing can't even drive across town without breaking down," a man laughed. "Ol' Bessie is a lot more reliable," he said, petting his horse.
Ugh, this is a BRILLIANT IDEA! 3D printers are currently a bit too big for that prospect (even for the SUV-sized Curiosity) but as the technology becomes...not smaller but slimmer (you can't really change the size of the printers themselves because that determines the size-limit of the finished product) I can see this being a very viable solution for robots on other planets. Just occasionally launch a parachute full of new supplies at the surface, and let the rover retrieve and install them itself. 3/21/13 1:15pm <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
If you’re terrified of the possibility that humanity will be dismembered by an insectoid master race, equipped with robotic exoskeletons (or would that be exo-exoskeletons?), look away now. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have strapped a moth into a robotic exoskeleton, with the moth successfully controlling the robot to reach a specific location inside a wind tunnel.
No need to wait up. The speedier Alpha Dog now trots over flat terrain at 7 mph. For the last decade now Boston Dynamics has continuously provided some of the best two- and four-legged walking robots on the planet, and they’re continuing this trend with their latest version of Alpha Dog. Most articles about Alpha Dog go kind of like, “Impressive, but man, really loud.” Well Boston Dynamics has just released a video of the new and improved – and much quieter – prototype.
Back when DARPA first announced its Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program in 2010, the average cost of a military-grade robot hand was around US$50,000. That's expensive even by the US military's standards – especially for something that is bound to be in close contact with explosives – which is why the hardware team of the ARM program tasked participants with developing a reliable low-cost hand. Now, thanks to work by iRobot (yes, the company that makes the Roomba robotic vacuum) and researchers at Harvard and Yale, the ARM program has a surprisingly effective new hand to play with that costs just $3,000 (in batches of 1,000 or more). View all
Wow. I mean, seriously, wow. We've been incredibly excited to see the progress that Boston Dynamics has been making on ATLAS in preparation for the DARPA Robotics Challenge , but we had no idea what to expect from the challenge's Track A teams, each of whom will be designing and building their own robot with capabilities comparable to what we've seen ATLAS do. Today, October 24, is opening day for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, or DRC. The press release sums it up nicely: " over the next two years, teams will compete to develop and put to the test hardware and software designed to enable robots to assist humans in emergency response when a disaster strikes."
In the graphic novel The Watchmen , the physicist Jon Osterman is vaporized in an experiment and comes back as the god-like Doctor Manhattan after meticulously putting himself together again one organ system at a time. In a way, Japanese researchers are doing their own version of this through efforts to create human-like robots, though it’s requiring a much longer time frame to make a person out of metal and plastics. In a recent effort to mimic the human musculoskeletal system, researchers at the University of Tokyo unveiled Kenshiro , a 50-kg robot that has the bones and muscles akin to a 12-year-old boy. The bones are made from aluminum, and the bot has individual ribs as well as floating knee cap (patella). Kenshiro was designed with many of the major muscle groups of the body, 160 in total with most of them being in the torso and legs.
A researcher watches RoboJelly, an unmanned underwater vehicle that swims like a jellyfish and uses hydrogen from water as fuel. These are the kinds of jellyfish you don’t need to be afraid of. They look and swim like jellyfish, but they’re actually water-dwelling fuel cells attached to an artificial muscle, and they might just be the answer to a powerful and cheap way to monitor the world’s oceans.