This tiny chip could be the future of robot vision For robots to operate in the physical world they need a decent pair of eyes. Usually, this is job is taken care of using LIDAR — a technology that bounces light off nearby surfaces to create a 3D map of the world around it. LIDAR is just like radar in its basic mechanics, but because it uses light, not radio waves, it's much more accurate; able to pick out individual leaves on a tree when mounted on a plane, or track the movements of cyclists and pedestrians when fitted to a self-driving cars.
theverge Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works division has created a robot that can find and repair tiny holes on blimps. The Self-Propelled Instrument for Airship Damage Evaluation and Repair, known as Spider, is designed to work with Lockheed's new hybrid airship, which is essentially a giant blimp designed to move heavy cargo into areas without proper roads. Spider comes in two parts — one for the inner surface and one for the outer area — which magnetically pair and inspect the airship using light sensors. If Spider finds a hole, it can patch it and send a before and after image to the operator for verification. Prior to Spider, the only way to search for the tiny pinholes that can pop up on blimps was to manually check the surface area with a high-powered light. US Military's 'Self-steering' Bullets Can Hit A Moving Target Well, this is terrifying. As if the U.S. Department of Defense’s research into robotic pack animals wasn’t scary enough, it’s been revealed that a series of tests in February have made unnerving progress with ‘self-steering’ bullets. The team behind the project, known as EXACTO and developed by America's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has released a video showing the smart bullets in action, successfully changing their course in order to hit a moving target. It’s thought that they work by using small fins on the sides of the bullet to guide it to the target, which is tracked by lasers, although DARPA are being understandably quiet about its exact inner workings. The military often has to face unfavorable conditions—such as harsh weather, wind, and moving targets—that reduce the accuracy of soldiers, and it would normally be the preserve of specially trained snipers to hit difficult targets.
Artificial Muscles To Bring Relief To Robotic Tenseness Artificial muscles are, by generally accepted definition, a device or material that can reversibly change its shape as a response to an external stimulus. This shape change can then be used for actuation, imitating natural muscles. In that sense, a simple hydraulic cylinder does not qualify as an artificial muscle, mainly because neither part of it changes its shape in operation. By contrast, a piece of fishing line that changes its length depending on its temperature can indeed be called an artificial muscle.
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? I thought I knew the future of luggage, but then I saw this suitcase that follows you around I really did think I knew the whole future of luggage. A rideable suitcase? That seemed to be the pinnacle of innovation. But only a mere five days after discovering the Modobag, it’s being usurped in my mind by the Cowarobot R1, which its manufacturer says is the "world’s first autonomous suitcase." LOL.
Honeybee Brain Flies A Drone By digitally reconstructing the complete brain of the European honeybee, Apis mellifera, researchers with the Green Brain Project hope to one day create an autonomous flying robot that thinks, senses, and acts like the sophisticated pollinator. "Bees and all other insects are miracles of engineering which we are nowhere near equaling," University of Sheffield’s James Marshall tells BBC. "If we could even recreate a fraction of their abilities in a robot system then we would have made a tremendous advance." Intel's Project Euclid is a RealSense module for robots Among other announcements today, including a new VR reference design and a partnership with Microsoft to bring mixed reality to the mainstream, Intel said it has created a module aimed at robotics makers and developers. Called Project Euclid, the module is based on Intel's RealSense "perceptual computing" technology. It's a small, candy bar-sized stick that "brings sensors to any robot," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich during the company's keynote.
Robotics Researchers Create Mechanical Tentacles Capable Of Picking Up An Ant Without Crushing It This creepy robot tentacle could one day be fiddling with your veins. Researchers were able to use the tiny, but remarkably soft, robot ‘limb’ to pick up an ant by its waist without crushing it. This robotic limb has the potential to revolutionize microscopic surgery. The study, published in Scientific Reports, demonstrated how the robotic tentacle, which is a microtube made from a stretchy polymer, can gently curl around objects, pick them up and move them. These microtubes are seriously small, about the length of an average red ant and the width of a human hair.
Prize Entry: BunnyBot Helps Out All On Its Own [Jack Qiao] wanted an autonomous robot that could be handy around an ever-changing shop. He didn’t want a robot he’d have to baby sit. If he said, ‘bring me the 100 ohm resistors’, it would go find and bring them to him. He iterated a bit, and ended up building quite a nice robot platform for under a thousand dollars. It’s got a realsense camera and a rangefinder from a Neato robotic vacuum. The Bootup Guide to Homebrew Two-Stage Tentacle Mechanisms What’s not to love about animatronics? Just peel back any puppet’s silicone skin to uncover a cluster of mechatronic wizardry that gives it a life on the big screen. I’ve been hunting online for a good intro to these beasts, but I’ve only turned up one detailed resource–albeit a pretty good one–from the Stan Winston Tutorials series.