Researchers Create Thousand Strong Swarm Of Bots That Can Assemble Into Complex Shapes By itself, this simple little puck-shaped robot is cute, but not revolutionary: It’s a few centimeters across, stands on three pin-like legs, moves a centimeter a second, and costs about $20. Put a thousand or so of these Kilobots together, and you have the largest robotic swarm the world has ever seen. Self-assembling robotic systems exist, but they’ve been limited to dozens, maybe a few hundred robots. Now, a trio of Harvard researchers led by Michael Rubenstein has programmed 1,024 Kilobots to organize themselves into various shapes, such as stars, a wrench, and letters of the alphabet. Kilobots were designed to mimic the behavior of a swarm of bees, colony of army ants, or flock of starlings. These inexpensive robots have two little vibrating motors to help them slide across surfaces on their skinny rigid legs. The infrared transmitters are also used by the scientists to give commands to all the bots simultaneously. Here’s a video of the first thousand-bot flash mob: Photo Gallery
World's most anatomically correct musculoskeletal robot is presented in Japan Most human-like robots don't even attempt biological accuracy, because replicating every muscle in the body isn't necessary for a functional humanoid. Even biomimetic robots based on animals don't attempt to replicate every anatomical detail of the animals they imitate, because that would needlessly complicate things. That said, there is much to be learned from how muscle groups move and interact with the skeleton, which is why a team at Tokyo University's JSK Lab has developed what could be considered the world's most anatomically correct robot to date. View all Researchers there have been developing increasingly complex musculoskeletal robots for more than a decade. Their first robot, Kenta, was built in 2001, followed by Kotaro in 2005, Kojiro in 2007, and Kenzoh (an upper-body only robot) in 2010. It models the average 12 year-old Japanese boy, standing 158 cm (5 feet, 2 inches) tall and weighing 50 kg (110 pounds). Muscle and bone Source: Tokyo University JSK Lab via IEEE Spectrum
Monsanto Threatens to Sue Vermont Over GMO Labeling Law Just Label It/Screen capture Nearly 20 states are considering a labeling requirement for genetically engineered foods, something an estimated 90 percent of American people want but aren't getting from their federal government. (Quite the opposite: Rather than listen to public calls to require labeling of GMO foods, the FDA is silencing them.) And now, it turns out, state government officials may even be dragging their feet on legislation they previously supported—because Monsanto is threatening to sue. That's what is happening in Vermont, at least, according to a story in AlterNet. AlterNet has more: The popular legislative bill requiring mandatory labels on genetically engineered food (H-722) is languishing in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, with only four weeks left until the legislature adjourns for the year. Lawsuits aren't a new tactic for Monsanto, but using it in a situation like this is a new low, even for Monsanto.
HERB the robot butler takes part in Oreo cookie challenge HERB brandishes a knife in a futile attempt to separate cookie from creme Image Gallery (9 images) The dream of an intelligent robot butler that can do the household chores may still be decades away, but a team of roboticists at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute is doing their part to make it a reality. View all HERB, which speaks with a synthetic British accent and looks related to the Mars rover, started off as a Segway-powered one-armed bandit that could locate and grasp coffee mugs or open kitchen cabinets. Food giant Nabisco's marketing stunt, which tasks inventive people with too much time on their hands to build an Oreo-separating machine, seemed like a good opportunity to put HERB's sensing and manipulation capabilities to the test. The problem with these butler robots is they are quite limited in what they can actually do, and are still far too expensive to be practical for the masses. Watch HERB mug for the camera in the following video. About the Author
"B" das fliegende Modellauto Wer erinnert sich noch an die Kinderserie "Robby, Tobbi und das Fliewatüüt"? Das Fliewatüüt kann wie ein Hubschrauber fliegen, wie ein Schiff schwimmen und wie ein Auto auf Land fahren. Schwimmen kann das "B" getaufte fliegende Modellauto leider noch nicht, aber laut dem Projektleiter von "B" will man auch das Landen auf dem Wasser in einer späteren Version umsetzen. Der Komplettbausatz liegt mit Versandkosten bei knapp 400 Euro. Der "B" ist ein Quadrokopter-Modellfahrzeug-Hybrid. Die Kombination von Quadrokopter und Modellauto läuft momentan als Kampagne auf der Crowdfounding-Plattform Kickstarter. Eine kleine Übersicht über den Aufbau des "B". Die wesentliche Eigenschaften des "B" sind auf der Projektseite zusammengefasst: Senkrechtstart und -landungWechsel zwischen Fahrzeug- und Flugmodus ist in beide Richtungen möglichcirca 15 Minuten AkkulaufzeitHD-Kamera (1280x720 Bildpunkte) mit Speicherkarte Der "B" in Aktion Für die Antriebseinheit des "B" ist ein Patent angemeldet.
Neurosurgeon to attempt world's first head transplant An Italian neurosurgeon has unveiled plans to perform the first human head transplant by the end of 2017. Dr Sergio Canavero announced his plan at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons in the US state of Maryland on Friday, saying he believes he has a 90 percent chance of success. He said his patient will be a 30-year-old Russian man, Valery Spiridonov, who has the muscle-wasting disease, Werdnig-Hoffmann. "Of course there is a margin of risk, I cannot deny that," Canavero said. "I made the announcement only when I was pretty sure I could do it." Both men, who have been in regular contact through video chats, believe the controversial procedure is Spiridonov's best hope, the Reuters news agency reported. "If it goes good, I think I will get rid of the limits which I have today and I will be more independent and this will much improve my life," Spiridonov said. "We are making a huge step forward in science and I hope it will be OK." Source: Reuters
New NASA Robot, 'Valkyrie,' Looks Like Iron Man The newest humanoid robot from NASA just might be mistaken for a superhero. The space agency's new Valkyrie — a 6 foot 2 inch tall (1.9 meters) robot with a glowing NASA logo on its chest — bears an uncanny resemblance to Marvel's superhero Iron Man, but this space age automaton was built for work, not comic book heroics. A team of engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex., designed and built Valkyrie in just nine months, according to press reports. The robot was developed for the DARPA Robotics Challenge taking place at the end of the month and is designed to help humans during disasters. NASA's new robot Valkyrie was designed for the DARPA Robotics Challenge taking place in December 2013. "We want to get to Mars," the team leader for Valkyrie, Nicolaus Radford told IEEE Spectrum in a video about the robot. Some team members working with Valkyrie also worked with the space agency's Robonaut, NASA officials said.
Move over graphene: Bamboo is the next wonder material Step aside graphene, there's a new super material in town, and it's a lot more common than you and your honeycombed carbon lattices: bamboo. "Bamboo is being hailed as a new super material, with uses ranging from textiles to construction," writes the BBC in an article coinciding with its radio report Green Gold: The Bamboo Boom (available for listening through April 9, possibly 10). "It also has the potential to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, the biggest greenhouse gas, and provide some of the world's poorest people with cash. "Today you can buy a pair of bamboo socks or use it as fully load-bearing structural beam in your house - and it is said that there are some 1,500 uses for it in between." The fast growing rugged grass has "unrivaled capacity to capture carbon" the article claims. The bamboo industry hails the crop's other environmental benefits. The World Bamboo Organization says today's bamboo market is $10 billion and could double in five years. Don't worry graphene.
Robots will soon replace the tractor The helicopter takes aerial photographs which reveal the sections of a field that are particularly plagued by weeds. A ground vehicle then automatically drives to those sections, where it identifies the individual weeds and removes them. Karl Damkjær Hansen It sounds like technology from a science fiction movie: robots that automatically take care of a farmer’s crops. But according to Danish researchers, it won’t be long before this is a reality. ”We’re in the process of developing a fully automatic robotic system that can automatically detect weeds and spray them. “The helicopter takes aerial photographs which reveal the sections of a field that are particularly plagued by weeds. Multitasking robots The researchers behind the new system believe it can perform several task at once. We’ve come a long way in terms of training the system to recognise weeds. ”It’s a great challenge to get a computer program to automatically figure out the optimal route,” he says. Similar to Xbox technology
Robotics Robotics is the branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing. These technologies deal with automated machines that can take the place of humans in dangerous environments or manufacturing processes, or resemble humans in appearance, behavior, and/or cognition. Many of today's robots are inspired by nature contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics. The concept of creating machines that can operate autonomously dates back to classical times, but research into the functionality and potential uses of robots did not grow substantially until the 20th century. Throughout history, robotics has been often seen to mimic human behavior, and often manage tasks in a similar fashion. Etymology History of robotics Robotic aspects Components Power source