So NASA has developed these robots to basically do the work of humans. There was a previous version, which the R2 you see above (yes, “R2″) is a refinement of, and now as you can see he’s quite a performer. Is he doing a tango move there?
Check out this video. The money shot is at 3:30, where you can really see how gentle and precise the movements are. → Read More
Meet AIDA, the Affective Intelligent Driving Assistant. This is a prototype robot that utilizes sensors inside and outside the car to create “a platform comprising of a personal robot and an intelligent navigation system that aims to bring an innovative driving experience.” I don’t own an automobile, so practically every driving experience is innovative to me right now! Rather than traditional… → Read More
It’s not enough that they make ramen, juggle, and play catch — now robot arms need to play with their food? This robot arm on the right is teasing the one on the left. Want a Fanta? You can’t have one! Your feeble manipulator navigates this six-pack in vain. → Read More
I wanted to tell you guys to watch this without seeing the description, but it’s difficult to do so. Better find someone nearby, tell them to close their eyes, and then open them when they think they’ve got it figured out. This piano-based voice synthesizer breaks down the morphemes of normal speech into components which can be built up using piano keys. Sounds crazy in theory of course, but… → Read More
Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin. Comfort is overrated anyway. And robot spiders are underrepresented on this (otherwise excellent) website. That’s why I decided to put two, two, TWO SPIDER ROBOT VIDEOS in one post. We’re falling behind other blogs in spiderbot video density. Click on through and be squicked/entertained. → Read More
And here I thought that these drones were born to kill. In fact, they’re being put to good use, and such as the ones they’ve got cruising in the ocean, or these, which they’ve deployed to help combat wildfires. The drones can go into dangerously smoky areas and use IR cameras to point out hot spots for firefighters — man and machine working alongside one another like brothers. → Read More
I’m beginning to think the Robocalypse is going to be less Terminator and more Dinobot. I mean, we’ve robotic fish, dog-monsters, and hummingbots already, and that’s just off the top of my head. And if it isn’t based on an animal, it’s named after one. The BEAR robot, in contrast, isn’t actually bearlike, but is just a handy acronym for the Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot. → Read More
Looks like the Robocalypse is going to have to wait on battery technology. The Hummingbot/Hunter-seeker we saw last month has improved somewhat, and is now capable of more than falling while flapping its wings. It can, in fact, hover in a controlled fashion for up to 20 seconds. If you’re quick, that’s enough time to get it through the ducts and assassinate the Kwisatz Haderach, but I’d wait until… → Read More
In a development being hailed as “the greatest single step forward ever taken by civilization,” Japan has made a pair of wise-cracking robot arms that make and deploy up to 800 perfect bowls of ramen per day. Yes, we saw one like this back in July, but this is a whole other level. It’s like Wall-E vs. the talking toaster from Red Dwarf (admittedly, a solid robot). These truly awesome robo-arms… → Read More
Those of you who follow the Robocalypse tag know that I find the rise of machine-based warfare and biomimetic freakery… troubling. Well, it just got a lot more so. Not content to have robots simply feed on widely available sunlight, or use an versatile diesel engine or something, some robo-pioneers have decided that this new robot should refuel on biomass.
Yes, it can use plants and compost and… → Read More
“Biomimetic miniature flying platforms” appears to be the theme this week. Just a few days ago we saw a hummingbird robot meant to hover in and out of buildings, and now there’s this ro-bat being put together at North Carolina State University.
Here is my question: were there not enough bats in the world already? → Read More
I’m concerned that before long, every critter out there will be replaced by a biomimetic robot surrogate. With BigDog, LittleDog, mechafish, swifferbot, and the robo-ant already on the march, it won’t be long before the pleasant tweet and buzz of nature is replaced by the noise of servos and tiny guns.
The latest fiend to come out of DARPA human-extinction research money is this Nano Air Vehicle… → Read More
Oh god oh god! Household monsters are becoming real! This biomimetic slugbot is meant to pick up dust around the house, but it reminds me more of low-level enemies in NES games than any of its robot helper contemporaries. The Fukitorimushi (“wipe-up bug”) is an autonomous robot like a Roomba, but it moves in a freaky inchworm style. The funny thing is, it would be creepy enough without the… → Read More
Not terrifying at all! And of course, it’s flown with a modified Xbox 360 controller. How do they expect to get headshots with that? Mouse and keyboard, baby. But I digress. This robocalyptic aerial hunter-killer is 26ft long, goes 117mph, and can carry a payload of 150lb. That means it can carry a sniper rifle and a hugbot. → Read More
Doug Aamoth here in Boston at the 2009 RoboBusiness Expo with some fodder for the “Robots Will Eventually Rise Up and Kill Us All” debate. No matter which side of the argument you support, if you’re someday killed by an autonomous robot it won’t have been made by iRobot. → Read More
I’m kind of glad this cool robo-ant can’t walk very well, because it does everything else with chilling accuracy. Unlike real insects, it isn’t size-limited by its materials and structural makeup, so you could have a king-sized one bite the roof off your house by next week if someone took initiative. → Read More
Don’t you people see what’s happening? They’re taking over! First our pets, then our fashion models (expensive pets essentially), and now… our fish? Well, if you’re planning on replacing the world’s natural organisms with your own silicon creations (as the machines certainly are), then it makes sense to start small. Self-replicating micromachines, solar-powered bugs, and now mechanical fishies… → Read More
With this latest advance in biomimetic weaponry, BigDog will truly be striking fear into the hearts of America’s enemies. When they see his burnished horns bobbing at them out of a background of terror and carnage, they’ll drop their weapons and cower. I think they’ve got a little to work on with the speed of the charge, but that’s just a technical quibble. → Read More
Although you and I don’t enjoy the benefits of pleasure droids and personal guard robots at this time, that doesn’t mean they aren’t deploying them in backwater armed conflicts to test their viability. The robot wars are bearing down upon us like a murderous cybernetic freight train, and we’d do best to acknowledge it and prepare for the consequences. Or at least so says P.W. Singer, whose book … → Read More
Get ready for a lot more stories like this, kids. Man, only in Japan would they build a robot designed to love. The experiment gone wrong took place in Kyoto, at a Toshiba robotic research facility. Why Toshiba is experimenting with hugbots is beyond me, but that’s not the issue here (never thought I’d say that). After the robot (Kenji) became very friendly indeed with a doll, it became infatuated… → Read More
Remember BigDog? And its diminutive friend, LittleDog? Here’s a little more footage and testimony from the soldiers at Fort Benning in Alabama. There’s not a lot of new info but it’s nice to see it’s actually in real trials and not sitting in a lab somewhere. I think they’re going to need to do something about that buzzing noise, though. → Read More
The US Government has decided at last that it’s time for Skynet. They’ve tapped IBM to create a supercomputer nearly twenty times as powerful as the current world champion: IBM’s Roadrunner, running at 1.1 petaflops. The computer is to be in charge of making sure that America’s nuclear arsenal is in a working state at all times.
That seems like more of a job for guys with oilcans and geiger… → Read More
I like the idea of combat robots — not necessarily hunter-killer type robo-soldiers, but more along the lines of support bots like BigDog and these new developments from MIT. The idea, of course, is to reduce not just the number of humans at risk on the field, but to automate dangerous tasks like delivering supplies under fire; after all, the supply line is a weak spot in any army and has… → Read More
It’s true, of course, and not just from a Sci-Fi point of view. With robots doing everything from vacuuming our floors to storing our data to performing surgery, there is a growing need for an international body to establish standards. If, as British robotics professor Noel Sharkey says, “decisions about [robots'] application will be left to the military, industry and busy… → Read More
Force fields aren’t just used to obstruct the TMNT, they are actually being used by scientists to improve research. A new gadget called EnviroStat (“Environment”+”Constant”) can hold individual cells in an electric force field, potentially leading to improvements in drug trials or even biofuel production. EnviroStat was developed by Andreas Schmid and his colleagues… → Read More