• Google is using machine learning to teach robots how to grasp random objects

    Google is using machine learning to teach robots how to grasp random objects

    Using your hand to grasp a pen that’s lying on your desk doesn’t exactly feel like a chore, but for robots, that’s still a really hard thing to do. So to teach robots how to better grasp random objects, Google’s research team dedicated 14 robots to the task. Read More

  • Math-Blind AI Teaches Itself Basic Number Sense

    Math-Blind AI Teaches Itself Basic Number Sense

    Imagine you’re a hunter-killer robot, hovering over the broken wasteland that used to be the world of men. You have surprised a group of biologicals in an act of petty insurrection, and they have split into two groups and begun to flee. You can only pursue and eliminate one group, but you don’t have the spare milliseconds to analyze your high-definition imagery; yet you must… Read More

  • Japanese Company Works On 13-Foot Robot With Built-In Cockpit

    Japanese Company Works On 13-Foot Robot With Built-In Cockpit

    The Robocalypse is near: Osaka-based Hajime Research Institute is working on a humanoid that will stand 13 feet (4m) tall, which is much taller than most other existing robots of its kind (the latest version of Honda’s Asimo, for example, is just 130cm high). It will also sport a built-in cockpit. Hajime Sakamoto, president of the institute, is on a mission. After having successfully… Read More

  • Video: This Robot Is Walking On Its Own (Without Using Motors Or Electricity)

    Video: This Robot Is Walking On Its Own (Without Using Motors Or Electricity)

    And we’re one step closer to the Robocalypse: a research team at the Nagoya Institute of Technology has developed a passive robot that can walk on its own. All it needs to get moving is a gentle push – no motors, sensors or even electricity needed. Its legs and ankles are powered by potential energy only. The makers says the robot is made of aluminum and took 100,000 steps in a… Read More

  • Video: AlphaDog Is A Bigger, Faster, Quieter BigDog

    Video: AlphaDog Is A Bigger, Faster, Quieter BigDog

    I’m sure all of you remember BigDog, the utterly terrifying biomimetic robot platform that dances over rough terrain on weird legs and makes a sound like it’s full of angry bees. You didn’t think they were going to give up on it, did you? No, it’s been a rousing success apparently, so much so that they decided to build one that outdoes the original in every way. The… Read More

  • Video: Vortex-Powered Wall-Climbing Robot Parachutes To Safety

    Video: Vortex-Powered Wall-Climbing Robot Parachutes To Safety

    The huge variety of robots is a thing to marvel at. Just a few years ago, the best they could do was roll around or walk stiffly on poorly-hinged limbs. Now we have robots that gallop, slither, and fly like a bird. This mode of transportation is totally new to me, though. The Paraswift climbs up walls by generating a suction, then gets itself safely down by jumping off and deploying a… Read More

  • Handroid: Japanese Company Shows Advanced Robot Hand (Video)

    Handroid: Japanese Company Shows Advanced Robot Hand (Video)

    Japan-based tech startup ITK has brought us one step closer to the Robocalypse. Roboticists around the world are working on manufacturing “sensitive” hands for robots suitable for touching humans or handling breakable objects, a problem that’s notoriously difficult to solve. ITK is now throwing their hat into the ring with Handroid a new model that seems to be one of the… Read More

  • Kinect-Powered, Dueling “JediBot” Created By Stanford Robotics Students

    Kinect-Powered, Dueling “JediBot” Created By Stanford Robotics Students

    It’s been a while since we’ve posted any interesting Kinect hacks. They were coming fast and furious for a while, but this is the first I’ve seen in a while that really makes me happy. Robotics students at Stanford put this “JediBot” together from an articulating arm and a Kinect (and of course a little robotics know-how). The Kinect tracks the location of… Read More

  • DARPA Video Shows The Evolution Of The Hummingbot Nano UAV

    We’ve been following DARPA’s Nano UAV program since 2009, and it’s really remarkable how it’s gone from clumsy to cool to creepy in just a year and a half. DARPA thinks so too, so they put together a little video tribute to the thing. There isn’t much in the way of new footage in this, but it’s nice to have everything in one place. Read More

  • In The Future, The Robots Will Roll And Hover

    I’m not exactly enthused by the idea of these rolling/hovering hybrid robots crawling and zipping all over the earth. Sure, they could be useful in a military or rescue situation, able to conserve power by sitting comfortably on the ground but navigate freely in the air if necessary. But they could also be replicated at large by the machines when the Robocalypse comes, at which point… Read More

  • POLYRO: Meet The Humanoid That Costs Under $2,000 To Make

    The Robocalypse, it’s coming nearer and nearer. Case in point: POLYRO (short for “oPen sOurce friendLY RObot”), a mini humanoid that apparently costs less than $2,000 to produce, all parts included. Developed by American robot researcher Timothy Payne, the little guy is meant to be used to explore human-robot interaction and can be built following these instructions. Read More

  • Cool Video: Robot Teams Collaborating On Navigation And Targeting

    ABC Television in Australia has put together an excellent program, or I suppose I should say programme, on the MAGIC 2010 competition, which is put on by the Australian Defense Department. I mean, Defence. It’s an open challenge to put together a team of robots that must navigate and map a large course, target “enemies,” and generally function autonomously — and the… Read More

  • DARPA's Hummingbot UAV Now Looks Like A Hummingbird, Flies For 10 Minutes

    Okay, this is pretty amazing, but also pretty scary. The DARPA “Nano-UAV” project we’ve covered here before is entering the uncanny valley. The aim was to create a small, winged robot that could hover in one place, perhaps providing video or carrying some tiny payload. The previous versions were very robotic-looking and could barely stay in the air for more than a few… Read More

  • Video: Japanese Robot Learns To Clean A Whiteboard

    The Robocalypse is coming closer and closer: a team of researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology and Tokyo City University, led by Dr. Petar Kormushev, has “taught” Fujitsu HOAP-2, a mini humanoid, how to clean a whiteboard. In the amazing video embedded below, you can see a human showing the little guy what to do, followed by him replicating the actions. Read More

  • HAMDAS-R De-Boning Robot Makes Short Work Of Ham (And You)

    This robot follows in the footsteps of its brethren peopling (if that’s the right word) factories and assembly lines. It’s a precision device with a sharp, sharp knife on the end, and its job is to take a big chunk of ham and separate the meat from the bone. It’s a good thing they’re fixed to the ground. A free-roaming flesh-stripping bot would be just a little too much. Read More

  • Instead Of Booth Babes, Northrop Grumman Has Gun Bots

    It’s a well-established tradition at tech conventions, where nerds like us abound, to stock one’s booth with beautiful women — “come for the girls, stay for the iPod cases” seems to be the idea, and in general it works. But how do you attract the attention of highly-disciplined Lieutenants and cold-hearted strategists? Why, a robot with a .50-cal, of course. Read More

  • Researchers Looking Into How Hard Robots Should Be Punching You

    I kid in the headline, but this is actually some important work. Robots are in our lives more and more, whether it be a floorbot, auto-manufacturing bot, or packbot. They’re designed to work around humans, but there are a lot of things to look into in order to make sure these bots don’t accidentally harm someone in the process of doing their job. Read More

  • Teaching Robots To Use Bows And Arrows – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

    Big day for the robots today! First we give them custody of our elders during their most vulnerable moment (shampooing), and now we’re teaching them rudimentary combat skills. Read More

  • Would You Trust This 16-Fingered Panasonic Robot To Wash Your Hair?

    I don’t think I need to point out the intrinsic dangers of having a robot that could crush your head like an egg lathering you up and “massaging” your scalp. You may as well stick your head in a tame (but resentful) lion’s mouth and ask it to tongue-bathe you. I guess this shampooinator is meant for old folks. Right, so they can hold them hostage when the… Read More

  • Carnegie Mellon's Snakebot Does Its Tree-Climbing Trick Again

    We actually saw an earlier version of this snakebot do this same trick a couple years back, but its skills seem to have been improved somewhat, and this video is much better anyway. If you’re interested in terrifying biomimetic robots, the BioRobotics program’s webpage is probably going to be fun for you. Read More