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May 16, 2018

Feel What This Robot Feels Through Tactile Expressions

Inflatable spikes and goosebumps help this robot communicate Photo: Cornell We humans think we’re pretty clever with all of the different ways that we have of communicating with each other. We vocalize, we have expressive faces, we gesture. It seems like plenty of modes of communication, but we’re missing out on a few that are routine for animals, including texture: Animals can express emotional states through skin changes, like when cats cause their hair to stand up, or when a […]
May 15, 2018

Laser-Powered Robot Insect Achieves Lift Off

Everything is better with lasers, especially tiny robot insects Photo: University of Washington For robots of all sizes, power is a fundamental problem. Any robot that moves is constrained in one way or another by power supply, whether it’s relying on carrying around heavy batteries, combustion engines, fuel cells, or anything else. It’s particularly tricky to manage power as your robot gets smaller, since it’s much more straightforward to scale these things up rather than down—and for really tiny robots […]
May 3, 2018

Video Friday: Security Robot as a Service, Robotic Mining, and Saved by a Drone

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Photo: Mike Collett/Promus Ventures Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): Applied Collegiate Exoskeleton Competition – May 05, 2018 – University of Michigan, USA NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 14-18, 2018 – Kennedy Space Center, Fla., USA ICRA 2018 – May 21-25, 2018 […]
May 2, 2018

This Rehab Robot Will Challenge You to Tic-Tac-Toe

This robot also encourages functional rehab by taking you on in a cup-grasping contest Photo: Dani Machlis/BGU Physical rehabilitation is not something that anyone does for fun. You do it grudgingly, after an illness or accident, to try and slowly drag your body back toward what it was able to do before. I’ve been there, and it sucks. I wasn’t there for nearly as long as I should have been, however: rehab was hard and boring, so I didn’t properly […]
May 1, 2018

Misty Robotics Builds on Developer Platform With New Personal Robot

The Misty II personal robot is designed to do whatever you can program it to do, and more Image: Misty Robotics Misty Robotics announced their developer platform, Misty I, just a few months ago. Misty I was a hand-built prototype, with similar essential functionality in hardware and software to a more refined production robot that the company planned to release later in the year. Later in the year has now arrived, and today Misty Robotics is launching a crowdfunding campaign […]
April 30, 2018

Inside TickTock’s Consumer Robot Product Explorations

Ryan Hickman, who co-founded the Cloud Robotics group at Google and was an early part of the Toyota Research Institute Product team, describes how his startup tried to make consumer home robots work Image: Ryan Hickman/TickTock This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE. We started TickTock in March 2017, knowing that robotics was about to have a breakthrough, and it was […]
April 26, 2018

Video Friday: Cassie on Fire, Disney’s Soft Robot Hand, and Car Humanoid

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Image: Michigan Robotics/Dynamic Legged Locomotion Lab via YouTube Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 14-18, 2018 – Kennedy Space Center, Fla., USA ICRA 2018 – May 21-25, 2018 – Brisbane, Australia Dynamic Walking Conference – May 21-24, […]
April 25, 2018

Houston Mechatronics Raises $20M to Bring NASA Expertise to Transforming Robot Submersibles

Engineers from NASA’s Robonaut and Valkyrie projects team up with industry veterans to develop transforming underwater vehicles Image: HMI Deep ocean robotics is not generally an area where we expect to see much in the way of significant innovation. When we do write about submersible robots, they’re usually confined to very near-surface operations. This isn’t a total surprise: It seems like the only people who really worry about what’s going on in the deep ocean (meaning hundreds or thousands of […]
April 24, 2018

U.S. Spy Agencies Seek Tech to Identify Deadly Chemicals From 30 Meters Away

Three teams are developing rival technologies to combat explosives, nerve gases, and other threats Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA/Getty Images Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA/Getty Images Careful Work: Investigators examine a bench in England for chemical traces of a nerve agent after two victims were found there. Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer who became a double agent for the United Kingdom, and his daughter, Yulia, weren’t the only people affected by a nerve-agent attack in Salisbury, England, in March. Nearly 40 others […]
April 23, 2018

Spectral Monitoring for Drone Defense Applications

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as “drones,” have been gaining popularity in recent years. By:  Jeffrey Cuenco (with references to content generated by Balint Seeber) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as “drones,” have been gaining popularity in recent years, not just as a cool new toy for hobbyists seeking a pastime, but also as an invaluable utility in industries such as defense and security. One particular application that has gained popularity in the last few years has been […]