September 18, 2018

Moxi Prototype from Diligent Robotics Starts Helping Out in Hospitals

Diligent Robotics demos the latest version of their healthcare support robot Earlier this year, Diligent Robotics introduced a mobile manipulator called Poli, designed to take over non-care related, boring logistical tasks from overworked healthcare professionals who really should be doing better things with their time. Specifically, Diligent wants to automate things like bringing supplies from a central storage area to patient rooms, which sounds like it should be easy, but is actually very difficult. Autonomous mobile manipulation in semi-structured environments […]
September 17, 2018

JAXA Wants Telepresence Robots for In-Space Construction and Exploration

The AVATAR X program will send telepresence robots to the ISS and beyond Last Monday, we covered the new, updated, and way way better guidelines for the ANA Avatar XPRIZE. Since we were mostly talking with the folks over at XPRIZE, we didn’t realize that ANA (All Nippon Airways) is putting a massive amount of effort into this avatar concept— they’re partnering with JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, “to create a new space industry centered around real-world avatars.” 
September 12, 2018

Calling All Robots

IEEE Spectrum is building the world’s largest, coolest robotics catalog Photo: IEEE Spectrum; Devices: iStockphoto Do you like robots? Of course you do! You’re reading IEEE Spectrum, so you almost certainly love robots. Robots capture our imagination. Robots are the future. Now let us ask you this: What’s your favorite robot? We bet some of you said R2-D2. Or maybe Rosie. Or Robby. Or Johnny 5. Or Data. These are all cool robots. We like them too! But here’s the problem: Those […]
September 7, 2018

Will Foreign Agents Rig the U.S. Midterm Elections through Social Media?

Samantha Bradshaw, an expert on computational propaganda, weighs in on whether Facebook, Twitter, and others are doing enough to curb political social media bots On 5 September, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee held its fourth and final public hearing on the manipulation of social media by foreign agents to influence American politics. The hearings were prompted by the discovery, largely by academic researchers, that Russian botnets and fake accounts had targeted U.S. voters in the run-up to the November 2016 […]
September 6, 2018

New Roomba i7+ Has Persistent Maps, Selective Room Cleaning, and Automatic Dirt Disposal

iRobot’s newest vacuum can clean just the rooms you want it to, and then offload its dirt bin into a special dock and keep on going Today, iRobot is announcing the fanciest, most amazing, and most expensive addition to its line of Roomba robot vacuums. The Roomba i7+ can do two big things that no other Roomba can do: The navigation maps that it makes persist between cleaning sessions, meaning that the robot “remembers” the layout of your home and […]
August 31, 2018

Neato Introduces New Robot Vacuums, Adds Zone Cleaning to D7

Persistent maps enable another useful feature for Neato’s flagship Botvac D7 At IFA in Berlin this week, Neato Robotics is, as we speak, making a bunch of announcements that promise to make the lives of people who like clean floors just a little bit better. In addition to a pair of new(ish) and more affordable(ish) Botvac models, Neato’s ultra-fancy D7 Connected is getting a new feature that allows it to clean specific zones that you specify, meaning that “robot, go […]
August 29, 2018

U.S. Senator Bans Funding for Beerbots That Don’t Exist

Jeff Flake’s “beerbot” budget amendment cuts funding for robotics research Last Thursday, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona introduced the following amendment to the U.S. Department of Defense appropriations bill currently in Congress: None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be obligated or expended for the development of a beerbot or other robot bartender. This sounds like a joke, but it’s not: Legislation prohibiting Department of Defense funding of robot bartenders is on its way […]
August 24, 2018

How to Print an Electric Motor

An axial flux motor uses printed-circuit-board traces for electromagnetic coils Video: Carl Bugeja I started out by just wanting to make a very small drone. But I quickly realized that there was a limiting factor in just how small and light I could make any design: the motors. Even small motors are still discrete packages that have to be attached to all the other electronic and structural elements. So I began wondering if there was a way to merge these elements […]
August 23, 2018

Sony's Aibo Robot Dog Is Coming to America

Packed with powerful sensors and AI, the new Aibo is smarter and cuter than ever but comes with a hefty price tag This past November, Sony announced that it was reviving its robot dog Aibo. The iconic robotic pet, introduced in 1999, won a lot of fans all over the world but had been discontinued for over a decade. The company said the new Aibo, with more advanced mechatronics and AI, would be available for purchase early this year, but only in Japan. Now Sony is […]
August 15, 2018

Haru: An Experimental Social Robot from Honda Research

The Honda Research Institute gives an in-depth look at the design of their newest social robot prototype Social robots have had it tough recently. There are lots of reasons for this, but a big part of it is that it’s a challenge to develop a social robot that’s able to spark long-term user interest without driving initial expectations impractically high. This isn’t just the case for commercial robots—social robots designed for long-term user interaction studies have the same sorts of […]