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Meet Pepper, Aldebaran's New Personal Robot With an "Emotion Engine"

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French robotics company Aldebaran unveiled its newest robot, a friendly humanoid named Pepper that seems determined to make everyone smile. Pepper talks, gesticulates, and zips by on wheels. And it has an “emotion engine,” designed to understand how people are feeling and react accordingly. Aldebaran built the robot for SoftBank, the Japanese... continue reading

Mobile Robots Deliver Electricity to Your Appliances

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Having to plug things into wall outlets is a recurring irritation of modern life. There are never enough of them, they’re never where you need them to be, and when you do plug into one, you end up with tangles of cords strewn all over the floor. Now Japanese researchers might have a solution, and it involves robots (of course). Their idea is to... continue reading

Here's That Extra Pair of Robot Arms You've Always Wanted

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Supernumerary Robotic Limbs (SRLs) are robotic limbs that, when worn, give you more limbs than you’d normally have. In other words, they’re not robotic limbs designed to replace biological limbs that you might be missing, but rather robotic limbs designed to augment the number of limbs that you have already. MIT researchers have been developi... continue reading

Researchers Build Fast Running Robot Inspired by Velociraptor

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Researchers have long been interested in fast-running robots with powerful, agile legs. In particular, several groups have focused on bio-inspired designs based on cheetahs. But when a team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) set out to create a new sprinting robot, they didn’t look at big cats; instead, they fou... continue reading

Quadrotor Uses Google's Project Tango to Fly Autonomously

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Early this year, Google unveiled its Project Tango smartphone, a mobile device equipped with a depth sensor, a motion tracking camera, and two vision processors that let the phone track its position in space and create 3D maps in real time. The device is particularly useful for robots, which have to navigate and locate themselves in the world.... continue reading

Drones & Jetpacks Take Center Stage at Futuristic Festival

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A slew of sci-fi celebs and all-star scientists will descend on Washington, D.C. for The Future Is Here, a festival celebrating the technology of tomorrow, science fiction and outer space. The event, produced by Smithsonian magazine, features talks on everything from robots to human evolution, as well as a live jetpack demonstration. The cas... continue reading

Robot Arm Catches Flying Objects

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There are some things a robot can’t do, but catching a flying object is no longer one of them. With its four-fingered, three-jointed hand, a new robot can catch a ball, a bottle or a tennis racket thrown in its direction in less than five-hundredths of a second, researchers reported in the journal IEEE Transactions on Robotics. Fast-reacting r... continue reading

Could a Robot Deliver Motivational Speeches?

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Imagine a day when a form of artificial intelligence could deliver a speech as compelling as one given by a human. A nonprofit organization called XPRIZE, which designs competitions to encourage the development of innovative technology for the benefit of humanity, announced it will award a prize to anyone who can develop an artificial intelli... continue reading

'RoboClam' Digging Machine As Fast as Natural Burrowers

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A robot that can dig quickly and deeply into mud or wet sand could one day help lay underwater cables, dig up and detonate underwater mines, or anchor machines to the seafloor, researchers say. The robotic digging machine, dubbed RoboClam, takes cues from the prolific burrowing abilities of the Atlantic razor clam (Ensis directus), a species of... continue reading

DARPA and Drone Cars: How the US Military Spawned Self-Driving Car Revolution

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the arm of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for advancing military technology, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the DARPA Grand Challenge, an ambitious, first-of-its-kind race between robotic, self-driving cars. The Grand Challenge, which occurred on March 13, 2004, involv... continue reading