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Tag Archives: Robotics

Autom Will Help You Lose Weight, Says Not Eating Works For Her

Introducing Autom™ from Erica Young on Vimeo.

By Evan Ackerman

We first met Autom two years ago, back when she was a resident of the MIT Media Lab. Since then, she’s been significantly redesigned and her parent company, Intuitive Automata, is almost ready to unleash her upon the overweight world. Autom is sort of like your own personal weight loss coach, except she doesn’t annoy you by being human and in better shape than you are. Instead, she simply tracks your eating and exercise habits and talks to you about your daily progress. She’s able to figure out what works best for you and what doesn’t, adapting to your needs as they change. And she does a good job, apparently: people using Autom to help with their weight loss will keep to a diet and exercise routine for twice as long as people using more traditional methods…

Read more at BotJunkie

Heroic Israeli Roomba Saves Children From Deadly Viper


By Evan Ackerman

This article, from Israel’s Yediot Acharonot newspaper, is titled “‘A Vacuum Cleaner Captured a Snake.” It looks like “captured” is a bit of an understatement… The Roomba 560 appears to have totally pwned what we’re told is a deadly viper threatening some kids (and possibly a cat) by sucking it up around one of its rotating brushes…

[ Read More At BotJunkie ]

Stanford Unveils Robotic Pikes Peak Racer, Autonomous Valet System


Stanford University is already famous for its autonomous robotic vehicles, including Stanley (who won the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005) and Junior (runner up in the DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007). This weekend, Stanford held an event to showcase their partnership with Volkswagen on a new $2 million autonomous innovation laboratory. On display was Stanford’s latest autonomous vehicle, a robotic Audi TTS named Shelley. Shelley currently holds the unofficial world speed record for an autonomous car at over 130 mph, and will be racing up Pikes Peak all by herself next year:

Stanford also demonstrated an autonomous valet parking system, where an almost stock Volkswagen Passat entered a parking lot, located an empty space, and parked itself:

We’ve got a bunch more details over on BotJunkie:

[ Pikes Peak Audi TTS ]
[ Autonomous Valet Parking ]
[ Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory ]

Harvard Developing Colony Of Robot Bees


By Evan Ackerman

I guess the bee crisis is worse than it seems, because the National Science Foundation is giving Harvard a cool $10 million to develop a robot bee colony. That’s right, not just one, but an entire colony of robot bees. The bees will buzz around on flapping wings, use optical flow sensors for navigation and obstacle avoidance, sport cute little antennae as well as “pollination and docking appendages,” and use an as yet unspecified power source…

Read More At BotJunkie…

Nissan Teaches Cute Little RoboCars To School Like Fish


By Evan Ackerman

You ever notice how fish never, ever find themselves stuck in traffic jams? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You’re stuck on the highway behind some yahoo in a 1994 Volvo 940 turbo wagon driving 3 miles an hour, and over there are a bunch of fish just crusin’ along at full speed. You might think it’s because fish can take advantage of a highway that’s about 1.347 billion cubic kilometers in volume, but you’d be wrong… It’s because they know how to school.

Nissan (according to their website, they make computers) is exploring how fish avoid traffic jams so successfully…

Read More at BotJunkie…

LittleDog Clips And Outtakes


By Evan Ackerman

Browsing around the MIT website (as I do from time to time so that you don’t have to), I ran across the web page of Katie Byl (that’s “bill”), who is currently working at the Harvard Microrobotics Lab (on stuff like this). Katie used to study legged locomotion at MIT, which involved developing dynamic motions for LittleDog. And sometimes, these motions didn’t quite work out as planned… Also in the following video are clips of LittleDog walking on pegs (”Karate Kid” style), and a slow motion clip of LittleDog bounding up onto terrain…

Read More At BotJunkie…

Bloodbot Stabs You Like A Pro


By Evan Ackerman

Wired posted a gallery on Friday of surgical robots, and Bloodbot here caught my eye, largely because it seemed to be the most practical. The robot consists of an arm with a needle and a probe. In order to find an accessible vein, the robot probes around your arm until it finds an area of flesh that is a little bit less squishy than the rest. Then it jabs you with a needle, and when it feels a little pop indicating that it’s punched through into a vein, it knows to stop the jabbage, lest it go right through the other side of your vein, out the back of your arm, and into your femoral artery, causing a massive amount of hemorrhaging that will no doubt kill you in minutes.

So far, the robot is accurate about 78% of the time…


Read More At BotJunkie…

Spherical Soft Robots Can Roll And Jump

By Evan Ackerman

This may not look like the most promising design for a robot, but there’s a lot of potential to be had with robots that can change their shape. These robots, from Ritsumeikan University in Japan, are constructed with spherical shells of spring steel attached to an inner core (which contains the power source and electronics) via shape memory alloy wires. Applying voltage to the wires causes them to contract, deforming the shape of the robot. By doing this, the robot can change its center of gravity to roll in any direction…

Read More At BotJunkie…

I-SWARM Micro Robots


By Evan Ackerman

While most robot designers shoot for more capable and more complicated robots, the philosophy behind swarm robotics is totally different: make the robots as simple as possible, and let complex capabilities emerge from the cooperative powers of a whole bunch of them. We’re already familiar with macro-scale swarm robots, but researchers in Europe are trying to shrink things down to insect scale.

These tiny (4 millimeters on a side) robots are members of the I-SWARM project…

Read More At BotJunkie…