A team of Michigan State University scientists has developed a robotic fish that can swim and glide long distances while gathering data such as water quality and temperature. Credit: Photo by G.L. Kohuth, Michigan State University. (Phys.org)—A high-tech robotic fish hatched at Michigan State University has a new look.A new skill. And a new name. MSU scientists have made a number of improvements on the fish, including the ability to glide long distances, which is the most important change to date. The fish now has the ability to glide through the water practically indefinitely, using little to no energy, while gathering valuable data that can aid in the cleaning of our lakes and rivers.Designed and built by Xiaobo Tan, MSU associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his team, the fish is equipped with an array of sensors that not only allow it to travel autonomously, but also measure water temperature, quality and other pertinent facts. "Swimming requires constant flapping of the tail," Tan said, "which means the battery is constantly being discharged and typically wouldn't last more than a few hours." The disadvantage to gliding, he said, is that it is slower and less maneuverable.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-robofish-grace-glides-greatest-ease.html#jCp
The image is artist conception of a refueling project demo upcoming aboard the ISS.In mid-January, NASA will take the next step in advancing robotic satellite-servicing technologies as it tests the Robotic Refueling Mission, or RRM aboard the International Space Station. The investigation may one day substantially impact the many satellites that deliver products Americans rely upon daily, such as weather reports, cell phones and television news.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-nasa-robotic-refueling-demo-jumpstart.html#jCpWhy Fix or Refuel a Satellite? "Every satellite has a lifespan and eventual retirement date, determined by the reliability of its components and how much fuel it can carry," explains Benjamin Reed, deputy project manager of NASA's Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office, or SSCO. Repairing and refueling satellites already in place, Reed asserts, can be far less expensive than building and launching entirely new spacecraft, potentially saving millions, even billions of dollars and many years of work. The RRM demonstration specifically tests what it would take to repair and refuel satellites traveling the busy space highway of geosynchronous Earth orbit, or GEO. Located about 22,000 miles above Earth, this orbital path is home to more than 400 satellites, many of which beam communications, television and weather data to customers worldwide. By developing robotic capabilities to repair and refuel GEO satellites, NASA hopes to add precious years of functional life to satellites and expand options for operators who face unexpected emergencies, tougher economic demands and aging fleets. NASA also hopes that these new technologies will help boost the commercial satellite-servicing industry that is rapidly gaining momentum. Besides aiding the GEO satellite community, a capability to fix and relocate "ailing" satellites also could help manage the growing orbital debris problem that threatens continued space operations, ultimately making space greener and more sustainable.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-nasa-robotic-refueling-demo-jumpstart.html#jCp
The Canadian-built robot handyman aboard the International Space Station is attempting to demonstrate for the first time that a machine can carry out the delicate task of refuelling a satellite in orbit.The robot — known as Dextre, short for Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator — has been aboard the space station since 2008 and is what the Canadian Space Agency calls the most sophisticated space robot ever built.Overnight Monday, the 3.65-metre tall robot, with a mass of 1,560 kilograms, started the first of what's expected to be a five-day mission to demonstrate how a satellite can be safely refuelled.A spokesperson for the Canadian Space Agency said Dextre will be transfering 1.7 litres of liquid ethanol that was transported to the ISS by NASA's space shuttle Atlantis during it's final mission in July 2011.Throughout the process Dextre will be attached to the end of Canadarm2, the robotic arm outside the ISS that helps with assembly and maintenance.To help it work on the satellite, Dextre will be supporting a 250-kilogram, washing machine-sized, module designed by NASA that's equipped with 28 different tools — including wire cutters and a nozzle tool.http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/01/15/canada-nasa-international-space-station-robot-dextre-satellite.html
Different faces of Diego-san: video of robo-toddler shows him demonstrating different facial expressions, using 27 moving parts in the head alone.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-machine-perception-lab-reveals-robotic.html#jCp(Phys.org)—The world is getting a long-awaited first glimpse at a new humanoid robot in action mimicking the expressions of a one-year-old child. The robot will be used in studies on sensory-motor and social development – how babies "learn" to control their bodies and to interact with other people. Diego-san's hardware was developed by leading robot manufacturers: the head by Hanson Robotics, and the body by Japan's Kokoro Co. The project is led by University of California, San Diego full research scientist Javier Movellan. Movellan directs the Institute for Neural Computation's Machine Perception Laboratory, based in the UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). The Diego-san project is also a joint collaboration with the Early Play and Development Laboratory of professor Dan Messinger at the University of Miami, and with professor EmoTodorov's Movement Control Laboratory at the University of Washington. Movellan and his colleagues are developing the software that allows Diego-san to learn to control his body and to learn to interact with people. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-machine-perception-lab-reveals-robotic.html#jCpThere has got to be at least one horror movie in the works with a robotic toddler..
HyTAQ robot. Rolling, flying, crash resistant. Possible planetary explorer design. This is HyTAQ, the latest demonstration of quadcopter technology from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Unlike standard quadcopters we’ve shown you before, though, HyTAQ is a little more versatile. If weather conditions or other factors leave the copter unable to fly, it can keep chugging along courtesy of it’s convenient cage, which acts as a sort of robotic hamster ball, allowing HyTAQ to move along the ground – including rough terrain like sand dunes — as easily as it glides through the air. The bot has been in development for sometime, but footage of it in action dropped only recently, and you’ve got to see this thing in action for yourself.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KbtkpYIbuCw
Illustration of how the mother spacecraft Phobos Surveyor and its 'hedgehogs' would work.(Phys.org)—Stanford researchers, in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have designed a robotic platform that could take space exploration to new heights. The mission proposed for the platform involves a mother spacecraft deploying one or several spiked, roughly spherical rovers to the Martian moon Phobos. Measuring about half a meter wide, each rover would hop, tumble and bound across the cratered, lopsided moon, relaying information about its origins, as well as its soil and other surface materials. Developed by Marco Pavone, an assistant professor in Stanford's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the system relies on a synergistic relationship between the mother spacecraft, known as the Phobos Surveyor, and the rovers it houses, called "hedgehogs." The Phobos Surveyor, a coffee-table-sized vehicle flanked by two umbrella-shaped solar panels, would orbit around Phobos throughout the mission. The researchers have already constructed a prototype. The Surveyor would release only one hedgehog at a time. Together, the mothership and hedgehogs would work together to determine the hedgehog's position and orientation. Using this information, they would map a trajectory, which the mother craft would then command the hedgehog to travel. In turn, the spiky explorers would relay scientific measurements back to the Phobos Surveyor, which would forward the data to researchers on Earth. Based on their analysis of the data, the scientists would direct the mothership to the next hedgehog deployment site. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-stanford-acrobatic-space-rovers-explore.html#jCp
London: Scientists are designing a new ambitious robotic humanoid helper with artificial muscles to help people with everyday tasks. Engineers at the University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Lab hope that 1.2 metre tall Roboy, designed to look like a child, will help the sick and elderly by acting as a mechanical helper.The research team is developing radical artificial 'tendons' to help the robot move, the 'Daily Mail' reported. They have already signed up 15 project partners and over 40 engineers, and hope to fund the project using a combination of commercial partners and crowd-funding.Researchers hope Roboy will become a blueprint for 'service robots' that work alongside humans. "Service robots are machines that are, to a certain extent, able to execute services independently for the convenience of human beings. Since they share their 'living space' with people, user-friendliness and safety are of great importance," researchers said.http://ibnlive.in.com/news/roboy-a-robot-boy-to-help-humans-with-everyday-tasks/312821-11.htmlhttp://phys.org/news/2012-12-zurich-ai-team-delivery-humanoid.htmlThe 1.20m tall Roby bears a distinguishing feature of having a tendon-driven locomotion system, in that Roboy is built based on tendon-controlled motor technology. In attempting to closely replicate the functions of human tendons, the team has been working on "radical artificial tendons" that can make Roboy move in a human fashion. A tendon is the flexible cord of strong fibrous collagen tissue attaching muscle to bone. Muscles move joints; when a muscle contracts, it pulls on a bone. The tendon structure transmits the force from muscle to the bone for joint movements.
(Phys.org)—Researchers at the University of Tokyo have taken another step towards creating a robot with a faithfully recreated human skeleton and muscle structure. Called Kenshiro, the robot has been demonstrated at the recent Humanoids 2012 conference in Osaka, Japan. Kenshiro is the next step for the researchers. Their previous effort resulted in a robot they called Kojiro – a robot that demonstrated the huge strides that have come in mimicking the human body, as well as the very long road yet to travel. In this new iteration, Kenshiro was preceded by a robot concept the team called Kenzoh. In that effort the team found that simply adding artificial muscle and bones generally tended to create weight problems. The upper body alone came to 45 kg. That caused the team to go back to the drawing board, this time with the idea of mimicking human bone and muscle at the individual body part level, i.e. a backbone, calf, or knee joint. Each part was custom designed to fall within the weight parameters of actual human limbs and other parts of the body.The result is a robot sized to approximate the average 12 year old Japanese boy – with bones made of aluminum that have been connected together in a way that very closely resembles the way human bones are connected, e.g. artificial ligaments, etc., and a collection of muscles that mimic very closely those in the human body as well. Kenshiro has 160 muscles that are constructed using a single actuator motor for individual muscle groups with each consisting of a system of wires and moving pulleys. "He" stands 158 centimeters tall and weighs 50 kilograms and at this time has more muscles than any other robot.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-japanese-robot-humanlike-muscle-skeleton-video.html#jCp
We have talked about Big Dog’s big brother, the LS3 before. LS3 seeks to demonstrate that a highly mobile, semi-autonomous legged robot can carry 400 lbs of a squad's load, follow squad members through rugged terrain and interact with troops in a natural way, similar to a trained animal and its handler. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-legged-squad-ls3-darpa-four-legged.html#jCpA two-year, platform-refinement test cycle began in July 2012, with Marine and Army involvement, culminating in a planned capstone exercise where LS3 should embed with Marines conducting field exercises. During this period, DARPA seeks to finish the development of and refine LS3's technologies to provide a suite of autonomy settings, including leader-follower tight, leader-follower corridor and go-to-waypoint, described below: Leader-follower tight: LS3 attempts to follow as close as possible to the path its leader takes Leader-follower corridor: LS3 sticks to the leader but has freedom to make local path decisions, so the leader doesn't need to think about LS3's mobility capabilities Go-to-waypoint: LS3 uses its local perception to avoid obstacles on its way to a designated GPS coordinate Additionally, technologies to allow squad members to speak commands to LS3 are anticipated to be added during this period.
This works off of a type of programmable matter. A four-segment milli-motein chain with a one-centimeter module size. Credit: MIT Center for Bits and Atoms The device doesn't look like much: a caterpillar-sized assembly of metal rings and strips resembling something you might find buried in a home-workshop drawer. But the technology behind it, and the long-range possibilities it represents, are quite remarkable. The little device is called a milli-motein—a name melding its millimeter-sized components and a motorized design inspired by proteins, which naturally fold themselves into incredibly complex shapes. This minuscule robot may be a harbinger of future devices that could fold themselves up into almost any shape imaginable. The device was conceived by Neil Gershenfeld, head of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, visiting scientist AraKnaian and postdoctoral associate Kenneth Cheung, and is described in a paper presented recently at the 2012 Intelligent Robots and Systems conference. Its key feature, Gershenfeld says: "It's effectively a one-dimensional robot that can be made in a continuous strip, without conventionally moving parts, and then folded into arbitrary shapes." To build the world's smallest chain robot, the team had to invent an entirely new kind of motor: not only small and strong, but also able to hold its position firmly even with power switched off. The researchers met these needs with a new system called an electropermanent motor.The milli-motein concept follows up on a paper, published last year, which examined the theoretical possibility of assembling any desired 3-D shape simply by folding a long string of identical subunits. That paper, co-authored by Cheung, MIT professor Erik Demaine, alumnus Saul Griffith, and former Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory research scientist Jonathan Bachrach, proved mathematically that it was possible for any 3-D shape to be reproduced by folding a sufficiently long string—and that it's possible to figure out how to fold such a string, and the exact steps needed to successfully reach the desired endpoint. "We showed that you could make such a universal system that's very simple," Cheung says. While he and his colleagues have not yet proved a way of always finding the optimal path to a given folded shape, they did find several useful strategies for arriving at practical folding sequences.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-robotic-equivalent-swiss-army-knife.html#jCp
OK, not robots per se but telepresence platforms. Company has units and remotes so that any authorized user can beam their image, voice to any unit anywhere on the net, pretty much anywhere in the industrialized world and control the unit moving it through an area and seeing and hearing through its sensors. Cool.Suitable Tech are at CES in Las Vegas showing off their awesome Star Trek creation, more formally described as Beam Remote Presence Device (RPD). The sweet, drivable robot was created to provide a “physical presence, anywhere in the world,” traveling around the office at average human height and move at a max speed of 3mph. Suitable Tech’s RPD allows remote employees to connect and communicate as if they were really in the office — pretty sweet!Though it’s hardly cheap, the RPD is available now starting at $16,000, featuring:17-inch screen, so your face is human size1.58m (5′ 2″) frame, so your body is human sizeTop speed of 1.5 m/s (3 mph), so you can keep upTwo wide-angle HD cameras, for full visual awarenessSix-microphone array with noise reduction and echo cancellation, for full audio awarenessPowerful built-in speaker, so you will be heardTwo dual-band radios with proprietary roaming algorithms, for seamless WiFi connectivityIndustry-standard encryption of all communicationhttp://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/home-robots/suitable-technologies-introduces-beam-remote-presence-system
Security qudricopter follows intruders around.Not that impressive in many ways but imagine much smaller and cheaper units acting as your flycam in real life at events, shopping at the mall, being remotely guided to give telepresence at conferences and so on. Installing surveillance equipment at a location usually means setting up several stationery cameras that at best can rotate to track suspicious activity. But they are limited, and in a lot of cases require someone to be controlling their movement in order to detect and track effectively.Japanese company Secom has developed what it believes is a much better solution: an autonomous surveillance drone that can travel to the location of an intruder, then track and monitor them, capturing images in the process.When there is no active threat the drone will sit in a base station, which also acts as a battery charger as these flying machines usually have a battery life of around 15-20 minutes. When the accompanying security system detects an intruder, be it a vehicle or person, the drone is informed of the location and flies there.http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/secoms-autonomous-surveillance-drone-follows-and-spies-on-intruders-20121227/