The Week: Most Recent Robots:Robots recent posts.en-usThu, 03 Jan 2013 13:28:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent Robots:Robots from THE WEEKThu, 03 Jan 2013 13:28:00 -0500Meet the spiky hedgehog rover that will bounce around Mars' moon<img src="" /></P><p>Who needs wheels? A team of researchers from Stanford University is designing a spherical robot covered in spikes that, unlike the SUV-sized Curiosity space lab, does away with wheels in favor of rolling around on its own. What is this contraption? And why does it look like a medieval torture device? Here's what you should know about NASA's next-gen rover:</p><p class="p2"><strong>Why is it a spiky ball?<br /></strong>Traditional planetary rovers like Curiosity and the Sojourner that came before relied on wheels and treads to scuttle around, and were perfectly suited for desert-like expanses such as Mars' surface. But this robotic hedgehog...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Thu, 03 Jan 2013 13:28:00 -0500WATCH: The paralyzed woman who moved a robotic arm with her mind<img src="" /></P><p><iframe width="600" height="397" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p><p class="p1">A motor-degenerative disease has rendered Jan Sheuermann, 53, unable to complete even the most basic daily tasks. First diagnosed with spinocerebellar degeneration in 1996, Sheuermann progressively lost control of her body over time, and is now unable to move her arms or legs. But thanks to two electrical implants attached to her brain, Scheuermann has the ability to feed herself using a remote-controlled robotic arm.&nbsp;"They asked me if there was something special I wanted to do," Sheurmann tells <em>ABC News</em>. "And I said my goal is to feed myself a bar of chocolate."</p><p class="p1">In this experiment, biomedical...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Wed, 19 Dec 2012 10:55:00 -0500Meet Kenshiro: Japan's creepy boy robot with an aluminum skeleton and 160 muscles<img src="" /></P><p><iframe width="600" height="397" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p><p class="p1">Say hello to Kenshiro, a 5'2" humanoid robot that moves with creepy precision. While other human-like machines such as&nbsp;DARPA's&nbsp;Petman plod along clumsily as if they could fall at any time, Kenshiro's individual arms, legs, and spine can bend and rotate with unnerving realism. The key is in his advanced <strong>musculoskeletal structure</strong>, which researchers at Tokyo University's JSK Lab have been refining since 2001, starting first with Kenshiro's predecessor,&nbsp;Kenta.</p><p class="p1">Built to the scale of a 12-year-old boy, the 110-pound bot is supported by an aluminum skeleton providing a structure for...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Thu, 13 Dec 2012 14:50:00 -0500Falling in love with a bot<img src="" /></P><p><span class="s1"><strong>THE ROBOT IS</strong>&nbsp;</span>smiling at me, his red rubbery lips curved in a cheery grin. I'm seated in front of a panel with 10 numbered buttons, and the robot, a 3-foot-tall, legless automaton with an impish face, is telling me which buttons to push and which hand to push them with: "Touch seven with your right hand; touch three with your left."</p><p class="p2"><span class="s1">The idea is to go as fast as I can. When I make a mistake, he corrects me; when I speed up, he tells me how much better I'm doing. Despite the simplicity of our interactions, I'm starting to like the little guy. Maybe it's his round silvery eyes and moon-shaped...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By Robert ItoSun, 09 Dec 2012 13:00:00 -0500The tiny transforming robot that can turn into (almost) anything<img src="" /></P><p>How do you build a real-life Transformer capable of molding itself into nearly any shape, no matter how complex? According to MIT's Neil Gershenfeld and his colleagues, <strong>you start small</strong>.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2">Meet the Milli-Motein. Although it doesn't look like much at first, the caterpillar-sized robot is capable of bending, twisting, elongating, and combining with an endless number of other links <strong>into nearly any shape you can imagine</strong>, from coffee cups to airplane turbines.&nbsp;Its innovation is "based on a process that's several billion years old, entrenched in every cell in our bodies," says Mark Wilson at...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Tue, 04 Dec 2012 10:42:00 -0500The robot that learns to beat you at ping-pong<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The story:</strong> "Humanity is on the road to losing another game to the superior programming of a machine," says Mike Epstein at <em>Geekosystem</em>. Researchers at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany have created a robotic arm that learns ping-pong from humans and picks up new moves as it competes against them. Head researcher Katharina Muelling and her team guided a robotic arm through increasingly difficult ping-pong shots fed from a human opponent. After taking in these moves, the robot was able to use the basic information it learned to respond to new and more difficult game scenarios it wasn...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 29 Oct 2012 13:44:00 -0400Pet-Proto: The U.S. military's clumsy humanoid rescue robot<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> If DARPA's new human-like machine is any indication, we won't have much to fear in the event of a robot apocalypse. Nicknamed Pet-Proto, the new bot from the U.S. military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency can run, jump, climb over objects, and reportedly even drive a car. (Watch a video below.) The tricky part about programming these kind of bipedal robots, though, is getting them to maintain their balance, says Spencer Ackerman at <em>Wired</em>, something we humans don't have to worry much about. "Getting a robot to climb across an industrial catwalk and operate power tools is a...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 25 Oct 2012 13:25:00 -0400Meet Thermite: The firefighting robot of the future<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> Firefighting is dangerous work, so why not send in the machines? Enter Thermite, an ultra-durable, remote-control mini-tank conceived for the U.S. Army, but finding new work as a firefighting robot that can go where humans can't. Defense contractor Howe and Howe Technologies originally designed Thermite, which weighs in at 1,300 pounds, to neutralize Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in combat zones, equipping it with a hose that pumps out 500 gallons of water per minute with the aid of a mounted camera. (Watch a demonstration below.) The key to Thermite's firefighting prowess is an...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 12 Oct 2012 16:48:00 -040010 robots inspired by animals: A slideshow [Updated]<img src="" /></P><p>Roboticists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have developed a mechanized sea turtle, dubbed "Naro-Tartaruga." The aluminum explorer bot, unlike its slow-poke real-life cousins, is actually quite speedy, swimming elegantly through the water at 6.6 feet per second. "This thing could kick some butt,"&nbsp;says Alyssa&nbsp;Danigelis&nbsp;at<em>&nbsp;Discovery News</em>. "All that's missing is a ninja eye mask." Here, nine other robots inspired by animals:</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 04 Oct 2012 12:25:00 -0400Cockroaches controlled by remote control: A search-and-rescue breakthrough?<img src="" /></P><p>Robots inspired by the animal kingdom are nothing new. But what about tiny creatures bio-engineered to become, essentially, machines? That's the weird premise behind a new experiment from researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU), who have found a way to control the movements of living, breathing cockroaches using a joystick &mdash; much the way you steer a remote-control car. Here's what you should know:</p><p><strong>Why turn cockroaches into remote-control cyborgs?</strong><br />The thinking is that a smart network of digitally enhanced bugs equipped with miniature cameras can quickly comb through disaster...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 10 Sep 2012 15:22:00 -0400The Pentagon's robo-cheetah: Now faster than Usain Bolt<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The </strong><strong>video:</strong> Remember our old pal robo-cheetah? The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)'s four-legged speedbot&nbsp;set another milestone when it recently hit 28.3 mph on a treadmill, besting its previous record of 18 mph. (Watch below.) For those keeping score, that's faster than&nbsp;Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth, who peaked at a mere 27.8 mph in 2009 during the 100-meter sprint. Of course, robo-cheetah tripped and fell on what would have been its face (if it had one) a few seconds after reaching its peak speed, and is not yet fit to keep pace with real cheetahs, which regularly...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 07 Sep 2012 15:15:00 -0400Shimi: The incredible dancing DJ robot<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> Watch your back, human DJs. Researchers at Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology have developed a dancing&nbsp;robot called Shimi that picks tunes from your smartphone, understands your unspoken commands, and reacts to the crowd to keep the dance floor bumping. (Watch a demo video below.) The robotic disc jockey, which was unveiled at Google's I/O conference in San Francisco on Thursday, moves to the beat, bobbing its little head and tapping its feet. The 1-foot-tall gadget, which will be sold starting in 2013 by startup robotic toy company Tovbot, also scans the room to make sure...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 29 Jun 2012 15:22:00 -0400The 'Last Moment Robot' that comforts patients dying alone<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> Artist and designer Dan Chen from the Rhode Island School of Design wants us to question the value of intimacy in a world increasingly dominated by technology. To that end, he's created a unique art installation &mdash; an end-of-life care machine tasked with comforting dying patients during their final moments. Chen invites people to lay in a hospital bed as the "Last Moment Robot" caresses the person's forearm with its padded, plastic, machine arm. (Watch a demonstration below.) It then reads the following script: "Hello [blank]. I am the Last Moment Robot. I am here to help you and...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 08 Jun 2012 15:32:00 -0400'Joggobot': The robotic jogging companion<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> Sticking to an exercise routine takes dedication, and many fitness junkies swear that a running companion can be a huge help. For those who lack a human partner, researchers Floyd Mueller and Eberhard Grather, of the Exertion Games Lab at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, have developed "Joggobot," a quad-rotor helicopter drone designed to motivate joggers by flying in front of them (watch a video below). The aerial robot uses its camera to spot a colorful pattern on a T-shirt worn by the jogger, and flies at a safe distance ahead. The runner can control Joggobot...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 06 Jun 2012 14:36:00 -0400The tiny snakebots that perform heart surgery<img src="" /></P><p>What's metal, slithers, and may just save your life after a heart attack? The tiny snake-like robots that operating rooms across the country will soon employ to crawl inside your body and perform life-saving surgeries. Here's what you should know about your doctor's new favorite tool:</p><p><strong>What do these robots do?</strong><br />Doctors will use the snakebots to perform routine surgeries on hearts and excise prostate tumors, says Sebastian Anthony at <em>ExtremeTech</em>. The diminuitive machines are equipped with a variety of surgical tools, including tiny cameras, scissors, and forceps.&nbsp;Surgeons make a small keyhole...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 30 May 2012 17:50:00 -0400The amazing robots that do the 'Thriller' dance in sync<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> MIT's Patrick Bechon and Jean-Jacques Slotine have come up with a novel way to get robots to synchronize their activities, drawing inspiration from how bacteria interact. And to demonstrate their work, Bechon and Slotine chose a dance number that has seen more than its share of inspiring ensemble performances: Michael Jackson's "Thriller." The researchers programmed a group of humanoid robots from Aldebaran Robotics to dance in unison by sensing their environment and coordinating their movements through a central server &mdash; rather than trying to awkwardly follow one another directly...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 29 May 2012 10:00:00 -0400