News, Robotics

Swarm of 1,000 robots self-assemble in complex shapes


In a breakthrough in robotics, researchers have programmed a swarm consisting of a whooping 1,024 members which can assemble in programmable 2-D shapes. The demonstration might provide insights in how natural self-assembling swarms operate, like ants who join up to form bridges for the good of the colony. …

News, Robotics

Origami-bot folds itself from one single sheet of electronics, then walks away

Photo: Seth Kroll

Inspired by the ancient Japanese art of Origami, engineers at Harvard and MIT have developed an amazing robot that stats off as one single sheet, then folds itself into a complex shape in under four minutes, before making a gentleman’s exit. The potential applications of this display are numerous. For instance, launching payload in space is extremely expensive so any efforts to curve mass or volume are much sought after. Imagine satellites or robots that start off from an easy to transport shape, only to fold into desires geometries once deployed in orbit. Self-assemble, then run! This is the first demonstrated robot that builds itself and also performs a function,…

Feature Post, Robotics

Meet Jibo, the family robot or the HAL 9000 you always wished for


Designed by the world’s foremost social robotics expert, MIT’s Cynthia Breazeal, Jibo looks like a cross between HAL 9000 and Eve from Wall-E. The robot seeks to become the first in a line of truly intelligent robot helpers that not only assist the family with chores, but become part of it as well. Is this cute, crawling white desktop nothing more than parts and gears or will it genuinely reach its objective? This a debate I’d like you, the reader, to participate in. Its makers market Jibo as not just a three axis motor or smart software – he’s part of the family! Manufactured emotions aside, Jibo’s hardware does indeed sound…

Biology, Research, Robotics

Muscle-driven tiny biobots can walk on command

Photo: University of Illinois

Rashid Bashir, the head of bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is one of the pioneers leading a new field of robotics which deals with bio-bots. These tiny robots, less than a centimeter in size, combine biological and mechanical components to meet a certain purpose. Recently, Bashir and his team demonstrated a bio-bot that’s powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function. Biological machines are making their first baby slides Previously, the team demonstrated bio-bots powered by beating heart cells from rats. Unfortunately, heart cells introduce a lot of limitations because the cells constantly contract. Desirably, you want full control…

News, Robotics

Robot passes the Turing Test for the first time in history


The 65 year-old iconic Turing Test was passed for the very first time by a supercomputer program named Eugene Goostman. Eugene managed to convince 33% of the human judges that it too was human. The Turing Test The Turing test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human (via Wikipedia). In this test, a human judge engages in natural language conversations with a human and a machine. If the judge can’t tell which is the human and which is the program, the machine passes the test. The test itself doesn’t check the robot’s ability to give straight or correct answers,…

Robotics, Technology

Bionic prosthetic allows disabled to run, climb and even dance – watch this TED talk!


Hugh Herr, head of the Lab’s Biomechatronics research group, spoke at TED 2014 on March 19 about his group’s work in creating bionic prosthetic limbs, and their goal to eliminate human disability through technology.  For Herr, his work and involvement is deeply personal, having lost both his lower limbs in a climbing accident 30 years ago.   As he took the stage, Herr dazzled the audience as he walked to and fro wearing the latest bionic prosthetic limbs developed at his lab. Were it not for their mechanical appearance, surely no one could have noticed he had lost both his legs. His talk is deeply inspiring and extremely fascinating, as…

News, Robotics, Science

Robot fish is remarkably similar to the real thing

soft robot fish

Isaac Asimov, the father of the three laws of robotics, made some startling predictions many years ago about how thet future might look like. He’s been dead on in some respects, however the writer miscalculated how advanced robots would be in 2014 and how integrated these would become in human society. You see, before robots become effectively integrated in society, there are a number of challeges that need to be overcome. Robots need to be more agile, more efficient and, of course, cheaper. The number one demand, however, is for robots to become compliant with human behaviour, something that has proved to be more difficult to attain that thought at…

News, Other, Research, Robotics, Technology

Robot prosthetic helps drummer play like a three-armed cyborg

Photo: Georgia Tech

A freak accident left Jason Barnes without his left arm below the elbow – a disheartening matter by all means, made worse when considering he also used to be a drummer. The young man did not despair, however, and as an Atlanta Institute of Music and Media student he sought to fill in his missing arm as best as he could. He built his own prosthetic device shortly after the accident, and could  bang the drums by moving his elbow up and down. His prosthetic, however, was a cruel joke compared to his old hand which he used to bang his kit. Georgia Tech Professor Gil Weinberg entered the scene and built an…


YouTube’s craziest DIY projects: a 2-tonne mechanical insect


We all had our various obsessions as children, but most of us grew out of them and went on to get sensible jobs and take up sensible hobbies… not so Matt Denton from Winchester in Hampshire, UK. Matt’s company Micromagic Systems worked for four years to build a 2-tonne, driveable, turbo diesel hexapod monster which it describes as “the biggest all-terrain operational hexapod robot in the world.” The 2.8 metre tall machine is driven by Matt himself, and uses a complex system of computer-guided hydraulic legs fitted with an array of sensors to make sure the hexapod remains steady while on the move. The hexapod is powered by a Linux…

Robotics, Tech

How to prevent oil mist: the unseen peril of technology manufacturing

oil mist

In a machine shop environment all kinds of physical dangers can arise during manufacturing. Operators, depending on how safe the environment they work is in, may be exposed to such risks as  slip-and-falls, lacerations, lifting-related strains or burns. As such, certain safety measures are typically taken which all operators need to adhere to for their own protection. Manufacturing technology, be it a small scale CNC shop or industrial robots worth millions of dollars, also need to meet certain safety policies in order to operate. There’s another hazard that’s rarely mentioned, however, because it’s “invisible”. If you’re a machinist or frequently work with machine manufacturing you know I’m referring to oil mist….