The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) has implemented new software that enables Boston Dyamics’ Atlas and NASA’s Valkyrie robots to walk with a human sending instructions. This software automatically analyzes the environment using the robot’s sensors and separates it into sections, with each interpreted into a series of polygons to create a model of its surroundings. Next, the robot plans out each of its steps from start to end. Read more for a video demonstration and additional information.
In the near future, the road will be filled with fully autonomous vehicles, with some offering more luxuries than others. Meet EXIGEN. Offering Level 5 Autonomy, this all-electric vehicle even comes with its own robotic butler, which can be thought of as a cargo drone of sorts that is capable of transporting your luggage just about anywhere, while being able to automatically return to its base when finished. Read more for additional pictures and information.
Harvard researchers have just unveiled RoboBee X-Wing, the first robotic bee capable of untethered flight, Measuring 5 centimeters long and weighing in at 259 milligrams, it’s powered by solar cells up top, while the bottom section has all of the drive electronics required to boost 200 volts needed to drive the actuators to flap the wings at 200 Hz. Its design may look a little strange, but that’s because the solar panels had to be kept out of the airflow of the wings, while keeping the center of mass where the wings are. Read more for a video and additional information.
Toyota’s CUE 3 robot that stands six foot 10-inch (2.1m) tall has set a Guinness World Record by shooting 2,020 free throws consecutively. How does it work? It generates a three-dimensional image of where the basket is using sensors on its torso and then adjusts the motors inside its arm and knees to give the shot the right angle and propulsion for a perfect shot each time. Read more for a video and additional information.
Nissan’s Aigamo may not be the first robot duck, but the task it was designed to perform most certainly stands out. Simply put, it keeps farmers’ rice paddies healthy by destroying weeds, eating bugs and fertilizing crops without using harmful chemicals. That’s right, it specializes in muddying the water to prevent weeds from growing by blocking sunlight, thanks to GPS, a WiFi connection and solar power. Read more for this week’s selection of fascinating images from around the web.
NASA’s Astrobee system consists of three cubed-shaped robots, software and a docking station used for recharging. They use electric fans as a propulsion system that allows them to fly freely through the micro-gravity environment of the International Space Station. Cameras and sensors help them “see” and navigate their surroundings, while a perching arm enables them to grasp station handrails in order to conserve energy or to grab and hold items. One of the robots, named “Bumble,” flew on its own for the first time on June 14th just to test basic movements like flying forward and rotating. Read more for a video and additional information.
When it comes to exoskeletons, $40K isn’t a high price to pay for the opportunity to walk again. That is exactly what suitX’s Phoenix modular exoskeleton is set out to do, and at a mere 27-pounds, it’s also touted as one of the lightest models ever made. Building on technology developed by a team from the University of California at Berkeley’s Human Engineering Lab, the exoskeleton is basically a motorized lower-body brace. Users can comfortably wear the exoskeleton in a wheelchair, thanks to an “intuitive interface” that makes transitioning between getting up, walking, and sitting back down, a breeze. Read more for another video and additional information.
Carnegie Mellon researchers unveil a new brain-computer interface (BCI) that enables a person to control a robot arm with their minds without requiring invasive surgery. In their test, they asked participants to control a robotic arm and point it at a moving cursor across a computer screen. They discovered that it was capable of continuously tracking the cursor in real-time smoothly. Read more for a video and additional information.
For those who aren’t familiar with Boston Dynamics, it’s basically an American engineering and robotics design company founded in 1992 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group. They’re most well known for their development of BigDog, a quadruped robot designed for the U.S. military with funding from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). What if they eventually developed an AI-powered, self-aware robot that was able to fight back? Bosstownn Dynamics attempts to show us with their parody video. Read more to watch.
DJI RoboMaster S1 is unlike any other educational robot that you’ve seen before. For starters, it teaches you how to write code using Scratch 3.0 or Python, enabling you to control several of the RoboMaster’s functions, from basic movements and controls to more advanced options like wheel torque optimization. If you’re new to coding, the free “Road to Mastery” program helps you learn all the essentials of coding. Once mastery is achieved, you can use your coding skills to program special functions that can be used during the different gaming modes. Product page. Read more for a hands-on build video, additional pictures and information.