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Robots

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Sony Aibo Robot Dog Update
Sony Electronics has just released an extensive software update (Version 2.50) for its autonomous robot puppy companion, Aibo (ERS1000). Once updated, owners will gain access to new programmable resources as well as several new whimsical capabilities, such as the ability to virtually feed Aibo cookies, potty train it and lots more. Read more for two videos and additional information.

MIT Robot Cheetah
MIT’s new mini cheetah robot is springy, light on its feet and has a range of motion that rivals a champion gymnast. This four-legged bot may look small, but it can bend and swing its legs wide, enabling it to walk either right-side up or upside down. The robot can easily traverse uneven terrain about twice as fast as an average person’s walking speed. Read more for a video and additional information.

M-Blocks 2.0 Self-Assembling Robots
Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveil M-Blocks 2.0, which are basically modular robots equipped with flywheels inside them that spin at 20,000 rpm. When the blocks come to an abrupt stop, the angular momentum propels them in that direction, which allows them to stack themselves or just flip over. Read more for a video and additional information.

MIT Bill-E Assembler Robot
Researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms have unveiled BILL-E (Bipedal Isotropic Lattice Locomoting Explorer), an assembler robot with awith a small hinged arm equipped with tools for clamping down on structures called “voxels”. These enable the robot to navigate 3D space without a complex system of cameras, sensors and algorithms, but by simply keeping track of its position counting its steps on whatever structure it’s tasked with building, sort of like a pixel in an image. Read more for a video and additional information.

OpenAI Robot Rubik's Cube
Photo credit: OpenAI
San Francisco–based AI research lab OpenAI managed to successfully train a robotic hand to manipulate a cube with extraordinary dexterity. That’s right, using a reinforcement-learning algorithm, the hand taught itself how to manipulate the cube with a technique modeled after how animals learn. It simulated various conditions, and trained the robot to solve the cube to keep going regardless of any unknown physical factors. Read more for two videos and additional information.

Knightscope Police Robot Woman
You’d think a police robot would always be ready to help those in need, but that wasn’t the case when Cogo Guebara tried to summon one’s help. She rushed over to press its emergency alert button after seeing a brawl break out nearby in Salt Lake Park, Los Angeles, but rather than alert actual police offers, HP RoboCop loudly said “Step out of the way,” and then continued to roll away playing an ‘intergalactic tune’, while pausing periodically to say ‘Please keep the park clean.’ Read more for two videos and additional information.

Sensitive Skin Robots
Professor Gordon Cheng and his team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed small hexagonal plates that robots can use as electronic skin, giving them a sense of touch. Their latest project was covering a human-sized robot with 1,260 of these cells, thus creating the world’s first autonomous humanoid robot with artificial skin covering its entire body. Yes, even the soles of its feet. Read more for a video and additional information.

Scientist Cyborg Neuron
English-American scientst Dr Peter Scott-Morgan is dying from a terminal illness, and plans on becoming the world’s first full cyborg. Scott-Morgan was diagnosed with an incurable terminal motor neuron disease in 2017, a condition that damages parts of the nervous system and affects the body’s ability to function properly. The final stage of this transformation is called laryngectomy, which requires that his voice box be surgically removed to reduce the risk of aspiration because it prevents food, liquids and saliva from going into the lungs, thus causing pneumonia. Read more for a video of his avatar and additional information.

Hero Arm Prosthetic
How about a prosthetic arm that grows with you? Meet the Hero Arm by Open Bionics. Each one of these bionic arms is custom-built using 3D scanning / printing technologies, and it’s also the first to be medically certified. It utilizes multiple sensors to enable its wearer to control the hand, complete with haptic vibrations, sounds, buttons, and lights for intuitive operation. Read more for a video and additional information.

Caltech Leonardo Robot
Caltech’s LEONARDO (LEg ON Aerial Robotic DrOne) robot can now balance itself and even walk, using drone propeller thrusters. It’s mainly composed of carbon fiber, stands 0.75-meters tall, and weighs in at just 2.75 kilograms, which means that the thrusters mounted on either side of its torso will eventually be able to lift it off the ground. Read more for the latest progress video and additional information.