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Homemade Mecha Robot

Japanese engineer Masaaki Nagumo has always wanted a real-life Mobile Suit Gundam mecha. So, he built LW-Mononofu, a 28-foot-tall robot that weighs in at 7-tons as a project for his employer, industrial machinery maker Sakakibara Kikai. It took six years to complete, with movable arms / fingers, a flexible upper body, and the ability to walk forwards and backwards. Plus, what would a mecha be without a weapon, as it comes equipped with a metal gun that shoots sponge balls at a speeds of up to 87 mph. Read more for five more cool robots you won’t believe exist.

Boeing Echo Voyager

Boeing has won a $43-million contract with the U.S. Navy to build four Orca Extra-Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (XLUUV). These autonomous robotic submarines are based on the Echo Voyager, but “will be modular in construction with the core vehicle providing guidance and control, navigation, autonomy, situational awareness, core communications, power distribution, energy and power, propulsion and maneuvering, and mission sensors,” the Pentagon announcement said. Read more for another video and additional information.

MetaFly Biomimetic Creature
Created by aeronautical engineer Edwin Van Ruymbeke, the MetaFly may look like a real insect from afar, but it’s actually a flying biomimetic (synthetic methods that mimic natural processes) creature that weighs under 10 grams. It measures 7.5-inches long, has an 11.4-inch wingspan, and wings that are run by a coreless mechanical motor with an aluminum heat sink and powered by a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. To charge it, simply place it in the included 2-channel radio-controlled remote that uses four AA batteries. Read more for a video, additional pictures and a link to where you can pre-order one.

MIT Mini Cheetah

MIT has been known for their robotics projects, and they’re latest is definitely no slouch. They’ve developed a new mini cheetah, and it’s the first four-legged robot capable of doing a backflip. This 20-pound limber quadruped can bend and swing its legs wide, enabling it to walk either right side up or upside down. Plus, it can also trot over uneven terrain about twice as fast as an average person’s walking speed. Read more for more interesting images.

Chatty Gargoyle
Flight delayed at Denver International Airport this week? You’re in luck, they city is celebrating its 24th birthday with a playful nod at the many conspiracy theories that have surrounded the facility since its construction, with “Chatty Gargoyle”. This animatronic robot stationed in the airport’s main terminal surprises travelers with phrases like “Welcome to Illuminati Headquarters!” Read more to see what all the fuss is about.

Elowan Plant-Robot Hybrid
MIT researchers have created Elowan, which is basically a cybernetic lifeform, or a plant in direct dialogue with a machine. This plant-robot hybrid is interfaced through its own electrochemical signals with a robotic extension that drives it towards light. Since plants have natural bioelectrochemical signals inside them, they get excited in response to environmental conditions and conduct these signals between tissues as well as organs. Read more for a video and additional information.

MIT Robot Jenga
MIT’s new robot, developed by researchers at the MCube lab, led by Alberto Rodriguez, uses machine-learning and sensory hardware to learn how to play the game Jenga. This technology could be used in robots for manufacturing assembly lines. Simply put, it’s equipped with a soft-pronged gripper, force-sensing wrist cuff, and an external camera, all of which it uses to see and feel the tower and its individual blocks. As the robot carefully pushes against a block, a computer takes in visual and tactile feedback from its camera as well as cuff, and then compares these measurements to moves that the robot previously made. “It also considers the outcomes of those moves — specifically, whether a block, in a certain configuration and pushed with a certain amount of force, was successfully extracted or not. In real-time, the robot then “learns” whether to keep pushing or move to a new block, in order to keep the tower from falling,” according to the paper. Read more to see it in-action.

Amazon Scout Robot Self Driving Car
Amazon.com has started testing Scout, a six-wheeled, self-driving blue robot that delivers packages. The company is currently field testing six Scout robots in a neighborhood of Snohomish County in Washington, during weekday daylight hours. Scout robots are “the size of a small cooler, and roll along sidewalks at a walking pace,” according to Amazon. “We are delighted to welcome Amazon Scout into our community. Similar to Amazon, we are always looking for new ways to better deliver service to our residents. From the latest Amazon innovation to cutting edge technology, Snohomish County is a great place for entrepreneurial creativity,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. read more for a video and additional information.

Knightscope K7 Security Robot

Forget humans, the Knightscope K7 is a fully autonomous, four-wheeled security robot that weighs in at 770 lbs. It’s designed for multi-terrain applications and is most practical for use in airports, prisons, power substations, and solar / wind farms. This robot boasts holonomic steering which means it can move like a “crab” rotating or moving side to side. It uses LiDAR, sonar, GPS, thermal imaging, license plate recognition, and people detection to ensure it always stays on course. Read more for another video, additional pictures and information.

Robot Scientist Amniote

Photo credit: Geek.com
Ever wonder how the earliest land animals moved? If so, you’ll be glad to know that scientists, led by evolutionary biologist John Nyakatura at Humboldt University in Berlin, have used a 290-million-year old fossil skeleton to create a moving robot model of prehistoric life. This four-legged plant-eater lived before the dinosaurs and believed to be called a “stem amniote”, or an early land-dwelling animal that later evolved into modern mammals. It fascinates scientists “because of its position on the tree of life,” said Nyakatura. The team partnered with robotics expert Kamilo Melo at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne to develop a model of how the creature moved before building OroBOT. This robot is made of motors connected by 3D-printed plastic and steel parts and “helps us to test real-world dynamics, to account for gravity and friction,” said Melo. Read more for a compilation of interesting images gathered from around the web.