A robotic hip exoskeleton for amputees

Researchers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Center at the University of Utah, US, have engineered a combined exoskeleton with a passive prosthesis that significantly improved walking for above-knee amputees compared to a passive prosthesis alone. Results from the phase 1 trial were reported on Tuesday in Nature Medicine. The researchers noted that … Continue reading A robotic hip exoskeleton for amputees

The surprisingly complicated technology that goes into picking winners

This article first appeared in Cosmos Weekly on 4 June 2021. For more stories like this, subscribe to Cosmos Weekly. Can robots be trained to pick up after us? A recent breakthrough in machine learning could point the way toward a much more tactile future for these smartest of machines. In April the ABC carried … Continue reading The surprisingly complicated technology that goes into picking winners

The surprisingly complicated technology that goes into picking winners

Can robots be trained to pick up after us? A recent breakthrough in machine learning could point the way toward a much more tactile future for these smartest of machines. In April the ABC carried a report about a new machine put to work in the apple orchards of Tasmania, helping pickers – of whom … Continue reading The surprisingly complicated technology that goes into picking winners

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What does a robot think? Talking to yourself isn’t just for humans – it’s for robots, too. Alexa, Google and Siri often hear us incorrectly, so Italian researchers designed a robot that ‘thinks’ to learn why other robots are getting so confused. ‘Pepper’ the robot processes instructions out loud, so the user can see where … Continue reading You may have missed…

Video: Soft robot withstands ocean depths

A team of engineers have announced that their deep-sea exploration vessel can operate at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The deep sea is famously difficult to explore, because it’s hard to make vessels strong enough to withstand the high pressure on the ocean floor. This research proposes a different tactic, with a soft and … Continue reading Video: Soft robot withstands ocean depths

School of fishy little robots

Why have a school of fish when you can have a school of robots? This is a question recently answered by a team of researchers from Harvard University, who have developed fish-inspired robots – Bluebots – that swim in an independently organised swarm that simulates schooling behaviours.  According to their paper, published in Science Robotics, Bluebots use a combination … Continue reading School of fishy little robots

Creating nanobots like they do in movies

Researchers in Australia and the UK are bringing a sci-fi concept closer to reality as they work to overcome a major hurdle in the design of self-assembling nanobots. Fans of the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War will know the scene where Tony Stark taps a panel on his chest to release a billion tiny robots, … Continue reading Creating nanobots like they do in movies

Diving with Clio is quite an adventure

Engineers in the US have built an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that appears to up the ante in terms of underwater skills and endurance. Clio can move vertically and drift horizontally along the water column while sampling large volumes of seawater to collect microbial and chemical data. And it can do this at depths of … Continue reading Diving with Clio is quite an adventure

Making robots useful in the warehouse

Working in a warehouse is tough for robots. Unlike on a production line, where the same motion is constantly repeated, orders and tasks can change, requiring them to adapt. On top of that, different objects require different – and often delicate – handling, and speed and precision are prerequisites. US engineers think they are a … Continue reading Making robots useful in the warehouse

New school of thought on how fish swim

Do fish save energy by swimming in schools? New technology suggests the answer to this old question is yes. German and Chinese scientists used biomimetic fish-like robots and hydrodynamic models to show, they say, that fish take advantage of the swirls of water generated by those in front by applying a simple but previously unknown … Continue reading New school of thought on how fish swim

Can robot cars drive more like us?

Robot cars would be a bit less robotic if they drove a bit more like us, Dutch researchers suggest. And they may have an algorithm for that. Sarvesh Kolekar and colleagues from the Delft University of Technology developed a model they say describes driving behaviour on the basis of one underlying human principle: managing the … Continue reading Can robot cars drive more like us?