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

Robot ‘Olympians’ bring home the silver and $1.3million prize

Six Aussie robots – Rat and Bear (track robots), Bluey and Bingo (four-legged robots) and H1 and H2 (flying drones) – have done Australia proud and coming in second in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Subterranean Challenge – AKA the Robot Olympics – in the US. “This is an amazing result! We are the first … Continue reading Robot ‘Olympians’ bring home the silver and $1.3million prize

Beware the robot bearing gifts

In a future filled with robots, those that pretend to be your friend could be more manipulative than those that exert authority, suggests a new study published in Science Robotics. As robots become more common in the likes of education, healthcare and security, it is essential to predict what the relationship between humans and robots … Continue reading Beware the robot bearing gifts

Meet the robots representing Australia at the ‘robot Olympics’

Even robots have dreams of winning gold – and now Australia has a chance at the DARPA Subterranean Challenge. This week, six Australian robots will compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Subterranean challenge in the US, in hopes of carving their name into the history of underground search and rescue. The DARPA Subterranean … Continue reading Meet the robots representing Australia at the ‘robot Olympics’

Crashlanding geckos rely on their tails to get a grip

Crash landings are quite normal for geckos – it is their habit to launch themselves into leaps between trees to traverse new territory. So how do they stick their landings on impact? They stabilise themselves with their tails, according to a study published in Communications Biology. Geckos use tails to stabalise a crashlanding Researchers, led … Continue reading Crashlanding geckos rely on their tails to get a grip

Colour-changing chameleon-bot

Artificial camouflage may sound more like science fiction than science, but the possibility of donning a colour-changing material that blends chameleon-like into your surroundings has long been probed for its military implications. Now, researchers from Seoul National University, South Korea, have created an artificial ‘skin’ that can almost instantaneously mimic the colours around it. As … Continue reading Colour-changing chameleon-bot

How do mass drone displays work?

As Australia burned through 2019’s devastating Black Summer, a Change.org petition circulated calling for the cancellation of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show. While the spectacular display of pyrotechnics has been an annual tradition since 1976, some thought it would be tasteless amidst the ongoing bushfires. There were also general concerns about the safety of … Continue reading How do mass drone displays work?

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

Looking ‘weird’ protects robot lizards from predation

It’s often thought that prey animals face a complicated biological paradox: how do they stand out to attract potential mates, while remaining inconspicuous enough not to attract the attention of their predators? New research from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) changes our understanding of the evolution of stand-out behaviour or appearance among prey … Continue reading Looking ‘weird’ protects robot lizards from predation

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

Where’s my flying car?

Backed by billions in venture capital and a recent IPO, one startup aims to have its flying taxi on the market in three years. While they may be ahead of the pack, they’re not alone. Is this the decade we finally get our Jetsons car? The most obvious reality check draws on our experiences around … Continue reading Where’s my flying car?