1. Tech

    Here’s A “Robotic Elephant Trunk” That’s Actually One Of Doc Ock’s Appendages

    Three years ago, German engineering firm Festo provided proof-of-concept of a mobile robot elephant trunk they'd created, controlled by artificial muscles. Now, that robot trunk has been fully-realized - it can learn, it can crush you, and it's probably about to be purchased by one Doctor Otto Octavius.

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  2. Tech

    The Cubli Is a Real Life Companion Cube That Balances, Jumps, and Spins on Its Corners

    We're not saying they're evil, but ETH Zurich's Institute for Dynamic System is basically Aperture Science. They've built the "Cubli," which is essentially a Companion Cube that can walk, jump, and balance on its edges and corners. We already love it and want to help it get through test chambers.

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  3. Tech

    Anki DRIVE Remote Control AI Race Cars Are on Sale Today and They Are Amazing

    Anki's vision of bringing video games into the real world using sophisticated AI is realized today with the release of Anki DRIVE. The adorable little cars are controlled by AI or remote control from your iOS device and are now available at Apple stores in a 2 car bundle for $199. Additional cars are $69.

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  4. Tech

    DARPA’s Warrior Web Suit Aims To Lighten Loads For Soldiers In The Field

    It's not Iron Man armor quite yet, but the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released video of the latest tests of their Warrior Web undersuit, which they hope will one day be worn under soldiers' uniforms and serve to improve their performance. The project is still in its early stages, but DARPA is working to develop solutions that will make soldiers lives easier by more intelligently distibuting the weight of their heavy packs and capturing wasted energy to help cushion footfalls and carry heavy gear.

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  5. Tech

    New Robot Jelly Fish Is No Less Creepy Than Real Thing, Much More Helpful

    Scientists have been hitting the pool lately. First they were building hive-minded, water-floating robots on behalf of DARPA, but now Virginia Tech's College of Engineering has created a giant, autonomous robot jelly fish. They're even jumping into the pool with that thing. Read on to see what they're doing with these gelatinous monster!

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  6. Tech

    Be Afraid: Robots Are Studying Us, Learning to Mimic Our Movements

    While you surf the web, go about your job, or just generally live your life, scientists are working hard to usher humanity swiftly to its inevitable decline. I realize there are many ways to do this and many fine men and women are on the job, but researchers at Cornell University have been teaching robots how to learn by watching our behavior. That's right. Robots are studying our every move, and they're learning.

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  7. Entertainment

    Glockentar Is The Guitar/Robotic Glockenspiel Mashup We Didn’t Even Know We’d Been Waiting For

    What do you get when you cross the remains of a dismembered guitar with an Arduino powered robotic glockenspiel? In the interest of full disclosure, we've never had occasion to ask ourselves that question. We have an answer to it today, though, and the answer is glockentar, a musical chimera of bells, circuits, strings and light projections know what? Just check out the video. It's one of those "you have to see it for yourself" things.

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  8. Tech

    New Breed of Flying Robot Sees and Avoids Obstacles With Real Time 3D Vision

    Researchers at Cornell University working on a grant from DARPA have crafted a quadrocopter robot that can navigate around obstacles in real-time using a new type of 3D vision. This autonomous vision could pave the way for flying rescue robots that don't have to be controlled by humans and can enter caves or broken-down buildings and navigate on their own. Of course, it also paves the way for flying murderbots that can see us wherever we hide and means no place will ever be safe again, but, you know, you take the good with the bad.

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  9. Weird

    Mech on Wire: This Robot Walks A Tightrope Like It Ain’t No Thing

    If you were planning on making your home safe from the coming robocalypse by ensuring it could only be reached by navigating a series of tightropes a la Prince of Persia, we have some bad news. Apparently, robots can walk tightropes now. Then again, if "tightropes" loomed large in your home defense plan against an army of mechanical marauders bent on world domination, you should probably have a Plan B in place. Because seriously, that is a terrible plan. You can see a video of why after the jump, but Protip: Turn the volume down unless you like being blasted by bad techno.

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  10. Gaming

    Play Physical Chess Over the Internet With Robotic Chessboards

    Even though digital chess played over the Internet has been a common occurrence long before even phones and video game consoles were adept at accessing said Internet, there's still something special about playing chess on a physical chessboard over the Internet. Especially when your opponent's pieces move without any kind of physical interaction. YouTube user FunGowRightNow12 created just this type of chess set, with the much larger goal of enabling people to play board games with each other across the world, regardless of physical location.

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  11. Tech

    Robot Takes Control of Human Arm to Complete Tasks

    Researchers have come up with some pretty amazing ways for robots to accomplish their tasks, be it working together, moving in teams, or imitating the motion of living things in a thoroughly creepy way. However, engineers at the Montpellier Laboratory of Informatics, Robotics, and Microelectronics have developed a technique that is as novel as it is terrifying. Their robot works with humans by taking control of their arm to place a ball in a net.

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  12. Science

    MABEL, World’s Fasted Two-Legged Robot With Knees, Runs 9 Minute Mile

    It may not sound like much, but MABEL's ability to run at a brisk 6.8 miles per hour is a pretty impressive accomplishment in robotics. Headed by Jessy Grizzle, professor of electrical engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan, the members of the MABEL project have a wealth of in-depth knowledge about how complicated walking and running actually are. MABEL is designed to mimic actual human form in great detail, which is exceedingly complicated considering robots don't have automatic feedback response like meatbags who have feet, skin, a brain, a sense of touch, and a built-in sense of balance.

    The process of actually making MABEL run involves a lot of precise calculations, not to mention precise robotics. MABEL has dozens of springs that function as tendons, weighs in at 143 pounds, has a similar weight distribution, and takes running strides during which both of her legs are off the ground for 40% of the time, just like a real human. For the time being, she still requires a boom for lateral stablization, but even considering that, the feat is impressive. While it certainly isn't hard to make a robot that can move and move fast, making robots that can adequately mimic activites humans do without a second thought is the biggest challenge robotics has to face. Thankfully, that should mean they won't be rebelling any time soon.

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  13. Tech

    Singing Robot Head Is Entertaining, Yet Horrifying

    Sometimes technology just gets a little too creepy for its own good. This robotic singing head, created by researchers at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei, is the perfect example. The researchers created a head that can read music and sing a song in a synthesized voice. The research was published in the journal Robotics and Autonomous Systems.

    Led by Chyi-Yeu Lin, the researchers designed the robot to take a picture of the music that is annotated with numbers and words, using cameras that are built into its eyes. An algorithm then determines the right pitch, rhythm, and lyrics from the image and relays the data to a voice synthesizer. The synthesizer matches the sounds in the Mandarin language with the Roman spelling of the lyrics. Once the head knows what to do, it will burst out into song.

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  14. Tech

    Domestic Robots Make Breakfast

    In a match made in domestic heaven, the robots TUM-James and TUM-Rosie have been used to successfully prepare traditional Bavarian breakfast called Weisswurst Frühstück, made of sausage and bread. The robots have previously been used to make more commonplace pancakes. Their skills in the kitchen undoubtedly make them masters of the first meal of the day.

    James is a PR2 robot. He was built by the U.S. robotics firm Willow Garage, and brought to Germany as part of the PR2Beta Program, which seeks to popularize personal robots. At the Technical University Munich (TUM), James began working alongside Rosie, which is a dual-arm robot. The machines have several similarities in design and operation: they both run Robot Operating Systems (ROS), use Hokuyo laser scanners and Kinect 3D sensors, and have omnidirectional mobile bases.

    But despite their similarities each robot performs their own specific tasks in the kitchen. Led by Dr. Michael Beets and Dr. Bernd Radig from the IAS group at TUM, the James robot goes shopping for items needed to make the meal, in addition to slicing a baguette to accompany the sausages that Rosie boils and serves.

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