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Posts Tagged "robotics"

Budding Scientist

Hot Bots: How Arduino Teaches Kids the Science behind Modern Gizmos

Guest post by Michael R. Duffey There is a wide variety of creative projects which can help introduce children to the world of microcontrollers.  A microcontroller is simply a small computer that can interact with the outside world.  It can connect different types of “inputs” (such as sensing a motion, force, or temperature change) to [...]

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But Seriously...

Stunning Live Visual Effects in Box


Wow. This is the most awesome thing I saw yesterday, even though I watched – and enjoyed – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. This short video entitled, “Box,” packed a bigger punch in five minutes than Joss Whedon and ABC did in an hour. Invoking the classic Arthur C. Clarke line, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Need a Hand? Now You Can Print One

Shea - heart

“Every 4 1/2 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect.” That translates to 1 of just 33 babies being born with a defect in the U.S. Of these, about 1,500 babies, or 4 out of every 10,000 babies are born missing a hand or arm (“upper limb reduction”). While crude replacements have been [...]

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Solar-Powered Ford Aims to Drive Off-Grid


Solar-powered cars have been little more than a novelty to date, experimental vehicles resembling photovoltaic-laden surfboards designed mostly for racing across deserts. Expensive batteries, relatively inefficient PV energy conversion and the lack of intense sunlight in many places have made sun-powered passenger vehicles impractical. Ford is looking to change that with a version of its [...]

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What Is the Uncanny Valley? [Video]

uncanny valley chart

Lifelike robots and animations can elicit a response that’s somewhere between uncomfortable and creeped out. Scientific American editor Larry Greenemeier explains why in our latest Instant Egghead video: More to explore: What Should a Robot Look Like? (Scientific American) Is the Uncanny Valley Real? (BBC Future) Translation of Masahiro Mori’s 1970 paper (IEEE Spectrum) – [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Scientists Move to Patent Octopus Robot


Scientists have spent years crafting a very special, creepy robot. One that can crawl over obstacles, swim through surf and grasp just about any object. To achieve all of these tasks, the robot needed to be unlike most other bots. It needed to be soft. In late 2011, a team of researchers in Italy had [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

New Views into the Octopus’s Bizarre Moves

octopus swim move

We’ve known for centuries that octopuses get around one of two ways: one, by crawling over surfaces with their arms, or, two, swimming with the help of their siphon’s jet. But a new study (pdf) shows us that their movement is not quite so simple—and is far more fascinating. A team of researchers has been [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Robot Octopus Swims with Lifelike Arms [Video]

swimming robot octopus

Most octopuses get around primarily by crawling along the seafloor. And if they need to get somewhere in a hurry, they can employ their funnels to jet away like their pelagic cousins, squid. Researchers in Greece, however, have made a robot octopus that can propel itself through the water using only its eight arms. Their [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Will the Robot Uprising Be Squishy?

soft robot octopus

Octopuses offer an extreme engineering challenge: They are almost infinitely flexible, entirely soft-bodied and incredibly intelligent. Are we vertebrate humans ever going to be able to build anything as deformable and complex as a real octopus? Carmel Majidi, of the Soft Machines Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, explored this question in a recent paper in [...]

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Box–The Synthesis of Real and Digital Space (with Robots!)

A scene from "Escape" segment of "Box"

Watch, and have your mind bent, blown, and boggled. Astounding. Appropriately, this video ends with the Arthur C. Clarke quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” If you’ve recovered from your state of awe and want to learn more about this performance, I’ve grabbed a couple of descriptions directly from the website “Bot [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Paralyzed Woman Walks Again, with the Aid of a Robot

Amanda in her wheelchair

ASPEN. Life can change in an instant. We all know this, but we forget, or try to forget, this fact—until something happens that makes it hard to ignore. An attractive blonde in a bright red blouse sits in a wheelchair before the assembled scientists, doctors, writers and members of the community. We are in a [...]

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Talking back

Action Plan: Making Brain-Controlled Prosthetics That Can Open a Clothespin

Last year a group of researchers at Brown and Harvard universities reported on a study called Braingate, in which a paralyzed woman picked up a container of coffee with a robotic arm and drank from it through a straw, an action directed by electrical signals from her motor cortex. Brain-controlled interfaces have advanced dramatically during [...]

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