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Watch a tiny, magnetically powered robot construction crew go to work PDF Print E-mail
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Watch a tiny, magnetically powered robot construction crew go to work
BY Jamie Rigg
April 17th 2014

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A robot doesn't have to big, powerful and terrifying to be worthwhile, and many people are working on miniature machines that are just as cool.

Some of these endeavors show promise in medicine, but there are plenty of potential uses for microbots, especially when you can persuade a swarm of them to work together. Research outfit SRI reckons tiny automatons have a bright future in manufacturing, thanks to its new method for precisely controlling individuals within a larger group. You see, one of the best ways of propelling and controlling microbots is by using magnets. and it's because there's no need for an on-board power source that we can make 'em so small. This poses a problem, however, as a pack of bots will all respond to a magnetic field in the same way, making it hard to give anything but a blanket order.

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What SRI's done though, is to create special surfaces for the microbots using printed circuit boards that let you control magnetism at a very local level. In this way, several of the things can get on with completely different tasks in close proximity to one another. And, to demonstrate how precisely microbots can be controlled with this technology, SRI's had them building small structures in the lab. The thinking is that such technology could be used for creating "micro-factories" that manufacture electronics and the like, but SRI's also interested in seeing what other applications researchers can come up with. In which case, we can look forward to more awesome clips of the microbots in action, just like the one below.



Source: SRI International
Article source: engadget.

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Total recall: Japanese robot finds lost things PDF Print E-mail
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Total recall: Japanese robot finds lost things
28 February 2012

(Reuters) - Forgot where you put your glasses? A Japanese robot can find them for you, and guide you to where they are.



The red and white robot, named EMIEW2, is about the size of a six-year-old child and glides everywhere on wheels at the bottom of its legs, its round, white face with two black eyes vaguely reminiscent of the iconic "Hello Kitty." But the robot, the latest version of one that debuted in 2005 and developed by electronics firm Hitachi, is more than just another cute face. It has enough artificial intelligence to identify and locate objects it has been shown, as well as recognizing human faces. Shown a digital camera in a recent demonstration, the robot said, "That's probably a DSLR camera."

When it sees an object, the robot uses two cameras mounted on its head to compare the color and shape with images stored in its database. "EMIEW collects images of various objects from the internet and saves them on an external database," said developer Takashi Sumiyoshi. "Then, when you show it something, EMIEW figures out what it is by comparing the color and shape. If you name an object, EMIEW searches for it and guides you to where it is located."

To do so, the robot communicates with a network of cameras mounted around the room. Asked to find a watch, the robot said, "The watch is on Mr. Tanaka's desk. I'll lead you to it." It then glided toward the desk at a speed of 6 km (3.7 miles) an hour, about the pace at which a human can follow with brisk steps.

The unit weighs 14 kg (31 lbs) and its legs fold up for easy carrying. The wheels feature "posture control" technology that helps it make smoother turns. "We developed this robot to mainly provide guidance services for people, so it has to be nimble in moving around without bumping into people, and light as well so it wouldn't hurt anybody even if it accidentally hit them," Sumiyoshi said.

The robot's developers have no plans to commercialize it but believe it will eventually become a standard feature of care homes for the elderly, hospitals, tourist attractions -- and ultimately, the home.

(Reporting by Hyun Oh; editing by Elaine Lies and Daniel Magnowski)
Source: Reuters.

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With 24 high-tech fingers, Japan robot washes hair PDF Print E-mail
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With 24 high-tech fingers, Japan robot washes hair
6 October 2011

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Panasonic's hair-washing robot washes hair on a mannequin at a demonstration in Tokyo October 4, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

(Reuters) - It may look like a glorified salon chair, but a new Japanese hair-washing robot replicates the dexterous touch of a human hand to care for the locks of the elderly and the infirm.

Its creators at electronics firm Panasonic say the machine features the latest robotic technology and could help replace human care-givers in this rapidly aging nation without degrading the quality of the service. "Using robotic hand technology and 24 robotic fingers, this robot can wash the hair or handicapped in the way human hands do in order to help them have better daily lives," said developer Tohru Nakamura.

The customer leans back in what looks like a regular salon chair, over a sink, and the machine -- upgraded from a 16-fingered version -- shampoos, massages the scalp and rinses in about three minutes. Conditioning and a blow-dry add another five minutes. Nakamura said Japan's aging society supports a healthy market in care-giving robot technologies. "We will develop more care-giving technologies for the elderly or handicapped in Japan and will export those technologies to other aging societies, such as South Korea and China, in the future," Nakamura said.

The hair-washing machine is not available to consumers at this point, and a price has yet to be set. Panasonic plans to start sales next year, targeting nursing homes and hospitals.



(Reporting by Hyun Oh; editing by Elaine Lies)
Source: Reuters.

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Image A robot developed by Darmstadt University of Technology (L) controls the ball while facing the Free University of Berlin's robot at the RoboCup German Open 2011 in Magdeburg PDF Print E-mail
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A robot developed by Darmstadt University of Technology (L) controls the ball while facing the Free University of Berlin's robot at the RoboCup German Open 2011 in Magdeburg
Picture: EPA

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Robots massage, clean, and amuse at CES PDF Print E-mail
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Robots massage, clean, and amuse at CES
8 January 2011

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The WheeMe robot from DreamBots Inc massages the back of an attendee at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show

The world's first massage robot was at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to soothe those sore from dashing about the gargantuan gadget extravaganza.

Palm-sized WheeMe massagers made by Israel-based startup DreamBots were in a newly established CES robotics zone with creations ranging from therapeutic mechanical seals to playful lifelike baby dinosaurs.

"It gives you a nice tickling feeling," Karen Slutzky of DreamBots said as a WheeMe maneuvered independently on the back of a woman laying on a massage table at CES, which ends Sunday. "It is a gentle skin massage; very relaxing. And, it doesn't fall off." Curvy, car-shaped WheeMe units have wheels designed with "fingerlettes" and the robots vibrate. Invented by Slutzky's husband, Eyal Avramovich, the robots use feedback from sensors to not ride off backs or stomachs and to stop at waistlines. "It doesn't know where it has been, but it knows where not to go," Slutzky said. "We are working on making it smarter so it can go up onto the bum and down onto the leg." The couple was showing prototypes at CES and looking for a partner to bring models to the US market late this year.

Elsewhere in the robotics zone, Takatoshi Kuno of Cyberdine in Japan demonstrated a mechanized "suit" for helping the elderly or paralyzed walk. Robot Suit HAL (hybrid assistive limb) consisted of a waist harness and mechanized extensions strapped to a user's legs. The suit read impulses from nerves in the legs to enable people to walk. "I want to make a Tony Stark 'Iron Man' suit, but it will take a while," Kuno said in a playful reference to the comic and film hero. About 160 HAL suits are being rented by hospitals or home care facilities in Japan for use by the elderly and Cyberdine was also at CES looking for a partner with the clout to get the robotic devices into the US.

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Takatoshi Kuno demonstrates Cyberdyne's Challenge HAL hybrid assistive limb

Paro was in the zone with fluffy robotic seals certified as a medical devices by the US Food and Drug Administration. The Japan-based company pitched the seals as therapeutic aids for older people suffering from depression or dementia. Sensors in the 6,000-dollar robotic seals let them react to light, touch, and voices. "Over time it develops a personality and can be trained like an actual pet," a Paro spokesman said. "But, they can go places pets are not allowed."

A third-generation of Pleo toy robot dinosaurs first released in 2007 touted improvements including voice recognition and reacting to temperature and odors. If left out in frigid weather, a Pleo RB (reborn) will catch a cold. On hot days the robots pant from exertion. The faux dinosaurs will play tug-of-war with human companions. If a Pleo RB falls from a table, it will be sore and need to be nursed back to health, according to Derek Dotson of US-based Innvo Labs, the company behind the robotic toys.

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An attendee pets Pleo RB, an interactive "autonomous companion pet"

"It can learn tricks, and when it dances it even shakes its booty a little," Dotson said. "It has always been our goal to blur the line between the robotic and the biological." Pleo RB hit the market days before Christmas with a 469-dollar price tag and has "pretty much sold out," according to Dotson. The zone also featured small robots for vacuuming or mopping floors, and a 400-dollar Windoro robot that cleaned windows.

Square, lightweight Windoro halves used magnets to sandwich glass and then zipped about, scrubbing one side at a time with microfiber pads.

Source: Breitbart.

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Robot waiters in China never lose patience PDF Print E-mail
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Robot waiters in China never lose patience
22 December 2010
By KEN TEH

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In this Dec. 14, 2010 file photo, a customer collects a drink from a robot waiter cycling around a restaurant in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province.

JINAN, China (AP) - Service with a smile also comes with an electronic voice at the Dalu Robot restaurant, where the hotpot meals are not as famous yet as the staff who never lose their patience and never take tips.

The restaurant, which opened this month in Jinan in northern Shandong province, is touted as China's first robot hotpot eatery where robots resembling Star Wars droids circle the room carrying trays of food in a conveyor belt-like system. More than a dozen robots operate in the restaurant as entertainers, servers, greeters and receptionists. Each robot has a motion sensor that tells it to stop when someone is in its path so customers can reach for dishes they want.

The service industry in China has not always kept up with the country's rapid economic growth, and can be quite basic in some restaurants, leading customers in the Dalu restaurant to praise the robots. "They have a better service attitude than humans," said Li Xiaomei, 35, who was visiting the restaurant for the first time. "Humans can be temperamental or impatient, but they don't feel tired, they just keep working and moving round and round the restaurant all night," Li said.

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A robot waiter serving portions of snacks and sauces at a restaurant in Jinan, in eastern China's Shandong province.

Inspired by space exploration, robot technology and global innovation, the restaurant's owner, Zhang Yongpei, said he hopes his restaurant will show the world China is a serious competitor in developing technology. "I hope this new concept shows that China is forward-thinking and innovative," Zhang said.

As customers enter the dimly lit restaurant lined with blinking neon lights to simulate a futuristic environment, a female robot decorated with batting eyelashes greets people with an electronic "welcome." During the meal, crowds of up to 100 customers, are entertained by a dancing and talking robot that looks more like a mannequin with a dress, flapping its arms around in a stiff motion.

Zhang said he hopes to roll out 30 robots—which cost $6,000 each—in the coming months and eventually develop robots with human-like qualities that serve customers at their table and can walk up and down the stairs.

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a robot resembling the star of an animated movie dances to entertain guests at a restaurant in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province.

Associated Press reporter Chi-Chi Zhang in Beijing contributed to this report.
Source: Breitbart.

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A Samurai robot waiter trundles its way down the aisle to serve a group of diners their orders at the Hajime Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand. PDF Print E-mail
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A Samurai robot waiter trundles its way down the aisle to serve a group of diners their orders at the Hajime Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand. Every 30 minutes or so it and its fellow robot waiters halt what they are doing before breaking into a dance.
Picture: Richard Jones/Sinopix / Rex Features

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Japanese electronics parts maker Murata Electronics' robot named Murata Seiko-chan displays its unicycle-riding skills PDF Print E-mail
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Japanese electronics parts maker Murata Electronics' robot named Murata Seiko-chan displays its unicycle-riding skills at CEATEC 2010 in Chiba, east of Tokyo
Picture: REUTERS

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A researcher demonstrates how the Smart Cleaner works at the Taipei Invention Show PDF Print E-mail
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A researcher demonstrates how the Smart Cleaner works at the Taipei Invention Show & Technomart. It has a built-in sensor that cleans an area based on its awareness of how dirty the place is. It also has a security system based on camera optics which alerts the owner via SMS when an intruder is in the house
Picture: REUTERS

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A technician looks at NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover 'Curiosity' PDF Print E-mail
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A technician looks at NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover 'Curiosity', where it is undergoing pre-flight tests in the 'clean room', at the spacecraft assembly facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The Mars Science Laboratory rover, about the size of a Mini-Cooper automobile, is due to be launched on its mission to Mars late 2011, arriving on Mars in August 2012
Picture: REUTERS / NASA

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NASA and General Motors have developed a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2 PDF Print E-mail
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NASA and General Motors have developed a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2, designed to use the same tools as humans, allowing them to work safely side-by-side with humans on Earth and in space
Picture: SIPA PRESS / REX FEATURES

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