In DARPA’s Virtual Robotics Challenge, 28 competing teams applied software of their own design to a simulated robot in an attempt to complete a series of tasks that are prerequisites for more complex activities. Just seven teams advanced to the next round, which was unveiled last week at Boston Dynamics: ATLAS, one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built.
Researchers are now designing robots for the last frontier of agricultural mechanization: fruits and vegetables. Sensitive to bruising, these crops have resisted mechanization. But engineers from Silicon Valley have been working on the Lettuce Bot, which can thin a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 works to do the job by hand.
The Navy successfully landed a drone the size of a fighter jet aboard an aircraft carrier for the first time Wednesday, showcasing the military's capability to have a computer program perform one of the most difficult tasks that a pilot is asked to do. The landing of the experimental aircraft means the Navy can move forward with its plans to develop another unmanned aircraft that will join the fleet.
Proteus, a new class of underwater vehicle that is unique in its ability to operate in either manned or autonomous mode, has been recognized as one of the best technical products of the year by R&D Magazine. With large payload capacity, long range, high endurance and advanced autonomous behaviors, Proteus provides capabilities unavailable in other unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).
The Navy will attempt to land a drone the size of a fighter jet aboard an aircraft carrier for the first time, showcasing the military's capability to have a computer program perform one of the most difficult tasks a pilot is asked to do. If all goes as planned, a successful landing of the X-47B experimental aircraft will mean the Navy can develop another unmanned aircraft that will join the fleet.
Although researchers had tested NASA’s new polar rover at a beach in Maryland and in the snow in Idaho, the May 6 to June 8, 2013 testing at Summit Camp, the highest spot in Greenland, was the rover’s first polar experience. Equipped with ground-penetrating radar, the robot defed 30 mph gusts and temperatures down to -22 F, demonstrating that it could operate completely autonomously in one of Earth’s harshest environments.
The world's first space conversation experiment between a robot and humans is ready to be launched. Developers from the Kirobo project, named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese and "robot," gathered in Tokyo Wednesday to demonstrate the humanoid robot's ability to talk.
This week, Sandia National Laboratories is hosting the seventh annual Western National Robot Rodeo and Capability Exercise, a challenging five-day event that draws civilian and military bomb squad teams from across the country to see who can most effectively defuse dangerous situations with the help of robots. The competition provides an opportunity to practice using robots and new technology in a low-risk, but competitive environment.
Thanks to its legs, whose design faithfully reproduces feline morphology, a Swiss research institute’s new four-legged “cheetah-cub robot” has the same advantages as its model: It is small, light and fast. Still in its experimental stage, the robot will serve as a platform for research in locomotion and biomechanics.
Engineers in California have developed new image processing techniques for rapid exploration and characterization of structural fires by small Segway-like robotic vehicles. Thermal data recorded by the robot’s small infrared camera is maps it onto a 3-D scene created by a pair of stereo cameras, producing a virtual reality picture that can be used by first responders as the robot navigates a building.
Engineers at the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering have developed a new noninvasive system that allows people to control a flying robot using only their mind. The first-of-its-kind noninvasive system has the potential to help people with disabilities.
Germany's defense minister on Wednesday admitted mistakes were made in the handling of a program to develop unmanned surveillance drones and announced tougher oversight procedures for all armament projects. Opposition parties say Thomas de Maiziere wasted public funds by canceling the botched 600 million euro ($800 million) program too late, but he rejected calls for his resignation.
Once uncommunicative industrial robots and machine tools are now beginning to talk turkey, thanks to a prototype application developed by a team of partner companies led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). This application was successfully demonstrated and tested by manufacturing researchers at NIST.
Traditional methods of building electrochemically powered yarn muscles resulted in devices with slow responses, low strain and force generation, a short cycle life, and low energy efficiency. A researcher in Korea has made a substantial improvement to this technology by confining paraffin waxes within the yarn. These act as actuators and remove the need for electrolytes.
An unmanned jet built for U.S. Navy high-altitude maritime surveillance missions has made its first flight. Northrop Grumman Corp. says the MQ-4C Triton took off from Palmdale, Calif., Wednesday and completed a 90-minute flight. The aircraft is designed to fly missions lasting up to 24 hours at altitudes greater than 10 miles, allowing coverage out 2,000 nautical miles.
A Wayne State University researcher understands that the three most important things about real estate also apply to small ground robotic vehicles: location, location, location. A recently published paper describes the development of a technique called LOBOT that provides accurate, real-time, 3D positions in both indoor and outdoor environments.
The Navy will make its first attempt to launch an unmanned aircraft the size of a fighter jet from an aircraft carrier on Tuesday, marking a significant step toward the possibility of expanded drone use in future conflicts. The X-47B can reach an altitude of more than 40,000 feet, has a range of more than 2,100 nautical miles and can reach high subsonic speeds.
A robotic sensor that won an R&D 100 Award in 2009 has been put to use by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Gulf of Maine coastal waters to monitor the way red tides behave. These harmful algal blooms, which generate a potentially fatal toxin, can be a challenge to track or predict. The Environmental Sample Processors have been remotely deployed and should simplify and enhance this effort.
You get into your car and ask it to get you home in time for the start of the big game, stopping off at your favorite Chinese restaurant on the way for takeout. But the car informs you that the road past the Chinese restaurant is closed for repairs, and you will have to choose a different place. You select a nearby Korean restaurant from the options the car suggests. Autonomous devices could soon collaborate with humans in this way.
The Navy on Thursday inaugurated its first squadron with both manned and unmanned aircraft. Military officials launched the effort by reactivating the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 35, known as the "Magicians" or HSL-35, which served for 19 years before being deactivated in 1992.
Whether reaching for a book out of a cluttered cabinet or pruning a bush in the backyard, a person’s arm frequently makes contact with objects during everyday tasks. Animals do it too, when foraging for food, for example. Much in the same way, robots are now able to intelligently maneuver within clutter, gently making contact with objects while accomplishing a task. This new control method has wide applications.
A consortium of Washington-based organizations will soon submit the final section of a proposal to site an unmanned aircraft system research and testing facility in central Washington. If successful, the proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will result in the FAA naming the Pacific Northwest Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Center as one of six U.S. testing facilities later this year.
As long as buildings have windows, engineers will fret about how best to keep them clean. Rice University engineering students are no exception and are working on better ways to keep skyscrapers shiny. The WashBOT team of seniors based at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen is part of a multiyear robotics project to automate the process of cleaning recessed windows in buildings.
Israel's air force is on track to developing drones that within four to five decades would carry out nearly every battlefield operation executed today by piloted aircraft, a high-ranking Israeli officer told The Associated Press Sunday. The officer, who works in the field of unmanned aerial vehicle intelligence, said Israel is speeding up research and development of such unmanned technologies for air, ground, and naval forces.
What use is a hand without nerves, that can't tell what it's holding? What use is a hand that lifts a can of soda to your lips, but inadvertently tips or crushes it in the process? Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a very inexpensive tactile sensor for robotic hands that is sensitive enough to turn a brute machine into a dextrous manipulator.