The 2012 Living Machines Conference

Here’s a taste of what went on over the 3 day event organized by the Convergent Science Network

Electro sensors inspired by fish who navigate their way through murky waters, robots that dance with the honeybees, and artificial muscles and blood vessels making their way into modern medicine. These are just a few of the research topics that were Continue reading

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Robots That Smell

Biomimetic Robot from Vicky Vouloutsi on Vimeo.

As humans, we may take our sense of smell for granted but for many of the other members of the animal kingdom, either land-roaming or water-dwelling, a keen sense of smell serves as an invaluable tool! While cetaceans like dolphins have no sense of smell, some species of fish, such as the salmon, use theirs to guide them back to their native streams or to assist them in maintaining social hierarchy. Most of us are well aware that a dog’s nose could out Continue reading

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Exploring the Red Planet

NASA’s Curiosity gets close to landing on Mars

It takes a while to get over 90 million km away from earth. Although NASA’s rover Curiosity hit the road for Mars at the end of November, 2011, the robot isn’t expected to land on the planet until August 6th of this year. In the past, rovers like this one had set out to look for evidence of water on Mars but this time Curiosity will be keeping a look out for any spots on the planet that may have been particularly hospitable for life. Curiosity is scheduled to be Continue reading

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Personalized Assistance from Robots

Robots help out—the way we want them to!

Both humans and robots work in manufacturing plants however, they don’t usually work alongside one another. Robots are most often used in repetitive, exhausting or hazardous work, while people are needed for tasks that require finer skill and detail. An earlier post on this blog discussed some of the ways robots have started working alongside humans but there are of course some important issues to consider if we really want to make this kind of collaboration work.
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The Last Moment Robot

It’s OK if this gives you the creeps

If you think this kind of robot may be taking things a step too far, its creator Dan Chen would be pleased he’s gotten his point across. For starters, this robot isn’t actually being used for the application shown in the video above. In fact, the bed and fluorescent lit room are nothing more than props used to create a hospital-like environment within this interactive installation.
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Robots Get Social…

Creating hype on Twitter and other networks

Twitter has reached over 500 million users, but of those, apparently only 140 million actually use it regularly. Now it turns out that some of these users may not even be real people, but robots instead!

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Racing with Robots

Ready, Set, Joggobot!

Running can be a challenging activity to get into and keep up. Whether it’s a friend or canine pal acting as a running buddy, the company often provides us with the motivation needed to push ourselves further or to get us out there on days when we’d rather not lace up those trainers. But since not everyone has a dog or an active friend, researchers at the Exertion Games Laboratory at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia have recently created the Joggobot so you won’t have to be the lone ranger out there on the track!
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Infrared Sensors Inspired by Beetles

The Jewel beetle may be able to detect forest fires up to 80km away… could they help humans do the same?

Judging by their glamorous iridescent colouring, you could never tell that a Jewel beetle’s preferred hang out is among heaps of ashes and soot. In fact, females within this family of beetles will search far and wide for the comforting branches of a smouldering Continue reading

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Hiroshi Ishiguro’s Huggable Robot

After a bad day, there’s nothing like a Hugvie

If you’re a fan of bizarre robots, you’ve got to be familiar with some of Hiroshi Ishiguro’s work. As the director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University in Japan, Ishiguro’s gained a lot of fame through many of his pseudo-human creations.
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Magnificent Maneuvers

Robots designed to move like cockroaches and geckos

It’s suspected that the earliest forms of cockroaches were present over 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous period while our modern roach’s history dates back to the more recent Cretaceous period, which ended about 65 million years ago. The end of that era demolished the dinosaurs but anyone living in an urban environment knows that the cockroaches managed to survive!
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