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Web-based robot 'brain' goes live

“Robots confused about what they encounter in the world of humans can now get help online,” reported the BBC last week, as scientists turned on the first part of a web-based database of information to help them work out what to do with objects they have not seen before.  The resource, known as Rapyuta, is an online resource which carries data about objects robots have met and can...
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Can you help us roadmap the Robotics & Autonomous Systems Landscape

One of the RAS SIGs key objectives is to develop a strategic roadmap with input from all stakeholder groups. This roadmap will identify key global value creation opportunities that will be either directly delivered or critically enabled through the application of RAS and identify necessary innovation and other enablers required to deliver these. On January 23rd 2013, the first of a...
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Developing novel concepts in autonomous service robotics - registration deadline noon, 20th March

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £1m in feasibility studies to accelerate the development of novel robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) concepts towards technology demonstration and commercialisation in multiple sectors. The registration close date for this competition is noon, 20th March 2013 - Register today . Registration is quick & simple and gives you access...
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Developing Novel Cencepts in Autonomous Service Robotics webinar presentations online

A webinar on the Technology Strategy Boards funding competition "Developing Novel Cencepts in Autonomous Service Robotics" was held  on 7th March, the presentations are now available to download.   The close date for competion registration is noon March 20th , the close date for the competition is noon March 27th , register today .   Download the...
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How can robots gain our trust?

Roboy, a new child-like robot unveiled last week , is an attempt to tackle, head-on,  the psychological and technical challenges of designing an appealing humanoid robot. Despite their myriad uses, research bears out that the more human they appear, the greater the potential for people to feel uneasy with and distrust robots, a phenomenon known as the uncanny valley.  As...
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Turning robotics into a theatrical art

Not only is Amit Drori’s elephant visually stunning, it’s also a mini engineering masterpiece. Only after three prototypes was the robotic puppeteer satisfied that his elephant’s gait was realistic enough to pass muster.  Together with designer, Noam Dover and a troupe of puppeteers who have become amateur engineers, Mr Drori has become renowned worldwide for his unique stage...
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Lateral thinking to help household robots manipulate objects

Students at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are using new algorithms and lateral thinking to enable household robots to work around their physical shortcomings.  Unlike an industrial setting, where positioning make objects easier to grasp, household robots would need to be able to manipulate objects of any shape in any location. The MIT research is...
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Competition: robotic solutions to aid the elderly

A competition to uncover new robotic related technologies to assist elderly people’s ability to continue living independently at home, was launched on Friday.  SILVER (Supporting Independent LiVing for the Elderly through Robotics) is a development project funded by the EU under the ICT cooperation part of the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development...
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Want a more stable robot? Try pushing a cockroach!

Gait and balance are some of the trickiest problems in robotics but now monitoring how cockroaches recover after being pushed may help engineers build sturdier robots. Initial research has found that, when pushed sideways, running cockroaches start to recover well before their sluggish nervous system kicks in to tell their legs what to do.  This indicates that roaches are...
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Salford develops robot to care for elderly

A robot designed to help care for elderly people has been invented at the UK University of Salford. "Carebot" P37 S65 can be programmed to remind the elderly to take medication and exercise, it can carry meals, answer questions and even tell jokes. University researcher Antonio Espingardeiro, who developed the robot, said it can recognise faces and recall the requirements of a number of...
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Print your own robot for £500

InMoov is an open source, life size 3D robot and, if you have access to a basic 3D printer, a few motors, a cheap circuit board and £500, you too can own one. Designed by French sculptor and model-maker Gael Langevin, it has to be admitted that InMoov is still a work in progress, but, each time he finishes a body part, Langevin shares the printer files and assembly instructions on his ...
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euRathlon

Inspired by the 2011 Fukushima accident, euRathlon is a new outdoor robotics competition, with teams invited to test the intelligence and autonomy of their robots in realistic mock emergency-response scenarios. Initially, land based robots are targeted for euRathlon 2013, which  takes place between 23-27 September in Berchtesgaden,Germany. In 2014, the focus shifts to air based...
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MIT research finds that training robots is much like training people

In a breakthrough experiment, the Interactive Robotics Group at MIT have discovered that swapping jobs with someone else on your team to help everyone understand the work better, is just as effective with robots as it is for humans. Known as “cross training,” the tactic allows humans and robots to work together more smoothly. In heavy industry, such as car manufacturing, robots perform...
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Developing novel concepts in autonomous service robotics

A webinar on Developing Novel Cencepts in Autonomous Service Robotics hosted by the Aerospace, Aviation and Defence KTN to place yesterday, which included an introduction took the Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Special Interest Group. Phil Williams from the Electronics, Sensors Photonics KTN  gave an introduction to the new RAS SIG and Huw Davies, Lead...
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A box of robots for the classroom

US Robotics distributor RobotLab has come up with a learning aid which should be at the top of every school wish list: a giant box of robots. Studies have shown that Special Needs children, those with autism for instance, benefit greatly through interaction with robots. However, the RobotsLab Box is aimed at the mainstream, and its contents are so exciting that even the most STEM...
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Developing novel concepts in autonomous service robotics - competition opens today

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £1m in feasibility studies to accelerate the development of novel robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) concepts towards technology demonstration and commercialisation in multiple sectors.  We also aim to stimulate the creation of new partnerships between different communities of RAS innovators who have focused on different sectors to...
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Will robotics be the driving force behind an industrial revolution for the 21st Century?

On Monday, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) opens its £1m competition in robotics and autonomous systems (RAS). Ten days before, Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, announced a government investment of £35m to fund “centres of excellence” for RAS. Is there a flavour for investment in robotics brewing in the UK? Or is this just symptomatic of the wider global...
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Minister announces a new £35m investment in Robotics and Autonomous Systems centres of excellence

The Rt Hon David Willets gave a speech at the Policy Exchange yesterday, where he announced a new investment of £35 million for centres of excellence in Robotics & Autonomous Systems. They will be created in and around universities, innovation centres, science parks and enterprise sites and provide bespoke support for both university and industrial interests. Support from...
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Last few days to register for the Robotics Funding Dissemination events

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to  £1m  in  Feasibility Studies  to accelerate the development of novel Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) concepts towards technology demonstration and commercialisation in multiple sectors.  All projects must be collaborative and led by an SME. Projects will last up to 12 months and we expect total project...
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The revolution in robot surgery is upon us, but can we afford it?

“It is almost inconceivable, as surgeons, that in 10 years time we will be putting our hands in patients.” Mr Justin Vale, Urological surgeon, 2009. Last yea r, the Journal for Healthcare Quality reported that 41% of American hospital websites advertised robotic surgery, with hospitals offering robots pulling in more patients. A study by the American Cancer Society found that...
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Will the Internet of Things have arms and legs?

At the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES), this week, NFC was big news : Sony said it’s pushing NFC into its Bravia TVs, assorted speakers and a 1TB network server, enabling pairing with Xperia phones and opening the way for the Internet of Things (IoT) and the connected home. LG announced an NFC-equipped oven, fridge and robot vacuum-cleaner as part of its "Smart Things"...
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Robots and the future of work

“ Today, the vast majority of us are doing jobs that no farmer from the 1800s could have imagined,” writes Kevin Kelley, in the latest issue of US Wired .      In 1800, 70 percent of American workers lived on the farm; 21st century automation has eliminated all but one percent of those jobs, replacing them (and their work animals) with machines.  Two...
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Was there a robot in your stocking?

From the very affordable Robomop ( Amazon, £30 ) to Attacknid , the shooting spider, and a robotic golf club carrier, the CaddyTrek , whatever your interest or inclination, there was a robot for everybody this Christmas.  And if those are a little basic, how about Hexy , a six-legged, crablike creature which can navigate its own environment . On sale for under £300. And if...
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Industrial robotics: on a roll?

AutoStore (pictured) is an automated warehouse “picking” system designed to grow incrementally. Instead of banks of boxes, stock is held in a vertical grid system, with robots running across the top on rails. The system works out what is most in demand, and holds that at the top of the stack, with the least sought after stock at the bottom.The robots calculate the best way to access...
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Powerful mechanical muscles for microrobotics

A powerful micro actuator, smaller than the width of a human hair, has been developed by US researchers in Berkeley . The actuator, with the ability to flex like a miniature beckoning finger, can deliver a force 1000 times greater than human muscle of the same weight. It holds promise for microfluidics, drug delivery and artificial muscles.  The key to the technology is the...
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