Archive 23.04.2024

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People, not design features, make a robot social

It takes a village to nurture social robots. Researchers who develop social robots—ones that people interact with—focus too much on design features and not enough on sociological factors, like human-to-human interactions, the contexts where they happen, and cultural norms involving robots, according to an award-winning paper from Cornell and Indiana University scholars who specialize in human-robot interaction.

A dexterous four-legged robot that can walk and handle objects simultaneously

Four-legged robots, also known as quadrupedal robots, have advantageous characteristics, including the ability to rapidly walk on challenging terrains and keep a low center of gravity. Some four-legged robots can also manipulate objects in their surroundings, yet this is typically achieved using arm-like structures mounted at the top of the robots, rather than the limbs they use to walk.

Octopus inspires new suction mechanism for robots

A new robotic suction cup that can grasp rough, curved and heavy stone, has been developed by scientists at the University of Bristol. The team, based at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, studied the structures of octopus biological suckers, which have superb adaptive suction abilities enabling them to anchor to rock.

Using sim-to-real reinforcement learning to train robots to do simple tasks in broad environments

A team of roboticists at the University of California, Berkeley, reports that it is possible to train robots to do relatively simple tasks by using sim-to-real reinforcement learning to train them. In their study, published in the journal Science Robotics, the group trained a robot to walk in unfamiliar environments while it carried different loads, all without toppling over.

Engineers design spider-like robot that may be used to explore caves on Mars

A team of roboticists and mechanical and aeronautical engineers at Stanford University has developed a spider-like robot for possible use in exploring caves or lava tubes on Mars. In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, the group describes their reasons for developing the new robot, their inspiration for the design, and how well it worked when tested in a real-world environment.

How 3D printers can give robots a soft touch

Soft skin coverings and touch sensors have emerged as a promising feature for robots that are both safer and more intuitive for human interaction, but they are expensive and difficult to make. A recent study demonstrates that soft skin pads doubling as sensors made from thermoplastic urethane can be efficiently manufactured using 3D printers.

Research proposes virtual-dimension increase of EMG signals for prosthetic hands gesture recognition

The electromyographic (EMG) signal is the bioelectrical current generated during muscle contraction. It can be transmitted as an input signal to an intelligent bionic prosthetic hand to control hand movements. By increasing the number of signal acquisition channels, richer information about the intention of the action can be captured, thus improving the success rate of the recognition of the intention of the action. However, it is not better to have more acquisition channels.

A magneto-pneumatic hybrid-driven soft actuator with bidirectional torsion

The ability of the human wrist to rotate around the forearm axis in 2 directions is crucial for many daily activities. This rotation, limited to a range of approximately [-90°, 90°], restricts the wrist's capacity to execute complex operational tasks. For example, when we open or lock a door with a key, our wrist performs a large rotational movement. When we screw, the wrist needs to twist 180° several times.

A rimless wheel robot that can reliably overcome steps

Robots with wheels could potentially navigate a variety of indoor and outdoor environments, traveling for longer distances and with fewer risks of losing balance. While some wheeled robots have achieved very promising results in recent years, most of them are unable to reliably overcome steps (i.e., surfaces that are raised above ground level).
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