Struggling to keep on top of all the news about robotics? These essential blogs covering news about robotics make it easy.

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Why Co-Parenting With Telepresence Robots Could Be a Fantastic Idea

Why Co-Parenting With Telepresence Robots Could Be a Fantastic Idea
This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE. There’s always something heart-wrenching when parents have to be far away from their children. Sometimes parents travel. Sometimes separated parents split time with the kids. Maybe telepresence robots can help. This article explores some of the potential benefits and challenges of using telepresence robots as a co-parenting tool. To …
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Video Friday: Boston Dynamics, Inflatable Robots, and Japan's Space Ball

Video Friday: Boston Dynamics, Inflatable Robots, and Japan
Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): IEEE CASE 2017 – August 20-23, 2017 – Xi’an, China IEEE ICARM 2017 – August 27-31, 2017 – Hefei, China IEEE RO-MAN – August 28-31, 2017 – Lisbon, Portugal CLAWAR 2017 – September 11-13, 2017 – Porto, Portugal FSR 2017 – Septem…
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Robots Could Act as Ethical Mediators Between Patients and Caregivers

Robots Could Act as Ethical Mediators Between Patients and Caregivers
Most of the discussion around robots and ethics lately has been about whether autonomous cars will decide to run over the nearest kitten or a slightly farther away basket full of puppies. Or something like that. Whether or not robots can make ethical decisions when presented with novel situations is something that lots and lots of people are still working on, but it’s much easier for robots to be ethical in situations where the rules are a little bit clearer, and also when t…
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Soft Robotic Exosuit Can Help Stroke Patients

Soft Robotic Exosuit Can Help Stroke Patients
Soft wearable robotic exosuits can help patients walk after strokes, a new study finds. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States. More than 6.5 million Americans are stroke survivors, and the vast majority of them never fully recover the ability to walk. “The fact that many stroke survivors can't, say, walk to the store can in turn lead to a downward spiral when it comes to their health and quality of life,” Conor Walsh, a soft roboticist at Harvar…
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Naval Research Lab Tests Swarm of Stackable CICADA Microdrones

Naval Research Lab Tests Swarm of Stackable CICADA Microdrones
The U.S. Naval Research Lab has been working on its CICADA (Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft) drones since at least 2011. The tiny drones are designed to be carried aloft by other aircraft and dropped, whereupon they’ll use GPS and little fins to glide to within 15 feet of their destination. They can carry a small sensor payload, and they’re designed to be cheap enough that you can use a whole bunch of them all at once. At the Sea Air Space Expo back in April, …
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U.S. Defense Budget May Help Fund "Hacking for Defense" Classes at Universities

U.S. Defense Budget May Help Fund "Hacking for Defense" Classes at Universities
In 2016, Stanford students started hacking for defense—that is, they took on real projects from National Security Agency, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Army Cyber Command, the Veterans Administration, and other agencies with defense-related problems. The students actually came up with prototype solutions. The innovative Hacking For Defense (H4D) class, which requires each student team to conduct at least 100 interviews with defense industry “clients,” caught on qui…
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Robots Learn to Speak Body Language

Robots Learn to Speak Body Language
If your friend says she feels relaxed, but you see that her fists are clenched, you may doubt her sincerity. Robots, on the other hand, might take her word for it. Body language says a lot, but even with advances in computer vision and facial recognition technology, robots struggle to notice subtle body movement and can miss important social cues as a result.   Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed a body-tracking system that might help solve this problem. Cal…
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Professor Einstein Is a Fun, Wacky Robot That Loves to Talk About Science

Professor Einstein Is a Fun, Wacky Robot That Loves to Talk About Science
When I tell my daughters, ages 6 and 9, that I have a new robot to show them, they perk up. I then take Professor Einstein out of the box. “Ahhhh!” they both cry, wide-eyed. My wife walks into the room: “Ahhh!” Yep, Professor Einstein doesn’t look like your typical robot. This very expressive, very wacky robotic character is a creation of Hanson Robotics, which calls it “your personal genius.” Professor Einstein can chat about science, tell jokes, check on the …
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Robots for Kids: Designing Social Machines That Support Children's Learning

Robots for Kids: Designing Social Machines That Support Children
In this guest post, Jacqueline M. Kory Westlund, a researcher in the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab describes her projects and explorations to understand children’s relationships with social robots. “Hi, my name is Mox!” This story begins in 2013, in a preschool in Boston, where I hide, with laptop, headphones, and microphone, in a little kitchenette. Ethernet cables trail across the hall to the classroom, where 17 children eagerly await their turn to talk to a…
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AI Can Help Patients Recover Ability to Stand and Walk

AI Can Help Patients Recover Ability to Stand and Walk
Artificial intelligence software combined with a robotic harness could help spinal injury and stroke patients walk again. Clinical trials are underway. Rehabilitation programs for spinal cord injuries or strokes usually have patients walk on treadmills at a steady pace while harnesses support their weight to varying degrees. In the new study, researchers sought to develop a system that better mimicked the conditions that people might experience during everyday life, where t…
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