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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Incredibly Soothing Robot Makes Towers of Balanced Stones

Incredibly Soothing Robot Makes Towers of Balanced Stones
Building things with robots is a nice idea, especially if robots are doing what they’re best at: predictable, repetitive tasks like you get with bricklaying. When humans build structures, however, we can be a bit more creative, adapting on the fly to the sizes and shapes of materials available. This is one of those robotic paradoxes—building something that’s easy for robots, like an exactly spaced curvy brick wall, is tricky for humans, while building something that’…
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Soft Robotic Structures Fold Themselves Up in Hot Water

Soft Robotic Structures Fold Themselves Up in Hot Water
Over the last few years there’s been an increased focus on robots that can build themselves. This is especially pertinent when you’re dealing with robots that are fiddly to make, which includes (at the moment) most robots that are soft and compliant. It seems like soft robots would be quite happy to be 3D printed, but in practice, they need to be made out of highly deformable materials that only behave themselves if you take the trouble to mold them instead, which is ted…
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AI Designers Find Inspiration in Rat Brains

AI Designers Find Inspiration in Rat Brains
2. The Mechanics of the Mind Today’s artificial intelligence systems can destroy human champions at sophisticated games like chess, Go, and Texas Hold ’em. In flight simulators, they can shoot down top fighter pilots. They’re surpassing human doctors with more precise surgical stitching and more accurate cancer diagnoses. But there are some situations when a 3-year-old can easily defeat the fanciest AI in the world: when the contest involves a type of learning …
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All the Latest, Most Exciting Robotics Research from ICRA 2017

All the Latest, Most Exciting Robotics Research from ICRA 2017
Every six months, an enormous posse of top robotics researchers from around the world converge on some moderately exotic location to impress each other with their latest research. Right now, we’re at the 2017 edition of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), which is taking place as you read this in Singapore. As always, we’re going to do our best to read every single paper and attend every single technical session, even though there are 11 …
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FDA Assembles Team to Oversee AI Revolution in Health

FDA Assembles Team to Oversee AI Revolution in Health
Mobile health apps and wearable devices that use artificial intelligence to help diagnose or even treat medical conditions pose a new regulatory challenge for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The government agency has responded by starting to assemble a team of computer scientists and engineers to help oversee and anticipate future developments in AI-driven medical software. This comes at a time when medical devices have evolved from fairly self-contained gadgets in…
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The 1961 Mobot Mark II Had All the Moves

The 1961 Mobot Mark II Had All the Moves
Photo: J. R. Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images In the late 1950s, Sandia Laboratory was looking for a way to handle radioactive materials without putting humans in danger. The answer was the Mobot—short for either “remote robot” or “mobile robot”—a remotely operated system designed by Hughes Aircraft Co. in 1959 that offered a unique and effective combination of strength and dexterity. A Sandia press release announcing the robot called it a “Replacement for Man,” but in…
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The 1961 Mobot Mark II Had All the Moves

The 1961 Mobot Mark II Had All the Moves
Photo: J. R. Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images In the late 1950s, Sandia Laboratory was looking for a way to handle radioactive materials without putting humans in danger. The answer was the Mobot—short for either “remote robot” or “mobile robot”—a remotely operated system designed by Hughes Aircraft Co. in 1959 that offered a unique and effective combination of strength and dexterity. A Sandia press release announcing the robot called it a “Replacement fo…
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Video Friday: DJI Spark Drone, Google Tango, and 18-DOF Hexapod Robot

Video Friday: DJI Spark Drone, Google Tango, and 18-DOF Hexapod Robot
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 ICRA – May 29-3, 2017 – Singapore University Rover Challenge – June 1-13, 2017 – Hanksville, Utah, USA IEEE World Haptics – June 6-9, 2017 – Munich, Germany NASA SRC Virtual Competition – June 12-16, 2017…
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Can We Quantify Machine Consciousness?

Can We Quantify Machine Consciousness?
Illustration: Chad Hagen Imagine that at some time in the not-too-distant future, you’ve bought a smartphone that comes bundled with a personal digital assistant (PDA) living in the cloud. You assign a sexy female voice to the PDA and give it access to all of your emails, social media accounts, calendar, photo album, contacts, and other bits and flotsam of your digital life. She—for that’s how you quickly think of her—knows you better than your mother, your soon-to-be ex-w…
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3D-Printed Pneumatic Quadruped Robot Adapts to Rough Terrain

3D-Printed Pneumatic Quadruped Robot Adapts to Rough Terrain
At IROS in Chicago a few years back, then Harvard grad student Michael Tolley introduced us to a robot that used explosions to jump. It was soft, it was pink, it had three wiggly legs that it used to position itself, and it was kinda freaky looking. As it turns out, Tolley now has his own robotics lab at UC San Diego, and they’ve been working on ways of efficiently fabricating useful soft robots. Their latest paper, which will be presented at ICRA in Singapore next week, t…
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