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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Parasitic Robot Steers Live Turtle With Tasty Snacks

Parasitic Robot Steers Live Turtle With Tasty Snacks
It’s going to be a long, long time before we have amphibious robots that are anywhere near as capable as the mighty and majestic turtle. While many roboticists are working diligently on TurtleBots of all kinds, researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have taken things much more literally with the development of a robot-turtle hybrid: a “parasitic robot,” as they call it, that lives on the back of a real turtle, guiding the animal f…
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A Neuromorphic Chip that Makes Music

A Neuromorphic Chip that Makes Music
A chip made by researchers at IMEC in Belgium uses brain-inspired circuits to compose melodies. The prototype neuromorphic chip learns the rules of musical composition by detecting patterns in the songs it’s exposed to. It then creates its own song in the same style. It’s an early demo from a  project to develop low-power, general purpose learning accelerators that could help tailor medical sensors to their wearers and enable personal electronics to learn their users’ …
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Court Ruling: The FAA Can't Make You Register Your Drone

Court Ruling: The FAA Can
Since December of 2015, Americans have been required to register any drone that weighs more than two sticks of butter with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It’s a minor hassle and costs a little bit of money and seems like a reasonable idea considering how many people are flying sizeable drones nowadays. However, there was one particular group that really didn't appreciate the new ruling: model aircraft enthusiasts. One of them sued the FAA in February of 2016, a…
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Video Friday: Animatronic King Kong, Robot Pilot, and Giant Eyeball Drone

Video Friday: Animatronic King Kong, Robot Pilot, and Giant Eyeball Drone
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!): NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 22-26, 2017 – NASA KSC, Fla., USA ROS-I Asia Pacific Workshop – May 25-26, 2017 – Singapore IEEE ICRA – May 29-3, 2017 – Singapore University Rover Challenge – June 1-13, …
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ETH Zurich's Omnicopter Plays Fetch

ETH Zurich
Most aircraft are designed to be very good at going upwards, and also not bad at going forwards, with some relatively small amount of thought given to turning left and right. Thanks to gravity, downwards is usually taken care of. Even aircraft designed to hover, like helicopters and quadrotors, have preferential directions of orientation and travel where their particular arrangement of motors and control surfaces makes them most effective.  ETH Zurich’s Omnicopter goes abou…
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New Report Highlights Dangers of Hacked Factory Robots

New Report Highlights Dangers of Hacked Factory Robots
Earlier this month, computer-security firm Trend Micro, in collaboration with researchers at Polytechnic University of Milan, released a report titled, “Rogue Robots.” No, they weren’t writing about the threat of runaway artificial intelligence or Terminator-like “killer robots.” Rather, they were exploring how malevolent hackers might compromise various kinds of industrial robots, whose number is expected to reach 2.6 million units worldwide by 2019. The dang…
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NASA Tests Origami-Inspired Robot That May One Day Explore Mars

NASA Tests Origami-Inspired Robot That May One Day Explore Mars
It costs a stupendous amount of money to send something from the surface of Earth to the surface of Mars, and there are severe limits on the volume and mass that you can send at any one time. In order to stuff the maximum amount of science into the minimum amount of space, NASA has had to get creative, with landers and rovers designed to be lightweight and foldable. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., engineers have long been trying to cram as much ro…
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Video Friday: Morphing Wheels, Soft Inflatable Robot, and Snipe Nano Quadrotor

Video Friday: Morphing Wheels, Soft Inflatable Robot, and Snipe Nano Quadrotor
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!): Innorobo – May 16-18, 2017 – Paris, France Midwest Robotics Workshop – May 18-19, 2017 – Chicago, IL, USA NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 22-26, 2017 – NASA KSC, Fla., USA IEEE ICRA – May 29-3, 2017 – Singapore Universit…
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A Weird Time for Drone Operators

A Weird Time for Drone Operators
Late last month, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit brought against a Kentucky man who shot a drone out of the sky when it allegedly flew over his property in 2015. The man, who used a shotgun to take out the drone, later dubbed himself the “Drone Slayer.” The drone operator, who filed the lawsuit in 2016, argued that his DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter, flying at an altitude of some 200 feet, was in federally protected airspace and was in no way trespassing based on the Fede…
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Drone Uses AI and 11,500 Crashes to Learn How to Fly

Drone Uses AI and 11,500 Crashes to Learn How to Fly
“Learning to Fly by Crashing,” a paper from CMU roboticists Dhiraj Gandhi, Lerrel Pinto, and Abhinav Gupta, has such a nice abstract that I’ll just let them explain what this research is all about: [T]he gap between simulation and real world remains large especially for perception problems. The reason most research avoids using large-scale real data is the fear of crashes! In this paper, we propose to bite the bullet and collect a dataset of crashes itself! We build a dr…
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