Creating the Future: An Industrial Robot Climbs to the Top

Petrochemical and liquid gas companies require a regular inspection of a vessel's welds and wall thicknesses — a dangerous task given the hazardous environment. A climbing robot, category winner in the 2017 “Create the Future” Design Contest, is potentially up to the challenge.

Posted in: News, Robotics
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Robotic Rubber ‘Skin’ Senses Temperatures. What’s Next?

A rubber “skin” developed at the University of Houston allows a robotic hand to sense the difference between hot and cold temperatures. The semiconductor material supports new applications in stretchable electronics, including medical implants, health monitors, and human-machine interfaces.

Posted in: News, Materials, Automation, Robotics, Semiconductors & ICs
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Learning to Crawl: Origami Robot Moves Like an Earthworm

A new mechanical innovation unfolded this month at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a team of engineers built a new kind of crawler robot. The wheel-less design takes inspiration from two unconventional sources: origami and the earthworm.

Posted in: News, Materials, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Robotics
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Sound-Off: How Do Collaborative Robots Spot Human Operators?

In a “speed and separation” manufacturing scenario, a safe distance must be maintained between a collaborative robot and a human operator. When the gap reaches below a specific threshold, the cobot then initiates a monitored stop. But how does the robot “see” the human?

Posted in: News, Automation, Robotics
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How the Dragonfly’s Brain Offers Insights for Robotic Vision

By carefully studying the neurons of the dragonfly, University of Adelaide PhD student Joseph Fabian discovered the predator’s keen way of catching its prey. Fabian and his fellow researchers hope to translate the insect’s complex neural processes into advances that support new applications in robotic vision and autonomous systems.

Posted in: News, Automation, Robotics
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3D-Printed Soft Robot ‘Walks’ on Any Terrain

Traditional robots often feature isolated mechanical joints. These discrete components limit a rover’s ability to traverse sand, stone, and other challenging environments.

A team at the University of California San Diego has demonstrated a more flexible option: a soft robot that lifts its legs over obstacles and operates on a variety of terrains. The 3D-printed quadrupedal technology may someday support search-and-rescue missions requiring intelligent navigation capabilities.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Automation, Robotics
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Sound-Off: How are Collaborative Robots Being Used Today?

Are you seeing collaborative robots being integrated into today's production and manufacturing environments? Tech Briefs invites you to "Sound Off" on the role of "cobots."

Posted in: News, Robotics
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Human-Robot Interaction: When Robotics Meets Philosophy

To support human-robot interaction, designers are taking a page from philosophy and studying how we work together with one another.

Posted in: News, Automation, Robotics
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Magnetic Fields Enable New Soft Robots

Researchers from North Carolina State University have a found a new way to control robots. The team used magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices.

Posted in: News, Joining & Assembly, Drug Delivery, Automation, Robotics
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Algorithm Improves Robots' Ability to Fetch Objects

An algorithm developed at Brown University will improve robots' ability to ask clarifying questions and more effectively retrieve objects, an important task for future robotic assistants.

Posted in: News, Automation, Robotics
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