Robots that will fold your laundry

This is “Brett” also known as The Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks.  This guy can do simple household chores. Specifically, the robot can fold laundry and is part of an ongoing project by UC Berkeley’s Pieter Abbeel.

Folding towels might seem easy to us humans, but this is actually quite complicated for a robot to do.  In fact it requires a method where the robot learns the tasks by seeing how humans do it.  Abbeel explains:

For robots to be integrated in unstructured or changing environments, such as a typical human household, they must develop the ability to learn from human experts and to even teach themselves.  

The hope is to have these robots perform everyday chores for the elderly or disabled so that they can live more independently.

You can watch more videos of this robot here


MIT Robotic Cheetah

Oh HELL YES. Notice in the 2nd gif the “cheetah” runs untethered.

"MIT researchers have developed an algorithm for bounding that they’ve successfully implemented in a robotic cheetah."


"The key to the bounding algorithm is in programming each of the robot’s legs to exert a certain amount of force in the split second during which it hits the ground, in order to maintain a given speed: In general, the faster the desired speed, the more force must be applied to propel the robot forward. In experiments the robot sprinted up to 10 mph and MIT researchers estimate the robot may eventually reach speeds of up to 30 mph.

Enter the first cyborg-type robot - ISO Feature about Cyberdyne and the exoskeleton HAL

ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, has a neat feature about Cyberdyne, their exoskeleton HAL & ISO 13482, the first standard on safety requirements for personal care robots. Worth a read.

What if cyborgs were real? Partly robot, partly man, functioning as one. No, we are not talking science fiction anymore. The first one is here and his name is HAL.

Do you know someone in a wheelchair? What if I tell you there is a way that this person can walk again? That all it takes is a robot suit that reads your mind. What if you too could wear this exoskeleton to gain the strength of a Hulk or a Superman and help people? Would you believe me if I said all this was possible? Japanese robotics company CYBERDYNE has created one such exoskeleton, that is, a device designed to be worn by a human. This Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) can detect and reproduce the wearer’s intention to move by reading signals from the brain. According to CYBERDYNE’s CEO, Dr. Yoshiyuki Sankai, HAL is unique in that there is no other technology of its kind to compare with. “Our aim was to treat, improve, support and enhance human physical functions,” he tells me. Well, HAL does just that.

[read more] [Cyberdyne] [picture via wikimedia]

Cylons, Replicants and Fembots: Pop Culture’s Sexiest Lady Robots

Before the Uncanny Valley ruins real-life humanoid robots for us all, there’s always the dream that one day we’ll fall in love with our own robotic companion. Whether it’s a ravishing Replicant or a sexy Cylon, there’s a female robot out there for everyone, at least in fiction.

Here’s my list of my favorite Sexy Robot Women for Playboy 

(and yes, it’s safe for work!)

Watch on www.8bitfuture.com

Video: MIT’s robotic cheetah let off the lead.

Until now, videos of this thing have shown is tethered to a frame and running on a treadmill, but here it’s shown running across a field with no problems.

The robot can currently run up to 10mph and jump one foot in the air.

Kim says what makes the robot so dynamic is a custom-designed, high-torque-density electric motor, designed by Jeffrey Lang, the Vitesse Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT. These motors are controlled by amplifiers designed by David Otten, a principal research engineer in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics. The combination of such special electric motors and custom-designed, bio-inspired legs allow force control on the ground without relying on delicate force sensors on the feet.  


Cruise Ship Robot Bartenders Provoke Questions About Work And Play

by Michael Keller

A thirsty vacationer on Royal Caribbean’s next cruise ship, the Quantum of the Seas, will belly up to a bar staffed by robots. The company announced this month that it is installing the Makr Shakr bartending system on the ship, which is expected to set sail starting in late October.

Guests will be able to choose drinks from a tablet at the bar and customize them as they see fit. Once the order is submitted, the Bionic Bar’s robot arms will spring to action, producing a precise and consistent drink.

“We were determined to take the best advances in modern technology, turn them into shipboard WOWs, and take the frustration out of the vacation,” said Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain in a statement.

The Makr Shakr project was conceived and designed at MIT’s Senseable City Lab. According to the artists and engineers behind it, the robot is more than just a bartending automaton. Instead, it is meant to open a discussion and explore the role of advanced manufacturing, consumption and leisure—three things that are set to change with increasing deployment of automated systems.

Read More

Watch on mindblowingscience.tumblr.com

This squishy tentacle robot may haunt your dreams, but it could also help you in a disaster

Robots are metallic and hard, right? Wrong. A new robot built at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab is rubbery and wriggly, and built to squirm around tight corners.

The creation is meant to be an arm for what are known as soft robots — machines that use compressed air to move their soft body parts, making them safe to be around humans and capable of feats with which hard robots might struggle. It’s inspired by octopus tentacles and moves by puffing up different segments of its body.

Unlike many other soft robots, the tentacle really is made of 100 percent soft material — silicone rubber.

“Designing away all the hard components forces us to think about the more difficult questions. Is it possible to do useful manipulation with a robot that’s as soft as chewing gum?” team lead Andrew Marchese said in a press release.

Designing out all of the hard components allows the robot to move in especially tight tunnels and corners. That might make it useful in a disaster or search and rescue operation — areas soft robots are especially poised to make a big impact.

“I’m not saying that the world should be filled with robotic octopus tentacles on assembly lines,” Marchese said in the release. “I just want to challenge the notion that robots have to look or act a certain way.”

Watch on singularitarian.tumblr.com
For human enhancement, advances in robotics will also be important, as I found during a visit to Silicon Valley. These can provide much-needed physical and mechanical support in the case of the handicapped. If your best friend’s son was paraplegic, and you had the means to help, wouldn’t you? This is how Willow Garage, one of the biggest robot developers in Silicon Valley, got his inspiration. I was reminded of how Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone: he was originally attempting to find a hearing aid for his wife and daughter, who were deaf. In Willow Garage’s case, the friend’s child was entering adulthood without being able to care for himself. An institution loomed in his near future. Now, a humanlike robot stays at his side, allowing him to live a seminormal life; with the aid of his humanoid friend, the young man can manage on his own. Using a two-way video, he can also direct the mobile robot to navigate around another physical space and interact with other humans at the user’s behest.