Robots posts on CNET

Robots

Mapping the human face in 900 megapixels

Daniel Boschung is a cartographer, but not as you know it.

He creates intricate photographs captured by his robotic camera that provide incredibly high-resolution overviews of paintings and insects.

For his latest project, Boschung set his camera on faces. He asked his subjects to remain perfectly still for 30 minutes as the robot took their portrait.

Each of the finished photos consists of 600 individual shots all stitched together. The level of detail captured is amazing, turning a regular portrait into a map of the human face. Eyelashes, stray hairs, and pores get captured in all their macro glory with incredible depth-of-field. Just like a gigapixel image, you can zoom in and out to explore every facet of the photo. … Read more

Where should CNET Road Trip go in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas?

The days are warm and sunny here in Northern California, and though it's only the middle of March, it already feels like summer is just around the corner.

One reason is that I've started the planning in earnest for Road Trip 2014, my ninth-annual journey to highlight some of the best destinations around for technology, military, aviation, architecture, science, nature, and so on.

For seven of the past eight years, CNET Road Trip has taken me all around the roads of the United States, giving me the opportunity to visit the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, the Southeast, the … Read more

Victor the trash-talking robot hates losing at Scrabble

Scrabble can bring out a healthy sense of competition among humans, but what about robots? The robotics department at Carnegie Mellon University created a robot named Victor who can play Scrabble, just not very well. But that doesn't stop him from blaming his opponents for his double-word-score shortcomings.

Victor has a head with an animated face complete with glasses, blond hair, and even a collegiate soul patch, but his fiberglass body lacks arms. He can move, look at the board, and talk to people. He sits at a table at the lounge in CMU's Gates computer science building waiting for a human to challenge him to a match. Just don't expect any friendly banter. … Read more

Lego robot sets new Rubik's Cube world record

Solving a Rubik's Cube is no easy feat, especially in less than 5 seconds, but that's exactly what Lego Mindstorms robot CubeStormer 3 did this week, with seconds to spare. The CubeStormer 3 impressed spectators at Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, England, with its new world record of 3.253 seconds.

Designed by inventors Mike Dobson and David Gilday, the ARM-powered CubeStormer 3 uses a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. The phone analyzes the cube squares using a custom app to calculate the correct number of moves to solve the puzzle. The ARM processors move the Lego Mindstorms EV3 bricks, which execute the motor sequencing. … Read more

Quadcopter captures footage of active volcano

Active volcanoes, for obvious reasons, are hard to study up close. They're dangerous to human-piloted aircraft -- as well as human bodies -- which means footage of active craters is difficult to obtain.

YouTuber Shaun O'Callaghan, however, figured out a way: with a quadcopter. He attached a GoPro action camera to a DJI Phantom and flew that baby right into the crater of Mount Yasur, an active volcano on Tanna Island, Vanuatu.… Read more

Cubli cube robot demonstrates incredible balance

Some robots do something useful, like ordnance disposal. Some robots do something artistic, like produce music. Some are more interactive. And some robots are just danged cool.

On that note, we've recently stumbled across Cubli, a little cube-shaped robot made by Gajan Mohanarajah, Ph.D. candidate and research assistant at ETH Zurich. Cubli isn't designed to build a wall or translate slime mold. Instead, it's based on a very simple idea: "Can we build a 15-centimeter-sided cube that can jump up, balance on its corner, and walk across our desk using off-the-shelf motors, batteries, and electronic components?"… Read more

Originally posted at Crave

By Michelle Starr

MIT's super-speedy robot fish makes flashy escape

Some robot fish we've seen wouldn't be able to escape a predator if their fins depended on it.

Enter the new fish-shaped "soft robot" developed by Andrew Marchese, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. It can execute an escape maneuver called a "C-turn" in about 100 milliseconds, matching the speed of fish in the wild. Such swiftness is one of the things that most sets this robofish apart.

Soft robots are machines that have gushy exteriors and move around through the use of fluids or gases pumping … Read more

Watch robotic pole dancers shake their actuators

No job is sacred any more: Even the technology trade show booth babe's role has been taken over by robots. Lexy and Tess the robotic pole dancers drew a crowd Monday at the CeBit IT show in Hanover, Germany.

The pair were upgraded models for the Tobit Software booth, which has been displaying the dancers for a few years now. Designed by British artist Giles Walker, they're made from 12V motors found in cars (the kind that control the windshield wipers); have LED arrays instead of faces; and are controlled via PC, while their "male" counterpart, a DJ with a megaphone horn for a head, looks on. … Read more

Robotic arm gives amputee drummer better beats

When drummer Jason Barnes lost his lower right arm to electrocution two years ago, his future as a musician didn't look too promising. But thanks to a new robotic arm invented by Professor Gil Weinberg, founding director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, he may soon be the envy of the drumming world.

That's because the new mechanical arm effectively gives Barnes the ability to use three different drumsticks while playing his kit. He holds the first in his left hand, as always. The other two are held by the robotic arm attached to Barnes' right bicep. One of those sticks is controlled by the up-and-down motion of Barnes' arm, as well as electrical impulses from his body measured by electromyography muscle sensors.

The other stick however, analyzes the rhythm being played and uses a built-in motor to improvise on its own, adding a dimension to drumming that's heretofore not seen on any stage we know of. … Read more

Transformer-like suit lets you lift 110 pounds -- with each hand

It lets you lift up to 220 pounds like you're lifting a baby. It has 22 different points of movement. And it makes you look a little like Optimus Prime. It's the "body extender" from Perceptual Robotics Laboratory in Italy. And it would make one hell of a Halloween costume.

The Percro engineers who invented the robotic exoskeleton say it's the most sophisticated wearable robot developed to date. They say it could be used to assist in disaster zones as wearers would be able to lift large pieces of rubble off people trapped by earthquake debris, though as of now, there's no word on when it will be available. The contraption lets wearers lift up to 110 pounds with each hand.

"It's a device that's able to track the complex movements of the human body, and also to amplify the force of the user," Fabio Selsedo from Percro told the BBC. … Read more