LERN: Tiny robots inspired by pine cones

This schematic shows the concept behind the team's plant-inspired microrobot. Photo credit: Image courtesy of American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics)

Most efforts to develop bio-inspired robots center on mimicking the motions of animals: but plants move too — even if most of their motions are so slow they can’t be detected by the naked eye. The mechanism involved in plant movement is much simpler than that of animals using muscles. To generate motion, plants and some seeds — such as ... Read More »

LERN: Keeping Prosthetic Legs Upright Using a Natural Approach

Lower-leg amputees will test Carnegie Mellon’s balance recovery technology. (Photo credit: Carnegie Mellon University)

A robotic leg prosthesis from Carnegie Mellon University could help users avoid falls, using techniques based how humans control real flesh and bone. Hartmut Geyer, assistant professor of robotics at CMU, says a control strategy devised by studying human reflexes and other neuromuscular control systems has shown promise in simulation and in laboratory testing, producing stable walking gaits over uneven terrain ... Read More »

LERN: Humans can empathize with robots

It's important to understand how humans feel about robots, if we are going to work together. (Photo credit: Toyohashi University of Technology)

New research from Japan suggests humans feel empathy toward robots they think are in pain. Electroencephalography (EEG) studies of humans found their brains responded similarly to perceived pain in robots as they did in other humans — except at the beginning of the process. The researchers say this difference may be due to the humans’ difficulty in taking a robot’s ... Read More »

2015 Holiday Gift Guide


We are pleased to bring you our all new 2015 Robot Magazine Holiday Gift Gude. This Guide identifies some of the hottest new products on the market, and it covers a broad range of robotics parts and pieces, including both hardware and software. Read More »

A Four-Wheel, Purring Cat

Zoomer Kitty will chase her cat toy or your wiggling fingers. (Photo credit: Spin Master)

Each year, the range of robotic pets expands. Now there’s Zoomer Kitty, a four-wheel, purring cat. Kids can interact with Zoomer Kitty by letting her chase them or follow the included cat toy. Touch sensors in her head, ears, and cheeks allow her to sense when she’s pet. The robot’s eyes also change color to reflect how she’s feeling. When ... Read More »

The Shapeoko Deluxe Kit

Make your own robot parts out of plastic, hardwood or non-ferrous metals with the Shapeoko. (Photo credit: Sparkfun)

Thinking making your own robot parts? With the Shapeoko Deluxe Kit from Sparkfun, you can create 2D and 3D designs out of plastics, hardwoods, and non-ferrous metals. This special SparkFun Edition of the Shapeoko Kit includes everything from the base frame and hardware to the motors and SparkFun Stepoko controller. This is an entry-level, 3-axis CNC machine with a cutting area ... Read More »

Make Prototyping Easier with the ATmega Feather Basic Proto

The Feather 32u4 Basic Proto board. (Photo credit: Adafruit.)

One of many in Adafruit’s new line of tiny microcontrollers, the ATmega Feather Basic Proto is designed to make protoyping easier. The small prototyping area is perfect for adding a sensor or button. The onboard ATmega32u4 clocks at 8 MHz with 3.3V logic. It features 32K of flash and 2K of RAM, with built in USB. With a USB-to-Serial program & debugging capability built-in, there’s no need ... Read More »

LERN: New robot tries to hold our interest

Humanoids such as Hiro, above, would be better at engaging humans if they noticed when we weren't interested and adjusted the conversation accordingly. (Photo credit: Elhuyar Fundazioa)

Humans communicate using words and body language. When we sense the other person is distracted, we change the course of our conversation and our actions to regain their attention. Most robots, however, use monologue mechanisms even when engaging in dialogue with a person: they continue speaking in the same way, even if the human isn’t paying attention. Researchers at the Interactions and ... Read More »

LERN: Robotic worm for head surgery can cut around corners

NiLiBoRo is held in place during surgery using its expandable bladders. Researchers are currently optimizing the pocket geometry using multiple prototypes. (Photo credit: Fraunhofer IPA)

Removing tumors from within the inner ear is a very delicate matter that typically requires surgeons to remove the entire mastoid bone. However, in the future, all doctors will need to do is cut a tunnel of 5 mm in diameter through the bone using a miniature robot named NiLiBoRo. The system is capable of adjusting its path while drilling ... Read More »

R2D2 Moving Refrigerator

More than a butler, this R2 unit knows how to chill... your beverages. (Photo credit: Aqua).

Finally, someone has combined the coolness of R2D2 with the coolness of… a mobile fridge. This 1:1 scale model of R2D2 won’t just cool your beverages, it will bring them to you! The wheeled bot also includes the same lights and sounds as the R2D2 from the Star Wars films. It’s made by Aqua — a company with a history of combining ... Read More »

LERN: Improving Communication Between Robots and Astronauts

The international UNISONO project, which is coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has developed a new system so that astronauts can better control robots. (Photo credit: VTT)

Recently, astronaut Andreas Mogensen placed a metal connector in a receptacle that had a mechanical tolerance to the connector of only 150 micro-meters. The success was notable because Andreas wasn’t trained to perform this task and performed while in space — some 160000 km away from the robot. But the procedure took a whopping 45 minutes. Researchers with the European Space ... Read More »

Kamigami: An Inexpensive, DIY Robot for Kids

Bring your Kamigami robots together for multi-robot games such as freeze tag, sumo and chase. (Photo credit: Dash Robotics.)

If you’re looking for a great gift for the junior roboticist in your household, check out the Kamigami critters. These bots have bodies made of a highly flexible, plastic-fabric composite material that ensures minimal friction between moving parts — making them very fast. The pieces also easily snap together together without tools, using pop rivets. No need for tools! The custom electronics include a ... Read More »

Raspberry Pi 2 Starter Kit

Bake your first Pi 2 project with Sparkfun's Starter Kit. (Photo credit: Sparkfun)

  This kit from Sparkfun includes everything you need to quickly start building simple projects with a Raspberry Pi 2. In addition to a Pi 2 model B, the kit also includes a SparkFun Pi Wedge. The Wedge connects to the 40-pin GPIO connector on the Raspberry Pi and breaks out the pins so that they are easier to connect ... Read More »