New method uses language-based inputs instead of costly visual data to help robots navigate

Task gap between ALFRED and R2R. We highlight notable distinctions between the navigation tasks in ALFRED and R2R, encompassing variations in appearance, step size, and instruction complexity. Credit: arXiv (2023). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2310.07889 Someday, you may want your home robot to carry a load of dirty clothes downstairs and deposit them in the washing machine in […]

A weeding robot that can autonomously remove seedlings

The weeding robot developed by the researchers. Credit: Kotaniemi et al. Robotic systems are already being deployed in various settings worldwide, assisting humans with a highly diverse range of tasks. One sector in which robots could prove particularly advantageous is agriculture, where they could complete demanding manual tasks faster and more efficiently. Among the many […]

3D-printed mini-actuators can move small soft robots, lock them into new shapes

Schematic illustrations of the fully 3D-printed miniature sub-millimeter-thick soft hydraulic actuator (MSHA) integrated with the SME for shape morphing and shape locking. Credit: Advanced Materials (2024). DOI: 10.1002/adma.202402517 Researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated miniature soft hydraulic actuators that can be used to control the deformation and motion of soft robots that are […]

Tactile sensing and logical reasoning strategies aid a robot’s ability to recognize and classify objects

Successful garbage sorting by an intelligent robot tactile system. Credit: Qian Mao and Rong Zhu Today’s intelligent robots can accurately recognize many objects through vision and touch. Tactile information, obtained through sensors, along with machine learning algorithms, enables robots to identify objects previously handled. However, sensing is often confused when presented with objects similar in […]

Four-legged, dog-like robot ‘sniffs’ hazardous gases in inaccessible environments

This quadruped robotic air sampler can navigate through fire and other potentially dangerous situations to test for hazardous volatile organic compounds. Credit: Adapted from Analytical Chemistry 2024, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.4c01555 Nightmare material or truly man’s best friend? A team of researchers equipped a dog-like quadruped robot with a mechanized arm that takes air samples from potentially […]

An open-source generalist model for robot object manipulation

These are the robots we tested Octo on – you can see that there is a wide range of different robot arms, from small to large, single arm to bimanual. Octo was able to control all these robots. Credit: Team et al. The public release of ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs) has allowed […]

A better way to control shape-shifting soft robots

Reconfigurable soft robots. In this paper, we address challenges in controlling reconfigurable—or shape-shifting—robots, who can change their morphology to accomplish desired tasks. The figure illustrates a task where a circular robot needs to alter its body shape to fit within a confined chamber to manipulate the square cargo to the target point (right). We introduce […]

Robotic system feeds people with severe mobility limitations

A robotic system developed by Cornell researchers feeds a student participant during a lab demonstration. Credit: Cornell University Cornell researchers have developed a robotic feeding system that uses computer vision, machine learning and multimodal sensing to safely feed people with severe mobility limitations, including those with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. “Feeding […]

New approach uses generative AI to imitate human motion

Central pattern generator (CPG) and reflex network coordinated by speed adjustment commands from a higher-level nerve center (a), and overall control framework (b). Credit: Tohoku University An international group of researchers has created a new approach to imitating human motion by combining central pattern generators (CPGs) and deep reinforcement learning (DRL). The method not only […]

Teaching robots to move by sketching trajectories

Credit: arXiv (2023). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2309.03835 Getting robots to perform even a simple task requires a great deal of behind-the-scenes work. Part of the challenge is planning and executing movements, everything from turning wheels to lifting a robotic arm. To make this happen, roboticists collaborate with programmers to develop a set of trajectories—or pathways—that are clear […]

Video shows how swarms of miniature robots simultaneously clean up microplastics and microbes

To clean water, researchers have designed swarms of tiny, spherical robots (light yellow) that collect bacteria (green) and small pieces of plastic (gray). Credit: Adapted from ACS Nano 2024, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.4c02115 When old food packaging, discarded children’s toys and other mismanaged plastic waste break down into microplastics, they become even harder to clean up from […]

Scientists create robot snails that can move independently using tracks or work together to climb

a Morphological evolution from a snail to a snail robot. b Snails outdoors may climb onto another snail’s shell for various reasons. Inspired by this, snail robots can also interconnect with each other. c Comparative illustration of snail foot adhesion and snail robot connection mechanism under varying external forces. Credit: Nature Communications (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-47788-2 […]

Stretchable e-skin could give robots human-level touch sensitivity

Nanshu Lu. Credit: University of Texas at Austin A first-ever stretchy electronic skin could equip robots and other devices with the same softness and touch sensitivity as human skin, opening up new possibilities to perform tasks that require a great deal of precision and control of force. The new stretchable e-skin, developed by researchers at […]

Leveraging robots to help make wind turbine blades

Robot cell with a band saw attachment and a 5-m test blade section (top left), Pushcorp grinding tool with custom dust collection shroud (top right), Tyrolit sanding tool (bottom left), and the Zivid II structured light camera (bottom right). Credit: Wind Energy (2024). DOI: 10.1002/we.2913 Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy […]

Random robots are more reliable: New AI algorithm for robots consistently outperforms state-of-the-art systems

Although the current study tested the AI algorithm only on simulated robots, the researchers have developed NoodleBot for future testing of the algorithm in the real world. Credit: Northwestern University Northwestern University engineers have developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm designed specifically for smart robotics. By helping robots rapidly and reliably learn complex skills, […]

Natural language boosts LLM performance in coding, planning and robotics

Three new frameworks from MIT CSAIL reveal how natural language can provide important context for language models that perform coding, AI planning, and robotics tasks. Credit: Alex Shipps/MIT CSAIL, with components from the researchers and Pixabay Large language models (LLMs) are becoming increasingly useful for programming and robotics tasks, but for more complicated reasoning problems, […]

A miniature wireless robot that can effectively move through tubular structures

The wireless miniature flow-powered tube robot capable of navigating complex tubular environments. Credit: Chong Hong and Yingdan Wu. Robots have already proved to be promising tools to complete complex and demanding maintenance tasks. While engineers have developed a wide range of robots that could help to maintain and repair infrastructure, many of these robots need […]

Paper power: Origami technology makes its way into quadcopters

In this study, researchers developed a self-folding origami gripper that abruptly changes conformation when force is applied. By mounting this low-cost and biodegradable structure on top of a quadcopter, it is possible to hold onto and carry objects from one place to another in a convenient way. Credit: Hiroki Shigemune from Shibaura Institute of Technology; […]

Trotting robots reveal emergence of animal gait transitions

Guillaume Bellegarda, Milad Shafiee and Auke Ijspeert. Credit: EPFL/Jamani Caillet—CC-BY-SA 4.0 A four-legged robot trained with machine learning by EPFL researchers has learned to avoid falls by spontaneously switching between walking, trotting, and pronking—a milestone for roboticists as well as biologists interested in animal locomotion. With the help of a form of machine learning called […]

Researchers use ChatGPT for choreographies with flying robots

Prof. Angela Schoellig. Credit: Technical University Munich Prof. Angela Schoellig from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) uses ChatGPT to develop choreographies for swarms of drones to perform along to music. An additional safety filter prevents mid-air collisions. The researcher’s results demonstrate the first time that large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT can be […]

A six-armed robot for precision pollination

Stickbug, the six-armed precision pollination robot tasked with autonomously navigating, mapping, and pollinating bramble flowers in a greenhouse. Each arm acts as an independent greedy agent that a referee oversees to resolve inter-agent conflicts. Credit: Smith et al. Over the past decades, dozens of animal species have become extinct, while thousands of others are now […]

Built-in bionic computing: Researchers develop method to control pneumatic artificial muscles

Artificial muscles control rich soft component dynamics by using them as a computational resource. Credit: KyotoU/MEDICAL FIG. Creating robots to safely aid disaster victims is one challenge; executing flexible robot control that takes advantage of the material’s softness is another. The use of pliable soft materials to collaborate with humans and work in disaster areas […]

Researchers develop an automated benchmark for language-based task planners

Case Study of Procedural Generation Following the Command: “Put a chilled apple in the microwave.” Credit: Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute(ETRI) If instructed to “Place a cooled apple into the microwave,” how would a robot respond? Initially, the robot would need to locate an apple, pick it up, find the refrigerator, open its door, and […]

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