Researchers build $400 self-navigating smart cane

Stanford PhD candidate Michael John Raitor tests out the augmented cane, created with way-finding capabilities similar to those used in autonomous vehicles. Credit: Andrew Brodhead Most know the white cane as a simple-but-crucial tool that assists people with visual impairments in making their way through the world. Researchers at Stanford University...

How environmental features can enhance robot awareness

Diagram of interplay between data, transfer operators, kernel methods, and environmental features. Transfer operators represent dynamical systems, where a state x ∈ X is lifted to a space L∞X and g(x) provides physical properties of the system. Many systems are defined by data exhibiting complex patterns, such as two nested...

Flying high-speed drones into the unknown with AI

Flying high-speed drones into the unknown with AI

The autonomous drone navigates independently through the forest at 40 km/h. Credit: UZH Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a new approach to autonomously fly quadrotors through unknown, complex environments at high speeds using only on-board sensing and computation. The new approach could be useful in emergencies, on...

Singapore patrol robots stoke fears of surveillance state

Armed with seven cameras, a Xavier robot in Singapore issues warnings to the public and detects 'undesirable social behaviour' Singapore has trialled patrol robots that blast warnings at people engaging in "undesirable social behaviour", adding to an arsenal of surveillance technology in the tightly controlled city-state that is fuelling privacy...

Using bundles of fibers, robots mimic nature

Credit: Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science Octopus tentacles can move in many directions, but also form stiff joint-like structures for more precise movements. Caterpillars can travel by using inchworm movements, as well as coil up and propel themselves away from predators. Such capabilities allow organisms to thrive in...

An autonomous robot may have already killed people—here’s how the weapons could be more destabilizing than nukes

The term ‘killer robot’ often conjures images of Terminator-like humanoid robots. Militaries around the world are working on autonomous machines that are less scary looking but no less lethal. Credit: John F. Williams/U.S. Navy Autonomous weapon systems—commonly known as killer robots—may have killed human beings for the first time ever...

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