A method to enable safe mobile robot navigation in dynamic environments

The ClearPath Jackal robot navigating an outdoor environment at UC San Diego. Credit: Long et al To successfully complete missions in dynamic and unstructured real-world environments, mobile robots should be able to adapt their actions in real-time to avoid collisions with nearby objects, people or animals. Most existing approaches to prevent robot collisions work by […]

Engineers unlock design for record-breaking robot that could jump twice the height of Big Ben

Credit: University of Manchester Engineers at The University of Manchester have unlocked the secrets to designing a robot capable of jumping 120 meters—higher than any other jumping robot designed to date. Using a combination of mathematics, computer simulations, and laboratory experiments, the researchers have discovered how to design a robot with the optimum size, shape, […]

New soft robotic gripper designed with graphene and liquid crystals

Credit: Laura van Hazendonk Eindhoven researchers have developed a soft robotic “hand” made from liquid crystals and graphene that could be used to design future surgical robots. The new work has just been published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. In our future hospitals, soft robots might be used as surgical robots. But […]

New method for orchestrating successful collaboration among robots relies on patience

Heterogeneous multi-robot collaborative scheduling with dynamic subteaming. Credit: Human-Centered Robotics Lab @ UMass Amherst New research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst shows that programming robots to create their own teams and voluntarily wait for their teammates results in faster task completion, with the potential to improve manufacturing, agriculture and warehouse automation. This research was […]

A simpler method to teach robots new skills

A high-level overview of the Render and Diffuse process in the context of a putting the toilet seat down task. Rendered robot grippers are updated iteratively using a learnt denoising process until they represent actions needed to complete the task. Different colors represent different robot actions in the future. Credit: Vosylius et al. While roboticists […]

A new large-scale simulation platform to train robots on everyday tasks

RoboCasa is a simulation framework for training generalist robot agents. Image credits: Yuke Zhu and Soroush Nasiriany. The performance of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, including large computational models for natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision algorithms, has been rapidly improving over the past decades. One reason for this is that datasets to train these […]

An open-source robotic system that can play chess with humans

Overview of the researchers’ system. The whole system consists of a Franka Emika Panda robot arm, a ZED2 stereo camera, and an NVIDIA Jetson Nano computing board. Credit: Zhang et al. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems that can play games with humans have become increasingly advanced and have already been deployed by countless videogame developers worldwide. […]

A fully edible robot could soon end up on our plate, say scientists

Artistic rendering of a future edible robot. Credit: Nature Reviews Materials (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41578-024-00688-9 A fully edible robot could soon end up on our plate if we overcome some technical hurdles, say EPFL scientists involved in RoboFood—a project which aims to marry robots and food. Robots and food have long been distant worlds: Robots are […]

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, […]

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