The Willow Garage PR2 is a sophisticated research robot designed to work with people. (Claudia Perez D'Arpino, MIT) Engineering New Technologies 

Your Household Robot Is on the Way

A household robot to help with the daily chores is surely every busy person’s dream. But who would want a clumsy robot that’s always getting under your feet? That is the challenge being addressed by researchers at MIT. They have built a sophisticated robot and are teaching it to work together with people. In a recent article, we reported on the robots being put to work at the retail giant Amazon to serve our holiday shopping needs.  But the future may very well have interactive and collaborative robots in our…

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Kiva robots and an Amazon employee (Business Wire) New Technologies 

Robots Fulfilling Your Amazon Orders

Robots are hard at work this holiday season in the warehouses and fulfillment centers of, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). In time for the holiday shopping frenzy, the company unveiled its eighth generation fulfillment centers (where customer orders are processed) which now use a variety of gadgets including Kiva robots, vision systems, and a whole host of other software and mechanical innovations that would make Santa and his elves weep. Amazon is currently operating 10 of these new centers in the United States. Amazon gets a staggering number of orders throughout…

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EH Science: Playing Cards, Boians Cho Joo Young via New Technologies Science and Art 

Artificial Intelligence Creates Magic Tricks

Researchers working on artificial intelligence (AI) at Queen Mary University of London have taught a computer to create magic tricks, and audiences are enjoying the results. The research team is using magic tricks as a means of exploring what artificial intelligence can do. “Using AI to create magic tricks is a great way to demonstrate the possibilities of computer intelligence and it also forms a part of our research into the psychology of being a spectator,” says team member Peter McOwan, Professor of Computer Science. “For example, we suspected that…

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Eye on tech background, jscreationzs via Health New Technologies 

Artificial Retina Could Someday Restore Vision

An international and interdisciplinary team of scientists is working on a compact, artificial retina that could someday be used to restore the eyesight of people with retinal degeneration. The gradual loss of eyesight, often caused by the degeneration of the retina, can be a life-altering health issue for many people, especially as they age. The development of a prosthetic retina, however, could help reverse conditions that affect this crucial part of the eye. A growing number of medical devices capable of sending sensory signals to the brain are now available…

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The forces at work when a turkey hops over an obstacle (Oregon State University) Engineering New Technologies Zoology 

Running Robots May Be Inspired by Birds

In preparation for building better running robots, researchers have made useful discoveries about some of nature’s most energy efficient bipeds – running turkeys. Running birds have an impressive ability to run while minimizing energy cost, avoiding falls or injuries, and maintaining speed and direction. Researchers at Oregon State University have been trying to discover exactly how the birds do it. “Birds appear to be the best of bipedal terrestrial runners, with a speed and agility that may trace back 230 million years to their dinosaur ancestors,” says Jonathan Hurst, an…

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Gecko Foot (Emily Kane, UC Riverside) Biology New Technologies Zoology 

Agile Robots Inspired by Gecko Feet

An in depth study of how a gecko’s feet work could lead to designs for more agile robots that can maneuver on complex surfaces. To climb steep surfaces, geckos use an adhesive system in their toes. This evolutionary innovation is how they climb vertically both up and down. On the underside of their toes are structures calledsetae, millions of very fine hair-like structures that increase the surface area and improve contact between the foot and the surface on which it rests. This adhesive system works best when the gecko plants its…

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