New 'Scorpion' Robot Will Inspect Fukushima Reactor This Summer

When the 2011 earthquake in Japan damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, teams scrambled to find a robot that could go where humans couldn’t. In many ways those robots failed, and ever since, there has been a focus on creating robots that can get the job done. Enter Toshiba’s “Scorpion” robot, which will make its… » 6/30/15 3:32pm Yesterday 3:32pm

Robotic Emotions Could Help Us Out of the Uncanny Valley

When the first guests arrive at Nagasaki’s Hotel Henn Na in July this year, they will be greeted and served by robots. In a similar approach, Toshiba’s android Aiko recently held a short-term role greeting customers at a department store in Tokyo. Customers were comfortable approaching Aiko to ask for directions and… » 6/19/15 3:30am 6/19/15 3:30am

Sony's Robotic Dogs Are Dying A Slow And Heartbreaking Death

Back in 1999, Sony released a robotic dog called Aibo, a canine companion that didn’t crap everywhere and only ate electricity. It sold pretty well — 150,000 units, despite the $2,000 price tag. Some owners became remarkably attached, which makes it even more sad that Sony has stopped repairing Aibo. Slowly but… » 6/18/15 1:31am 6/18/15 1:31am

These Slithering Modular Snakebots Are the Future of Robotics

A snakebot recently crawled up my leg. The engineers sort of grinned while I grimaced, wondering if I should try to attack it or cry for help, an impulse that comes from watching too many scifi movies, I guess. I expect most robots to destroy me, but these snakebots are designed to do the opposite. And they could… » 6/17/15 4:25pm 6/17/15 4:25pm

Humanity's Future Will Be In Caves ... On the Moon

While I talked with the legendary roboticist Red Whittaker in his lab at Carnegie Mellon, a half-moon shaped remnant of a Lifesaver was resting on his knee. He nibbled on it as we talked about sending autonomous robots to explore the Moon. That’s when he told me about the Moon caves that could be humanity’s future… » 6/15/15 1:20pm 6/15/15 1:20pm

How far are we from Terminator's killing robots? DARPA has the answer

Movies like the Terminator series have convinced us that robots are eventually going to kill us all. That’s still eventually going to happen but we’ve got a long way to go before we build a T-1000 or even an Arnold version, because as DARPA’s 2015 Robotics Challenge shows, even the best and smartest robots right now… » 6/10/15 1:00am 6/10/15 1:00am

Regular Old Sewing Thread Can Be Woven Into Strong Artificial Muscles

Given Disney’s amusement parks are packed full of audio-animatronic characters, it only makes sense that the company’s research division would be hard at work finding ways to make them even more lifelike. Researchers may have found a cheap solution to making artificial muscles, using conductive sewing thread you can… » 6/09/15 11:20am 6/09/15 11:20am