Inflatable Stickies Make Building Robots as Easy as Arts and Crafts

In recent years, taking a simpler approach to science and engineering has paid off handsomely in certain fields. It's part of the reason there are now rovers exploring Mars, and many feel it will be the easiest way to make robots more commonplace. After all, what could be a simpler way to build an automaton than with… » 1/28/15 9:25am Wednesday 9:25am

Nobody Puts This Robo-Vac In a Corner, Unless They Want It Clean

Unless you live in a retro-futuristic curvaceous bubble home, your house is probably filled with corners full of dust and debris and your boxy or round robotic vacuum can't quite reach them. It makes you wonder why all robot vacuums aren't designed like Panasonic's new MC-RS1 Rulo with its triangular-shaped form… » 1/23/15 12:40pm 1/23/15 12:40pm

This Is the Iron Giant Figure We Deserved 16 Years Ago

It's a testament to Brad Bird's skills as a storyteller that The Iron Giant still holds a soft spot in the hearts of countless fans, even if the animated film wasn't as big a blockbuster as Bird's later Pixar efforts. And if you've got an extra $300 lying around, you can finally bring home your own version of the Iron… » 1/22/15 3:01pm 1/22/15 3:01pm

You Can Finally Build a Robot Army Using Cheap Plastic Drinking Straws

Early last year a Kickstarter project for a product called Strawbees that turned ordinary drinking straws into a giant building toy rocketed past its modest funding goal. And in the same way that Mindstorms brings ordinary Lego to life, the Quirkbot wants to bring those Strawbees to life, letting kids build robots and… » 1/20/15 1:09pm 1/20/15 1:09pm

The New ATLAS Is Stronger, Faster, Scarier, and Battery-Powered

As if the original version of Boston Dynamics' ATLAS robot wasn't unsettling enough, ahead of the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals in June about 75 percent of the robot has been redesigned and rebuilt to make it stronger, faster, quieter, and less encumbered by cables thanks to a battery-filled backpack that… » 1/20/15 11:32am 1/20/15 11:32am

This Robot Copies A Cuttlefish To Be A Better Swimmer

Underwater craft have come a long way since Bond drove that Lotus into the sea, but even today, they still have problems: conventional propeller-driver robots get tangled on underwater obstacles like seaweed and rope, and the noise confuses the cute little dolphins who use vibrations to navigate. That's why this… » 1/12/15 11:42pm 1/12/15 11:42pm

Disney's Sand-Sketching Robot Turns Beaches Into an Artist's Canvas

If you thought elaborate sand castles were the only way one could express their artistic vision on the beach, Disney Research and ETH Zürich want to introduce you to their Beachbot. Slightly larger than a Roomba, the cartoonish robot turtle uses innovative soft balloon-like wheels so that it doesn't leave a trail… » 1/12/15 8:20am 1/12/15 8:20am

Spin Master's Meccanoid G15 KS Will Let You Build Your Own Johnny Five

If you were a child of the '80s, at some point in your life you saw the movie Short Circuit and realized that a sass-talking robot would be far superior to the friends you had at school. And with its new Meccanoid G15 KS building kit, Spin Master will finally let you build and program your own robotic sidekick,… » 1/07/15 4:48pm 1/07/15 4:48pm

The Giant Brush on Samsung's New Robovac Cuts a Wide Swath Through Dirt

It's widely assumed that one day we'll all have robot servants roaming our homes like The Jetsons' Rosie, but the humble robot vacuums used to clean our floors today are basically their great-great grandparents—except they're not so humble any more. Instead of blindly bouncing around a space like the Roomba does,… » 1/05/15 5:00pm 1/05/15 5:00pm

How Do Robots Learn to Cook? By Watching YouTube, Obviously.

Scientists have been toying around with something called "deep learning" (a massive, internet-based robot brain) for a while now. But a newly published paper details the latest advancement in the robotic processing system: Learning how to cook simply from watching YouTube videos. Robots—they're just like us! » 1/04/15 10:20am 1/04/15 10:20am

If Your Robot Buys Illegal Drugs, Have You Committed a Crime?

A group of Swiss artists recently set a bot free on the darknet, allowing it to purchase whatever it could with Bitcoins. Among other weird things it bought were a few ecstasy pills and a fake Hungarian passport. Now an attorney asks whether the artists could be arrested under the law as it currently stands. » 1/03/15 8:59am 1/03/15 8:59am

These Festive Bots Are Just As Excited About the Holidays As You Are

Every year the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich trots out its weird and wonderful robotic creations adorned with festive garb as one of the more entertaining video holiday cards you'll see every year. At this point it's almost as much a holiday tradition as watching Charlie Brown or the Grinch on TV, and though… » 12/25/14 4:00pm 12/25/14 4:00pm

Who Decided a Hexapod With Robot Snakes For Legs Was a Good Idea?

When it comes to mobility and articulation, it turns out that using six robot snakes as legs actually results in a walking hexapod that can easily scramble over almost any terrain. But when it comes to our deep down fears that one day these creations will over throw us, nothing seem as terrifying as this autonomous… » 12/22/14 10:22am 12/22/14 10:22am