Inside the Experimental Robotics Lab Where Machines Are Getting Softer

Last week, an artificially intelligent robot scared me to death . The next day, I travelled to Carnegie Mellon University where I met a lab full of robots designed to do the exact opposite. Big, soft, and inflatable, these robots are Disney characters in real life. Your grandma’s going to love them. That’s the idea. » 4/15/15 3:30pm Wednesday 3:30pm

This Movie's Realistic AI Scared the Shit Out of Me

When I watched the trailer for Ex Machina, I was excited. It wasn’t just the uncanny and attractive robot Ava, either. There were androids, AI, Turing tests! This looked like the scifi movie of my dreams. But when I saw Ex Machina recently, I was terrified. Because it told the truth about what AI might become. » 4/13/15 11:55am 4/13/15 11:55am

This Robotic Bird Can Swoop and Dive (Kinda) Like the Real Thing

Robotic birds are notoriously difficult to make, because the complex motion required brings mechanical weight penalties that are difficult to balance with the modest thrust of the flapping wings. But this new avian bot uses lightweight 3D-printed parts to reduce weight and turn it into an acrobat. » 2/19/15 7:00pm 2/19/15 7:00pm

Anki's Incredible Self-Driving Toy Cars Just Got Even Cooler

What's better than a set of tiny artificially intelligent cars that drive themselves around a track while duking it out with lasers and tractor beams? Well, what if you could configure that track however you want? That's the name of the game with Anki Overdrive, coming this September from the geniuses at robotics… » 2/10/15 9:24am 2/10/15 9:24am

BattleBots Is Back After Ten Years, And It's Bound To Be Incredible

Oh hell yes: BattleBots is coming back to TV. This summer, homemade robots will battle to the death on television, just as Asimov intended. They'll be faster and stronger than ever before. Which makes sense, because the last time BattleBots was on television was over a decade ago. Imagine what they could do now. » 2/06/15 7:31pm 2/06/15 7:31pm

This Robot Can Tap People Until They Hallucinate

Ever get that tingly creeping feeling that someone is behind you, only to turn around and discover there's nothing there? That's called "Feeling of Presence," and it doesn't mean you're getting trailed by a ghoul. It can be a symptom of many neurological conditions, which is why scientists custom-built a robot to … » 11/07/14 3:43pm 11/07/14 3:43pm

8 Real-Life Robots That Inspired Big Hero 6

The star of the new Disney-Marvel movie Big Hero 6 is a poofy robot named Baymax who can assess your health with a laser-enabled two-second full-body scan. He also might soon be a reality. Baymax and other robots in the film were inspired by eight actual robots, some of which were designed and built in labs at MIT, … » 11/06/14 9:20am 11/06/14 9:20am

10 Cool Sci-Fi Technologies Invading Our Reality

Cool technologies that were once reserved for science fiction are invading our reality at an accelerating pace. In some cases, our Earth-bound scientists have proven that seemingly impossible technologies can be developed, but they still have some obstacles to overcome first. In other cases, those technologies are… » 10/27/14 9:20am 10/27/14 9:20am

This Life-Like New Prosthetic Hand Lets Amputees Feel Texture

Using Star Wars as a way to track progress in the prosthetics is almost a cliché, but boy are we getting close. A new mind-controlled prosthetic hand from researchers at Case Western Reserve University is so advanced that amputees can feel detailed textures and handle delicate objects. And yes, it sort of looks like… » 10/10/14 3:10pm 10/10/14 3:10pm

The New Big Hero 6 Trailer Reveals Even More Ass-Kicking Animation

I could not be more excited for the first Disney-Marvel mashup Big Hero 6, coming to theaters this fall. In a new trailer released today at NYC's Comic-Con, we get to see more of the action, backdropped by epic San Fransokyo views and superhero suits that were inspired by visits to real-life robotics labs. » 10/09/14 3:56pm 10/09/14 3:56pm

A Swarm of Tiny Bots Could Inspect the Hidden Underbellies of Bridges

America's bridges are not—we're sorry to report—doing so great. Of the over 600,000 bridges in the U.S., more than half are over 30 years old, and 11 percent are structurally deficient. That makes inspecting bridges all the more important; unfortunately, the underside of a bridge is also pretty damn inaccessible to… » 9/25/14 1:15pm 9/25/14 1:15pm