Inspired by the traditional Japanese art of origami, self-folding robots can go places and do things traditional robots cannot. A major drawback to these devices, however, has been the need to equip them with batteries or wires. Researchers from Harvard have found a new way to overcome this problem, by designing…
Designing simpler spacecraft is what helped us finally put rovers on Mars and start exploring the Red Planet. Embracing simplicity might also give us simple, inexpensive robots that thrive doing very specific tasks, instead of multi-million dollar humanoids that have trouble just staying on their feet.
Building a robot that can replicate everything a human can do is both impossibly complicated and expensive. So, researchers at the IT University of Copenhagen are taking the exact opposite approach: building incredibly simple robots, on-demand, that only do what humans can’t.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have a new crew member—an adorable robotic ball capable of recording video while moving in zero gravity. Dubbed “Int-Ball,” the device will free astronauts to do more important work, while providing ground controllers with their own set of eyes.
Welcome back to another week of Toy Aisle, io9's collection of the most amazing Paul Reiser merchandise (and maybe other things) we’ve seen on the internet this week. We’ve got Black Panther and the Ultimate Spider-Man himself swinging into action, even more SDCC exclusives, and a very fancy Transformer.
Those blockbuster Marvel movies only show our favorite superheroes when they’re out saving the world. If you want a glimpse of what heroes like Iron Man do the rest of the time, look no further than this incredibly articulated humanoid robot called TEO, who’s recently learned to iron clothing.
The Islamic State has increasingly used drones and other robotic IEDs against American, Iraqi, and civilian targets in Iraq. And as the Coalition fights its way through Mosul, troops are discovering workshops filled with crude but deadly robotics used to bomb people sometimes dozens of times per day.
We’ve all seen the grade school science experiment where sticking a couple of electrodes into a potato produces enough current to power a small light bulb. But engineer Marek Baczynski took that experiment several steps further, building what could be the world’s first autonomous potato—and the ultimate housepet.
Lego’s third feature-length animated film, The Lego Ninjago Movie, doesn’t hit theaters until September. But the toymaker has already started to reveal a new series of sets based on the movie, which feature ninjas, giant robots, and... wait, do you really need anything else in a movie?
It’s assumed that when robots one day replace humans in boxing and ultimate fighting bouts, the ensuing battles will be like watching a real-life Transformers movie play out. But these tiny sumo robots tell a different story, with lightning fast fights that are over almost as quickly as they begin.
Predictions about driverless cars became incredibly popular in the 1950s and 60s. But the idea is nearly as old as the automobile itself. One example? This short film from 1911, featuring a robot chauffeur.
Shimon—a four-armed marimba playing robot—has been around for years, but its developers at Georgia Tech have recently taken this futuristic musical machine to the next level. Using deep learning, the robot can now study large datasets from well-known musicians, and then produce and perform its own original…
Emulating spiders and bugs, and using drinking straws as basic building blocks, a research team from Harvard University has developed a type of semi-soft robot capable of standing, walking, and even striding across a liquid surface. Say hello to the “arthrobots.”
Three years after acquiring the MIT robotics lab Boston Dynamics, makers of Atlas and other scary bots, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) is selling it off to Softbank, a Japanese telecommunications company already known for its less terrifying robots like Pepper that might soon be getting some impressive upgrades.…
When picking an object up, it takes humans a mere instant to know if they’ve grasped it properly, or if they need to adjust their grip so it’s more secure. Teaching robots how to properly pick something is a monumental task that might actually get a little easier—by making it harder to do.
With each passing breakthrough in artificial intelligence, we’re asking our machines to make increasingly complex and weighty decisions. Trouble is, AIs are starting to act beyond our levels of comprehension. In high frequency stock trading, for example, this had led to so-called flash crashes, in which algorithms…
Like maintaining a zen garden, or pruning a bonsai tree, some people stack and balance rocks as a way to relax. But robots don’t really experience emotional stress, so why bother teaching a bot to balance rocks? One day, this robot’s skills could prove invaluable when it comes to building structures on distant worlds…
Welcome back to Toy Aisle, io9's weekly roundup of the fanciest toys around. This week we’re already hiding our wallets from amazing SDCC exclusives, plus Hot Toys teases its next Wonder Woman figure, Thor: Ragnarok comes to Lego, and a Transformer turns into a giant medieval dragon. No, really!
Films and TV shows like Blade Runner, Humans, and Westworld, where highly advanced robots have no rights, trouble our conscience. They show us that our behaviors are not just harmful to robots—they also demean and diminish us as a species. We like to think we’re better than the characters on the screen, and that when…
If you’re jealous of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit, but don’t have billions of dollars to build your own, a group of Japanese researchers have come up with a cheaper, and arguably more useful alternative: an extra pair of robot arms that can help out when your own limbs are busy.