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Back when Disney released the first trailer to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, one of the characters that caught most people's eye was BB-8. And for good reason: it's an adorable rolling droid. Now, Disney is bringing it to everyone through Sphero, the company known for its connected robotic toys. M...

13 hours ago 0 Comments
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Robots and other artificial intelligences can already learn from their mistakes, but they typically have to pause what they're doing to process what happened. They might not have to take a break in the future, though. Researchers have patented a technique, Integral Reinforcement Learning, that has...

September 2nd 2015 at 3:48pm 0 Comments
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It's going to be a little while before humanity sets foot on Mars, but in the meantime NASA has a bundle of robots exploring the planet for us. The data they're collecting is valuable, but now researchers want to give their operators greater control. Specifically, they're interested in force feedb...

August 31st 2015 at 9:45am 0 Comments
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Eliminating the herky-jerky movements of robots isn't just good for comforting nervous humans... it helps the robots, too. Researchers have developed smooth movement algorithms that slow the acceleration and deceleration of robots, saving as much as 40 percent of the energy they'd normally use....

August 30th 2015 at 7:46pm 0 Comments
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Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read. Robots Will Steal Our Jobs, But They'll Give Us New Ones by Cade Metz Wired...

August 29th 2015 at 9:30am 0 Comments
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Robots are replacing humans in a lot of roles. At Dartmouth, a robot may soon replace tackling dummies during football practice. Designed by engineering students at the Ivy League school, Mobile Virtual Player (MVP -- yes, really) gives training sessions a more realistic feel over those regular ol...

August 28th 2015 at 3:51pm 0 Comments
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When Sony announced that it was spinning off its PC business, many mourned the passing of the premium -- but not quite best-selling -- VAIO series. The company was reborn in Japan, focusing on far less PC models (only two at the start), and a Made In Japan ethic that stretched from design to manuf...

August 19th 2015 at 1:57am 0 Comments
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It's tempting to use drones to observe wildlife instead of aircraft or hidden cameras, especially since some animals aren't visibly annoyed by the presence of these robotic viewers. However, that calm exterior might be hiding serious stress underneath. University of Minnesota researchers have lear...

August 16th 2015 at 10:10pm 0 Comments
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Today on In Case You Missed It: We take on two pieces of robot news, both of which seem promising for different reasons. First, a robot with responsive, human reflexes is being designed to enter dangerous situations where a real person might be injured. The secret is that the controller is a guy...

August 13th 2015 at 9:00am 0 Comments
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Aerial internet connections will likely be crucial for courier drones and other robotic aircraft, but modern-day cell towers are usually designed to serve people on the ground, not machines in the skies. What to do? Carnegie Mellon researchers might have an answer. They've converted an old ambulan...

August 9th 2015 at 6:18pm 0 Comments
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Based on what we've seen at DARPA's Robotics challenge finals, most humanoid machines are still stiff and hilariously clumsy. MIT's new robot named "Hermes," however, moves a bit more gracefully and has human-like reflexes -- because it's hooked up to a human controller. Think Pacific Rim, except...

August 9th 2015 at 5:01am 0 Comments
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Human hands remain far more dexterous than their mechanical counterparts, but we doubt manufacturers would replace basic pincers with expensive robotic arm technologies. Since it's darn hard and costly to develop or buy a machine that can replicate what the human hand can do, a team of MIT scienti...

August 5th 2015 at 8:42am 0 Comments