LERN: Care-O-Bot 4 Delivers Food, Assists with Cooking and Cleaning

The Care-O-Bot 4 is great at lifting heavy items without falling over. Photo courtesy of Fraunhofer IPA.

In need of a robot butler? The latest version of the Care-o-Bot is coming soon! The Care-O-Bot 4 is a rolling bot designed to help around the house or work in the service industry. It’s customizable, too, with six plug and play components. So customers can request what hardware they want on their bot. The robot could be used to move ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: A Robot To Handwrite Your Letters

The robots at Bond can learn how to write just like you do. Photo courtesy of Bond.

Handwriting is truly a dying art. In many schools, cursive is no longer taught. If you still appreciate handwritten notes, or have clients who do, consider HelloBond.com. The robots at Bond are experts are handwriting, with real pen and ink. Simply type your message, send it to Bond with the address, and the robot will make your impersonal typed letter ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: A Reliable, International Power Supply for Single-Board Computers

This 5V 2A Power Adapter from Adafruit was designed to eliminate brownouts. Photo courtesy of Adafruit.

A poorly made power supply can wreak havoc on a robotics project, particularly one that uses USB power. If the cable is too long, made with narrow gauge wire, and the project requires a lot of current, the adapter might not provide 5V reliably. This can cause brownouts while you’re working with your Raspberry Pi, or any other single-board computer. This International ... Read More »

LERN: Bat-Inspired Robot Features Wings that Adjust to Walk

The DALER robot features wings that fold, much like those on a vampire bat.

Researchers in Europe have developed a robot that can fly and walk, by rotating wing segments. Named after one of the project’s lead researchers, Ludovic Daler, the Deployable Air Land Exploration Robot (DALER) features a unique design inspired by vampire bats. Triangular segments on the outer edge of the robot’s wings twist, end over end, slowly moving the robot forward, even in ... Read More »

LERN: New Robot Helps NASA Build Lighter, Stronger Parts

Brian Stewart, system's integration manager at NASA, poses with ISAAC's rotating head. Photo courtesy of NASA/David C. Bowman.

A new robot at NASA will help the space agency develop stronger, lighter materials for aerospace vehicles. The multi-million dollar robot, called the Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISAAC), is one of only three worldwide. “It changes how we look at composites,” saysBrian Stewart, integration manager for the ISAAC project. “We can convert research ideas into real projects pretty ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Add a Capacitive Touch Screen to Your Raspberry Pi

Adafruit's PiTFT Mini Kit makes a perfect console, X window port, or display on top of your Raspberry Pi A or B rev 2. Photo courtesy of Adafruit.

Raspberry Pi lovers will likely remember the old PiTFT Mini Kit resistive touchscreen, which required a stylus. This new kit, available from Adafruit, can be used with your fingerpad! Featuring at 2.8″ display, the new PiTFT Mini Kit offers 320 x 240 16-bit color pixels. The screen weighs just 44g and with the backlight cranked, the current draw only about 100mA. ... Read More »

LERN: New Glass Could Make Longer-Lasting Batteries

A new kind of glass could double the life of Li-ion batteries. Photo courtesy of ETH Zürich/Peter Rüegg.

Chemists and materials scientists at ETH Zurich have developed a new kind of glass they say could significantly improve batteries. The research team says the new material — vanadate-borate glass — could be used as the cathode to double the life of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. “One major advantage of vanadate-borate glass is that it is simple and inexpensive to manufacture,” says Semih ... Read More »

LERN: BeachBot Creates Huge Pictures in the Sand

BeachBot creates huge works of art in the sand using a special rake individually adjustable tongs. Photo courtesy of BeachBot.ch.

Disney Research and ETH Zürich teamed up to create an artistic robot that draws in the sand. BeachBot uses a rake with individually adjustable tongs to create lines in the sand, drawing abstract art and Disney characters. Three special balloon tires move the bot along with beach without a trace, so the robot is free to leave some areas untouched as it follows ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: A 5 Megapixel Camera for the pcDuino

Plug this small camera into any pcDuino to capture 5 megapixel images. Photo courtesy of Karlsson Robotics.

Upgrade the video capabilities of your pcDuino with a new camera! The tiny device captures 2592 x 1944 active array video and images. Connecting the 5 megapixel camera is easy, as it plugs right into to any pcDuino V3. The module’s onboard OV5640 image sensor is as high quality as those used in phone cameras. It also outputs files in ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Hummingbird Duo Premium Robotics Kit

The Hummingbird Duo Premium Robotics Kit features a ton of pre-wired sensors and servos. Photo courtesy of Adafruit.

This beginners robotics kit from Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab features lots of pre-wired sensors and motors that can be easily connected — no soldering required. That makes the kit perfect for anyone starting out in robotics, from age 10 to 110. The kit includes light, sound, temperature, distance and rotary sensors, as well as several motors and servos. Single- and ... Read More »

LERN: Robots Practice Exploring Mars Using Volcanos on Earth

VolcanoBot 1, shown here in a lava tube, explored the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii in May 2014. The robot is enabling researchers to put together a 3-D map of the fissure. Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are set to send more robots into volcanos. VolcanoBot 1 has already explored Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano and built 3D maps of fissures inside. Now NASA says VolcanoBot 2 will be tested later this year. Lighter and smaller than its predecessor, VolcanoBot 2 has the added advantage of being able to tilt its camera up, ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Trobo Robot Tells Stories About STEM

According to the designers, Trobo is designed to be a lovable companion first, and teacher second. Photo courtesy of Trobo.

Little kids love stuffed animals. Two dads, Jeremy Scheinberg and Chris Harden, decided to take advantage of this fact and design a plushy that would inspire kids to explore STEM concepts. Their toy, Trobo is designed to work in tandem with an iPad or iPhone. Once a wireless connection is established, can Trobo read an onscreen story to the child. The stories are ... Read More »

LERN: Sally Ride EarthKam Puts the World in Perspective for Kids

This photo from a 2012 Sally Ride EarthKam mission shows the Coral Sea. Photo courtesy of Sally Ride EarthKAM.

Children from around the world can request pictures from the International Space Station, via a new Sally Ride EarthKam mission. Teachers and homeschool instructors can sign-up in advance on the Sally Ride EarthKam Website, then log-in to make photo requests between January 27 to January 30. The photo requests are processed at the University California, San Diego’s Sally Ride EarthKAM Mission Operations Center. After the mission, students and instructors ... Read More »