LERN: Visualization System Projects Robot’s Thoughts

A projection system displays a robot's thoughts regarding path planning. Photo courtesy of Melanie Gonick/MIT.

Researchers at MIT have built a system that displays an autonomous robot’s path planning options, as the bot considers its route. The system was designed in response to visitors of the school’s Aerospace Control Lab who often thought the robots were simply displaying random behaviors. “Normally, a robot may make some decision, but you can’t quite tell what’s going on in its mind — ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Novel Site Sells Hands-on Electronics Lessons, Mailed Monthly

With EEME Kits, kids can learn basic electronics hands on, making a variety of simple circuits, including a lemon battery. Photo courtesy of EEME.

If you have kids and you post about them on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the online ads for a monthly arts and craft subscription service. For a small monthly fee, the company will send you a kit including all the supplies for a few craft projects and the instructions. Simply open the box, and you’re crafting with your kid. Now ... Read More »

LERN: Lowe’s Introduces Robot Shopping Assistant

With the Lowe's OSHbot, a customer can bring in a spare part and scan the object using the bot's 3D sensing camera. After identifying the object, OSHbot will provide product information to the customer and help guide them to its location on store shelves. Photo courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Lowe's.

How many times have you discovered you’re short a few parts? Say, for example, you need a few more bolts to complete a project. You probably tuck one away in your pocket and take it with you to the store, so that you can find the identical bolt when you get there. But you still spend 30 minutes in the store, finding the ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: PopPet: A Robot Pet for Kids to Build

While PopPet is barely longer than a credit card, this DIY kit offers big fun for kids. Photo courtesy of Jaidyn Edwards.

Lots of bots give kids the opportunity to code, but only a few can actually be built by little kids. PopPet, the robotic pet, is a do-it-yourself kit made with children in mind. Designed by Jaidyn Edwards of Adelaide, Australia, PopPet requires no soldering to build. The circuit board is already complete. But the major components and frame still need to be put together, and that’s ... Read More »

LERN: Electrostatic Robot Hand Wins RoboBusiness Award

Grabit's grippers uses electrostatic for electrostatic forces for a low-energy solution to handling materials such as glass sheets safely, while minimizing stress. Photo courtesy of Grabit.

A robot gripper that uses electro-static adhesion won a Game Changer Award at RoboBusiness earlier this month. Many grippers use a vacuum to hold on to items, but that puts stress on the items and can cause damage. According to Grabit, the company behind the gripper, using electrostatic adhesion eliminates high point stresses on large sheets of glass. The hand is also highly energy ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Build Your Own Gizmo with FlowPaw

The FlowPaw makes it easy to create your own gizmo with sensor boards that click into the fingers. Photo courtesy of DSP Robotics.

DSP Robotics is trying to raise £19,500 via Kickstarter for their expandable electronics education board: FlowPaw. With the right accessories, you can turn FlowPaw into just about anything you want. Whether you make it into a robot, a security device, a game controller, or a synthesizer, DSP Robotics believe you’ll enjoy the experience and learn a lot from it. The main ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: New, Highly Customizable Off-Road Chassis from Actobotics

The Nomad 4WD Off-Road Chassis kit from Actobotics allows for quick and easy structural customization with just a hex key.

Sparkfun has released a new robot chassis kit: the Nomad 4WD Off Road from Actobotics. The robot is based on the aluminum channels that are the core of the Actobotics system. The channels feature a pattern of holes in two sizes. The holes make it easy to customize the robot by attaching a wide range of parts from the Actobotics system, using ... Read More »

NEWS: Help RoboGames Broadcast the Fun Online

Battles can get quite heated at RoboGames. Photo courtesy of the Robotics Society of America.

The Robotics Society of America (RSA) needs your help to create a professionally produced, Web-based TV series about RoboGames. There are just 15 days left in their KickStarter campaign, and the RSA is already more than 70 percent of the way to their $40,000 target. But they need your help to close the gap! While the show will feature lots of robot ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Ozobots Follow Lines On Screen and Off, Respond to Colors

Ozobots race along a track made of printed lines as well as those on the screen of a tablet. Photo courtesy of Evollve Inc.

Imagine racing real toy cars in a video game world. The Ozobot, by Evollve Inc., makes this concept a reality. The tiny, line following robot can interpret colors. To program the robot, simple draw a colorful line according to the directions that come with the bot. Ozobot can be programmed with hundreds of moves to perform a choreographed dance, or simply wander along ... Read More »

LERN: Iron-Man Inspired, Light Up Prosthetic Hand for Kids

Pat Starace says his light-up Iron Man prosthetic was designed to be "awesome." Photo courtesy of PatStarace.com.

A new Arduino-powered prosthetic hand not only looks like Iron Man’s, it also lights up in multiple ways. Mechanical designer and animator Pat Starace says he designed the child-sized hand with three goals in mind. “It had to look awesome, it had to perform awesome, and there would be no strings or mechanics that could distract from the visual impact,” ... Read More »

LERN: EyeCane Offers Better Navigation for Visually Impaired

Two sensor beams, one pointing directly ahead, and one pointing towards the ground collect data on obstacles. Photo Courtesy of the Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

A new electronic travel aid for the visually impaired could offer a major improvement on the white cane, by providing information about obstacles using sound and motion. Weighing less than 100 grams, the device provides information simultaneously for two directions: directly ahead for far away obstacles, and downwards at an angle of 45 degrees, for an assessment of what’s on the ground. ... Read More »

LERN: Turn your Car into a Tele-operated Vehicle in Ten Minutes

The Pronto4 Robotic Applique Kit can bring semi-autonomous driving capabilities to any ground vehicle. Photo courtesy of Kairos Autonomi.

Kairos Autonomi won a Game Changer Award at RoboBusiness last week for an artificially intelligent robot driver: the Pronto4 Uomo (pronounced wo-mo). While the robot’s appearance isn’t very slick, the specs are impressive. In 10 minutes, the Uomo can turn a normal car into a tele-operated vehicle, or one that can follow a course laid out in a GPS. A semi-autonomous vehicle can be created in under ... Read More »

LERN: Robotic Surgeon Performs Brain Surgery For Epilepsy via the Cheek

A fake patient in an MRI machine shows how the surgical robot that can perform epilepsy surgery through the cheek.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have developed a working prototype for a robot that will perform precise brain surgery to treat epilepsy by entering the brain via the cheek. The approach will be less invasive than traditional surgery, which involves drilling into the skull. The Vanderbilt system nvolves specially designed, steerable needles made of a shape-memory, nickel-titanium, alloy. The needles will be inserted into the ... Read More »