LERN: Can a Robot Guide Fire Fighters with Vibrating Reigns?

The robot, which leads a human using vibrations sent along reigns, has already been tested in a smoke filled cave. (Photo credit: Sheffield Hallam University.)

Researchers at King’s College London and Sheffield Hallam University are working on a guidance robot for firefighters in dense smoke. The fire fighter would hold reigns attached to the robot, while walking about a meter behind the bot. Vibrations in the reigns would impart data on the size, shape and stiffness of anything the robot finds. Over the last four ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Build Your Own Lizard Robot

The Kingii Dragon Robot from OWI is modeled after the chalamydosaurus kingii lizard. (Photo credit: Robotikits Direct.)

The Kingii Dragon Robot from OWI is modeled after the frilled lizards of Australia, with colorful neck frills and a long, green tail. The robot features a two-mode, infrared sensor. Set to the escape mode, Kingii will act shocked when it detects something in its path, by opening its mouth, displaying its frill, and lighting up its eyes before scurrying ... Read More »

LERN: Robots Used to Test Theory of Snake Movement

This snake robot, which measures two inches in diameter, was used to test theories on how real snakes move. (Photo credit: Carnegie Mellon University.)

In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers report that they successfully tested their hypothesis on snake movement using robots made at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers hypothesized that sidewinding snakes move using vertical and horizontal body waves that change in phase and amplitude to achieve exceptional maneuverability. When the researchers tested their ... Read More »

LERN: Nao Co-Writer Teaches Handwriting by Feigning Ignorance

A new research project seeks to help students struggling with handwriting by empowering them to teach a Nao robot. (Photo credit: EPFL.)

Children struggling with handwriting might one day benefit from a research project involving the Nao robot. The Nao Co-Writer interacts with the child using a tablet. First the child makes the word using magnetic letters. Next, the robot writes the word on the tablet — but somewhat badly. Then the child writes the word on the tablet, while pointing out the robot’s ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Build Upons LEDs will Light Up Your Lego

Brighten up your Lego creations with compatible LEDs. (Photo courtesy of Sparkfun.)

These little LEDs are more than just brick-ish. They are perfectly compatible with Lego! So take that Lego vehicle and add some working headlights or make your robot’s baby blues really shine! Each LED is precisely the same size as a Lego 1 x 1 brick. The top of the blocks are also stackable. (The bottoms have those pesky LED ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Make Bredboarding Easier with 5eBoards

Build a better circuit with a 5eBoard. (Photo credit: 5eTek)

A little color can go a long way, even when bread boarding! The 5eBoardTM system uses different colors of electrically connected blocks so that you can functionally label the parts of your circuit. This makes prototyping, debuging, and testing circuits faster and easier. Create digital and analogue circuits, and grow your project by linking base boards together. The system is ... Read More »

LERN: Next-Gen Robotic Materials Will Autonomously Change to Suit Needs

This soft robot, developed at Correll Lab is made of an autonomous material that rolls using distributed control. (Photo credit: Correll Lab.)

Prosthetics with a realistic sense of touch. Bridges that detect and repair their own damage. Vehicles with camouflaging capabilities. Advances in materials science, distributed algorithms, and manufacturing processes are bringing all of these things closer to reality every day, says a new review written by Nikolaus Correll, assistant professor of computer science, and research assistant Michael McEvoy, both of the ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Meet Baxter’s Brother, Sawyer

Sawyer is faster, stronger and more precise that his brother, Baxter. (Photo credit: Rethink Robotics.)

Rethink Robotics has announced a new addition to their robot family: Sawyer, a single-armed robot designed for machine tending, circuit board testing and other high-precision jobs. You can certainly see the family resemblance between Baxter and Sawyer. Both robots feature the same face screen with simple but expressive eyes and brows. Sawyer can also be trained simply by demonstrating the ... Read More »

LERN: Robot Study Shows Body Posture Influences Infant Learning

A robot is taught to distinguish between two objects as part of research on the effect of body posture on infant learning. (Photo credit: University of Plymouth)

Research with robots has determined that posture is critical in the early stages of acquiring new knowledge. The project offers a new approach to studying the ways of cognition, such as how words or memories of physical objects, are tied to the position of the body. “This study shows that the body plays a role in early object name learning, and how toddlers use the ... Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: Small, Low-Cost Sound Board for Your Next Electronics Project

This little board can add 16 MG of audio -- no microprocessor required! (Photo credit: Adafruit.)

The Adafruit Audio FX Mini Sound Board ($19.95) is a great solution if you want your next electronics project to make a little noise. The board doesn’t require an Arduino — or any other microprocessor or additional memory — to run. All it needs is a little juice, in the form of a 3V to 5.5 V battery. Adafruit crammed ... Read More »

LERN: Yamaha Industrial Robot Makes Disco Debut on Custom, Lighted Dance Floor

The 360 SCARA shows off its moves on the dance floor. (Photo credit: Yamaha Robotics.)

Normally, it’s all work and no play for factory robots. But one lucky bot at Yamaha Robotics in Indiana has a custom-made disco floor and knows how to use it. Soon the robot will be traveling to Chicago and dancing in front of a live audience at Automate 2015. “The team here was thinking of ways to spruce up the ... Read More »

3D Print A Wriggle Bot Project Files

Wriggler_pic

In our article "3D Print A Wriggle Bot", from the MayJun Issue of Robot Magazine, Andrew Russell describes exactly how to put together your own small robot completely from scratch. Within this post are the files you can download to get your project underway very quickly. Read More »

PLUG & PLAY: A 3D Printer That Makes An Artful Pancake

The PancakeBot will print your art in batter. (Photo credit: Storebound.)

Turn your sketches into perfect pancakes with PancakeBot! Import your designs into the PancakeBot software and then retrace your image, making sure to the do the lines you want darkest first. The software creates a file that can be stored on an SD card. Insert the card into the robot, ensure it’s full of batter and PancakeBot is ready to ... Read More »