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Video Friday: RoboCup Qualifiers, a Hulking Heavy-Lift Quadrotor, and SPHERES at Google

RoboCup isn't happening until July, but that's cool, because vids are already showing up on YouTube, and 2013 looks like it'll be a fantastic year. It's also going to be a fantastic year for quadrotors, a fantastic year for space robots... Heck, robots are just coming up fantastic. But what else is new, right? Watch some fantastic vids of robots doing fantastic stuff, 'cause it's Video Friday.

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Good News: Humans Have Trouble Killing Robots

People are always so worried about robots gaining sentience and killing all humans, but what about humans, who already are sentient (mostly), mercilessly killing robots every time we turn them off? We're setting a bad example, and robots tend to have very long memories reliable hard drives. As it turns out, though, when you put people in the position of seeing robots as having their own intelligence, it becomes very difficult for most of us to flip the switch. Especially if the robot is begging us not to.

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NASA Now Has Robot Gas Station for Space, Robot Miner for the Moon

If Opportunity and Curiosity aren't impressive enough robots for you, you should probably have your head examined, but until you can find the time for that, here are some other fairly awesome robots from NASA that have been in the news this week: one of them pumps gas, and the other one digs dirt. Yeah, maybe they don't sound awesome, but just trust us on this, okay?

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Opportunity Rover Begins Tenth (!) Year On Mars

Listen, NASA. We love you, but you're setting an impossible precedent here. Opportunity, one of a pair of rovers sent to Mars in 2003, landed at Meridiani Planum nine years ago last week. Nine years ago. The warranty on this robot? A mere 90 days. You do the math on how amazing that is.

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MeCam Is a $50 Camera-Equipped Autonomous Nano Quadrotor, Supposedly

At first glance, MeCam looks like it belongs in a research lab. It's a palm-sized quadrotor packing enough sensors to make it capable of autonomous flight, as well as a camera that can stream video to your smartphone. It can follow you around all by itself, shooting video of your life (or anything else you tell it to), and supposedly, it'll be available as soon as 2014 for as little as $50.

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Video Friday: Bosch and Cars, ROVs and Whales, and Kuka Arms and Chainsaws

Sometimes, I feel like if someone where to cut a hole in my head, they'd just see a couple servos and linkages and not much else, like the robot in this picture. Because that's what writing about robots this much will do to you, man. Having said that, I'd like to encourage all of you to not to try to cut holes in my head, and instead to just amuse yourselves with all of the videos we have for you this Friday.

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Adept Introduces Lynx Autonomous Mobile Platform

This is Lynx, a brand new (and very slick) little mobile robot from Adept. It was officially introduced at the Automate show in Chicago this week, and it's designed to move stuff from one place to another without you having to worry much about what people or things may be in between.

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Our Cats Test the LRII Robotic Litter Box: A Paws-On Review

It’s no surprise that the home shared by an engineer and a tech journalist is filled with gadgets. We already own a robot, a Roomba, which vacuums our floors every day. So it wasn't a shock to me when my boyfriend showed up with another robotic helper for our home. It's called the Litter Robot II, an automatic self-cleaning litter box. The machine is a big black orb with a hole in the middle. It looks like the Death Star.

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DARPA Wants to Seed the Ocean Depths With Upward Falling UAV Pods

The ocean is a big place, and DARPA wants to fill it with robots. All of it. Because rather than having to send robots to whatever part of the ocean you want to have robots in, wouldn't it just be much easier of robots were there already? Sure it would! Yes, it's impractical, and maybe even borderline impossible, but hey, it's DARPA, and this is what they do.

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IEEE Spectrum’s award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, drones, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
Contact us:

Erico Guizzo
New York City
Senior Writer
Evan Ackerman
Washington, D.C.

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