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Video Friday: Giant Robotic Eggs Dance a Tango

Every Friday since the dawn of time, I've been hoping that I'd get a chance to post a video of giant dancing robotic eggs. And every Friday I've been disappointed when such a video has utterly failed to exist.

BUT NOT THIS FRIDAY!

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Microbes Could Power Future Planetary Rovers

The gigantic rover currently on its way to Mars, Curiosity, is powered by a gigantic butt-mounted radioisotope thermoelectric generator. For the next generation of space probes, the Naval Research Laboratory is looking for power sources that are smaller. Much smaller.

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Dinosaur-Like Tails Make Terrestrial Mobile Robots More Agile


Image: Thomas Libby, Evan Chang-Siu, and Pauline Jennings. Courtesy of PolyPEDAL Lab & CiBER/UC Berkeley

This agile little robot with a lizard-inspired tail is by far one of the coolest things we saw at last year's IROS, the IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. You better believe we wanted to share it with you back then, but the UC Berkeley researchers asked us to stay quiet since they were working on a paper for Nature, which is a pretty big deal. The embargo lifted just this second, and we're finally able to bring you the full story.

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Amazing Nao Hack Offers Full-Body Teleoperated Kitty Grooming

We've been following Taylor Veltrop's Nao teleoperation saga for, uh, well... It feels like it's been forever, but I guess it's only been about a year since Veltrop, a Japan-based roboticist, had a robot doing push-ups for him. But there's more to teleoperation than just virtual exercise: There's also virtual pet pampering, and it involves Nao, a Kinect system, a treadmill, a bunch of cameras, and one exceptionally tolerant cat.

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Behold Your Doom: Robospidernaut

Is this one seriously awesome death robot or what? Giant robotic spiders with human torsos and Cylon heads: it's not a nightmare, it's for science! 

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U.S. Navy Starts Delivering Drones Using Balloons and Submarines

A few years ago when we visited AUVSI, the big conference organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, we took a look at some of the vaguely nutty ways that UAVs are landed. Launching is generally more straightforward, unless you need to be stealthy about it, which is why the U.S. Navy is looking to submerged submarines and high-altitude balloons to deliver drones.

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EPFL Looks to Bats, Locusts for Jumping and Gliding Robots

Gliding is a very efficient way for getting from point A to point B. Jumping is a very efficient way of getting into the air at point A, especially if there are a bunch of obstacles between point A and point B that it would be a good idea to be airborne to make it over. Grasshoppers have been doing this for, I dunno, probably like a hundred million years, and roboticists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland, are starting to design their robots with the same kind of jumping talents and expandable wings as our orthopteran friends.

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Generalized Non-Denominational Holiday Greetings from Automaton!

The humans at IEEE Spectrum Automaton would like to wish you a happy [insert preferred holiday here]. We hope that you're having a great time at [insert preferred method of celebration] and that your [insert preferred holiday object(s)] is/are even [insert preferred adjective] than [insert preferred standard of comparison].

In celebration of whatever it is that you may or may not be celebrating, here are some robots doing some, you know, holiday stuff, picked out by our friends at the Robots Podcast. Enjoy!

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Automaton

IEEE Spectrum's award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, drones, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
Contact us:  e.guizzo@ieee.org

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Erico Guizzo
 
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Evan Ackerman
 
 
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Angelica Lim
 

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