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UBR-1 Robot From Unbounded Robotics Revolutionizes Affordable Mobile Manipulation

We've been following Unbounded Robotics, the final spin-off from Willow Garage, since we first learned of the company's existence back in April. Unbounded has been working in stealth mode for the past year, but our best guess was that they were developing a low-cost mobile manipulator for research and education: something like a PR2, except (we were hoping) significantly cheaper. Today, Unbounded is unveiling UBR-1, a shiny new human-scale one-armed robot designed to completely revolutionize the market for research and education robotics and beyond, for just a tiny fraction of the cost of similar platforms.

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Video Friday: Drone Delivery, Amphibious Quadrupeds, and Boyfriend Prank

Just to warn you, next week is going to be pretty crazy around here: it's RoboBusiness 2013, taking place in Santa Clara, Calif. We can promise you at least one major world debut at the show, and there are all kinds of other things going on, too: an expo, keynotes from industry and academia, and even some workshops and panels, including one being moderated by yours truly. If you happen to be at the show, make sure and stop by and randomly burst into cheers and applause. If you're not at the show, shame on you, and why haven't you moved to Silicon Valley already? Or turned yourself into a robot? And whether you're at the show or not, it's time to pre-game by pounding some Video Friday.

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How to Attend Next Week's RoboBusiness Conference as a Robot

This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

If you were hoping to attend the RoboBusiness conference but had your travel plans disrupted by the U.S. government shutdown, here's some good news: You can attend via robot.

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Stanford-Berkeley Robotics Symposium 2013

At the end of last week, we got up way too early and made the trek up to the University of California, Berkeley for the first annual Stanford-Berkeley Robotics Symposium. If you've spent much time in the San Francisco Bay Area, you know that there's an occasionally good-natured rivalry between Berkeley and Stanford, but this symposium was meant to transcend all of that and create a new era of Bay-spanning cooperation, friendship, and hugs. Besides the hugs (I didn't see any hugs), they may have pulled it off, and we've got a rundown of some of the presentations plus videos of the entire event.

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Study Reveals Chimpanzees' Curiosity about Robots

The interactions between animals and robots is always fascinating, and generally, the more intelligent the animal, the more interesting the interaction. Researchers at the University of Portsmouth tried giving chimpanzees a robotic doll to see how they'd react, and the result was strikingly similar to humans.

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Robo Raven Flies on Solar Power

In theory, solar power is a great way to keep robots running indefinitely. And it's absolutely possible to do it, provided your robot doesn't need to do anything urgently, you have a ludicrously powerful light source, or your robot is very efficient and spends a lot of time in the sun. That last category has potential for solar powered micro air vehicles, including the University of Maryland's Robo Raven, which has just gotten kitted out with solar panel wings.

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SenseFly and Drone Adventures Toss UAVs Off the Summit of Matterhorn

Earlier this year, senseFly took to the Alps to demonstrate how their eBee drones could be deployed from the middle of a ski slope (or just about anywhere else) to autonomously create high resolution 2D and 3D maps while you sit around sipping hot chocolate. I guess maybe they figured that it looked just a little bit too easy, because senseFly has teamed up with Drone Adventures to autonomously map the entire Matterhorn mountain on the border between Switzerland and Italy (an area of 28 square kilometers) using a handful of eBees in less than a day.

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Video Friday: Return of the Robot Ape, Anki Drive Battle Mode, and Why We Love Robots

Enjoy these lighthearted and fun robotics videos while you can, because we're slowly but surely creeping up on IROS and IREX. As of November third, it's going to be all serious business, as we embrace insanity by attempting to bring you one of the world's largest research robotics conferences and the world's largest robot exhibition at the same time. We have just three more Fridays to psych ourselves up for this task, but it's not quite time to panic just yet, so let's start things off with today with a nice, friendly robot ape.

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Russian Robonaut to Travel to Space Station Within Two Years

At a space industry conference last week, Russian officials announced that their version of Robonaut, the SAR-400, is currently undergoing testing at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre Research Institute, and will be making its way to the International Space Station (ISS) within just a few years.

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ExoMars Rover Starts Autonomous Fields Trials in Chile

Robots are pros at exploring space, because they're well-suited for all of the things that make space travel bad for humans: it's dull, it's dirty (in terms of radiation, anyway), and it's very, very dangerous. And, you know, the whole absence of air and water and food and warmth and all that stuff, too. NASA has had some incredible success sending robots to Mars in particular, and the European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing to send its own rover to the red planet in 2018. Before it gets there, however, it has to learn how to drive itself around, which is why it's first going to spend some time in Chile.

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IEEE Spectrum's award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
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Erico Guizzo
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