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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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RP-VITA Approved for Hospital Use, SUGV Approved for Disruptor Use

A week or so ago, the FDA (who I guess is somehow in charge of robots in hospitals) has decided that they're cool with robots like the RP-VITA telepresence platform wandering around on their own without having a nervous human in tow with one finger poised over an e-stop button. In other words, RP-VITA has been officially pronounced to be no more likely than anything else you'd find in a hospital hallway to somehow injure people. We'll share a few of iRobot's thoughts on the announcement, but first, we have a video of an iRobot 310 SUGV blowing up a bunch of stuff with a disruptor, because that's marginally more exciting.

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Video Friday: One Moose, One Hundred Kilobots, and Robots Refueling Satellites

Seeing a few cool new robots at CES was a great way to kick off 2013, but now we've got a bit of a lull until our next big events (like ICRA in Germany) start to hit in a few months. But that's okay: we'll have plenty of projects to keep us busy, one of which we should be able to tell you about next week! Until then, here's a swarm of robot vids to keep you entertained.

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Submersible Robotic Fishoplane Can Swim for Hundreds of Kilometers

As much as this may look like a fighter jet or spaceship, the folks at Xiaobo Tan's lab at Michigan State University are calling it a robotic fish. A robotic fish with a giant pair of wings that allow it to glide through the water with an incredible level of efficiency, giving this little guy a range of about 200 kilometers without having to be recharged. And why do we need a robot fish? BECAUSE IT'S A ROBOT FISH. Geez. And also because it can sniff out pollution for us.

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Parrot Adds GPS and Partial Autonomy to AR Drone, Shows Off SenseFly UAV

We're huge fans of the AR Drone, not just because it's dirt cheap and a huge amount of fun, and also not just because it's actually being used for serious research, but because we love how Parrot just keeps on making it better year after year. At CES last week, they showed us a bunch of upgrades along the path to autonomy, along with their newest toy: a camera equipped eBee UAV from SenseFly.

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Hands-On With the Next Generation Kinect: PrimeSense Capri

PrimeSense's 3D sensor, which is what's inside the Microsoft Kinect, has revolutionized vision for very cheap and very expensive robots. That's not what it was supposed to do: it was supposed to help lazy gamers get off their couches and jump around a little bit. PrimeSense is still very focused on marketable consumer applications with the next generation of the 3D sensor, called Capri, but we're more interested in what it'll do for our robots. At CES last week, we got some hands-on time with Capri, and we have some details for you.

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Toyota's Semi-Autonomous Car Will Keep You Safe

At a CES press conference yesterday, Toyota presented its semi-autonomous Lexus Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle, a car designed to take over from you when an accident is imminent to keep you in one piece. 

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Automaton

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

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Erico Guizzo
New York, N.Y.
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Evan Ackerman
Berkeley, Calif.
 
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Jason Falconer
Canada
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Angelica Lim
Tokyo, Japan
 

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