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Japanese Robot Actroid Gets More Social, Has No Fear of Crowds

Actroid-SIT, a lifelike robot from Japanese firm Kokoro, hasn't received as much attention as her cousin  Geminoid F, which happens to be a copy a real woman. But while Geminoid F is a teleoperated robot, Actroid-SIT can function autonomously, talking and gesturing while interacting with people. In fact, researchers have recently demonstrated how improvements to Actroid's behavior can make it look smarter and more expressive than your average android.

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Even Brainless Robots Can Show Swarm Behavior

Bristlebots are robots without sensors or brains that do things that robots without sensors or brains do. As it turns out, this is a lot more than you might expect, since researchers at Harvard have shown that if you stick enough of them in a small space, they self-organize into swarms.

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CMU's CHIMP Humanoid Robot Moves Like a Tank

It has only been a few months since DARPA announced the teams competing in its upcoming Robotics Challenge, but already some of the robots are beginning to shape up. Take, for example, the exotic looking CHIMP robot built by a team at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center. CHIMP (CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform) features tank-like treads on its arms and legs for tackling the bumpy terrain it will encounter as part of the challenge. The idea is to take advantage of both legged and wheeled locomotion, allowing the robot to scoot around low to the ground but stand up when necessary.

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Cloud Robotics Engine Goes Live with Rapyuta Service

The team behind RoboEarth yesterday announced the launch of Rapyuta, a cloud computing platform for robots. Rapyuta is designed to be a combination of a remote processor powerhouse and a giant database storing all robotic knowledge: robots will be able to offload complex tasks to Rapyuta, and they'll also be able to ask Rapyuta for help if they get stuck trying to recognize an object or complete a task (above, a simplified overview of the Rapyuta framework). Here's how it'll eventually all come together:

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HERB Learns to Separate Oreos, Probably Thinks Humans are Crazy

There's a reason why Oreos exist in their present form: they're a carefully formulated combination of exactly the right amount of cookie with exactly the right amount of creme. But that's just not good enough for humans, because humans are crazy, and rather than just buying some chocolate cookies or some frosting, we instead insist on disemboweling our Oreos to separate the creme from the cookie the hard way. We're willing to go to absurdly awesome lengths to do it, most recently including CMU's HERB robotic butler.

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Kinect + Brain Scan = Augmented Reality for Neurosurgeons

With a little duct tape, a touch screen tablet, and their new Kinect API, the Microsoft Research Cambridge team built an augmented reality system to help brain surgeons visualize 3D brain scans. Kinect Fusion supplies 3D modeling of anything, which could fuel some seriously neat medical innovations. (The Cambridge team also built KinEtre, which lets you posses anything.) At the 13th annual Microsoft TechFest, Ben Glocker demoed a prototype system that would allow neurosurgeons to prepare for surgery by looking inside a patient's brain before they cut it open. Doctors could see the skeleton, brain, blood vessels, and the targeted tumor on a tablet—which they can move around the patient's head—helping them to plot the best brain surgery path.

The Fusion API will be released in the next Kinect for Windows SDK, which researchers say will be out very soon.

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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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