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SaviOne: Savioke Unveils Its Delivery Robot

Well, we can stop speculating about what Savioke has been working on, because it's the robot in the picture above: SaviOne is a delivery robot that's operating as we speak at a hotel in Silicon Valley. It's designed to provide door-to-door delivery of whatever you desire (and can fit in its cargo bin), and it drives around autonomously while emitting adorable R2-D2-ish beeps.

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AI Video Competition Features Robots Plotting Against Humans, More

We thought about throwing all of these fantastic videos from the 2014 AAAI Video Competition into last week's Video Friday, but then decided that they deserved their own post. AAAI is the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, which held its annual conference late last month in Canada. According to the AAAI website, "the goal of the competition is to show the world how much fun AI is by documenting exciting artificial intelligence advances in research, education, and application." Fun? We like fun! SHOW US THE FUN.

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Video Friday: MIT DragonBots, Bot & Dolly Behind the Scenes, and RoboSub

You know what's special about today's Video Friday? No drones. No UAVs. No flying robots at all. Some weeks, it's all flying robots. Most weeks, there's at least a few. But not this week. Zero. This probably means that I've somehow missed out on something cool (and there is one thing, but I'm saving it for a proper article next week). So if you only bother to show up to Video Fridays for the fliers, you can take the week off. For the rest of us, let's get to it.

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Self-Folding Origami Robot Goes From Flat to Walking in Four Minutes

At the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) last year, Harvard's Sam Felton introduced us to his printed, self-folding inchworm robot. With some external infrastructure and the addition of a motor, the inchworm could autonomously transform from a flat sheet to a crawling robot by folding itself into a 3D structure with flexible joints.

Today, Felton and colleagues from Harvard and MIT are publishing a new paper in Science featuring a much more complex self-folding robot that can go from flat to folded and walking in four minutes without any human intervention at all.

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Hummingbirds vs. Micro UAVs: Who's the Best Flyer?

Hummingbirds have been optimizing their design for something like 42 million years. Humans have been optimizing our designs for robots that try to fly like hummingbirds for, um, somewhat less time.* So it's not a surprise that hummingbirds are better fliers than robotic microcopters, but it is a surprise that we're actually getting close in efficiency, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface

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Korean Shipbuilder Testing Industrial Exoskeletons for Future Cybernetic Workforce

Robots are stronger than humans. In situations where strength matters a lot, this often makes robots better than humans, at least for some specific tasks. However, robots are also dumber than humans, so making those super strong robots do what you want them to do can be a time consuming, expensive, and often utterly impossible task.

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) wants to combine humans and robots in the most direct possible way, by allowing robots to swallow humans whole. We're talking about exoskeletons, of course: we've seen them in the market for medical uses (like rehabilitation), but DSME just wants them to endow human workers with massive amounts of brute strength.

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NASA Announces Next Mars Rover, and Opportunity Sets Distance Record

You know what the most amazing robot ever is? The Opportunity Mars rover. It's not the fastest, or the strongest, or the cleverest. But, in terms of the magnitude of things that it's done that are otherwise too dull, dirty, or dangerous for humans to do, it absolutely wins. Thing one is getting to Mars. Thing two is doing science on Mars. Thing three (and this is the big one) is still doing science on Mars.

Opportunity's longevity has surprised even its creators. In fact, during the time the rover has been doing science on Mars, NASA designed, built, and landed a bigger and more powerful rover, Curiosity, on Mars. Now NASA has decided on the science payload for a third rover program that is expected to launch to Mars in 2020, and they've just announced what it'll be able to do that previous rovers can't.

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Robocopters Haul Tons of Stuff in Afghanistan, Return Home Victorious

In December of 2011, the U.S. Marines took delivery of a pair of Kaman K-MAX helicopters that Lockheed Martin had modified for autonomous cargo delivery. But after the robot helicopters were sent to Afghanistan, we heard nothing more about the program. Until now.

Apparently the testing program was extraordinarily successful, which is good news for the U.S. military's plan to replace as many humans as possible with robots.

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Scholars Say No to FAA's Model Aircraft Regulations

Last week, a group of researchers, teachers, and administrators from 16 institutions of higher learning including Harvard, Duke, and Stanford, registered their objections to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's recent “Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.” They did that by submitting, with the assistance of counsel, a 13-page letter in response to the FAA’s request for public comments.

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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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Canada
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