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Homeland Security Wants Drones for Public Safety, Doesn't Want to Tell Public About Them

Good news, everyone! The Department of Homeland Security, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that it would be kinda cool to have drones flying around to, you know, "protect the homeland." The Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety program will provide "Federal and  local officials with state-of-the-art technology" to do all kinds of stuff in domestic airspace right above your head. What kinds of stuff? Sorry, that's all classified, but don't worry, citizens: rest assured that the DHS cares about you and would never do anything that you wouldn't want them to do. Or something.

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Video Friday: Quadrotor Ball Toss, Toyota's Partner Robot, and How to Engineer a Dog

This time next week, we'll be on our way to a swanky five star beach resort in Portugal. Is this the vacation that we deserve after months and months of non-stop robotics news? NO. IT'S NOT. NO VACATIONS. This is IROS, the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. Last year it was held in San Francisco, and this year, we're heading to the Algarve, on the southern coast of Portugal just west of Spain and north of Africa. Don't worry, though: we'll be lucky if we manage to set even one single foot on the beach with all the robot stuff we'll have to cover. It's gonna be awesome. 

Meanwhile, since we haven't packed up and headed off to Europe just yet, it's time for VIDEOS!

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SARTRE Project Concludes, Reveals Blissful Future of Car Travel

In the (hopefully not too distant) future, we'll all be driving down the highway like this guy: reading a newspaper with our eyes being covered up. It'll be possible thanks to Volvo and six other European partners, who just concluded the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project: it's not autonomous cars, not yet, but it's a lot closer to reality.

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Video Friday: Roomba Turns 10!

This week, the iRobot Roomba celebrated its 10th birthday. Ten years of autonomous vacuuming, and we're confident that there's even more amazingness ahead. Why are we confident? Just look at those cakes, man! That's enough to instill anyone with confidence. And hunger. Okay, mostly hunger. We have video of the cakes in action (yes, there is action), plus lots more, for this week's Video Friday.

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Grishin Invests $250,000 in Double Robotics’ Telepresence Platform

Looks like Double Robotics and their elegantly simple iPad-based telepresence platform has caught the eye of Grishin Robotics, that new robocentric investment firm looking for ways to blow $25 million on robotics startups. Double is getting a quarter million bucks to help them scale up their manufacturing in exchange for, um, something that neither party seems to want to mention, but we've got the rest of the details for you after the jump.

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MakerBot Unveils New Replicator 3D Printer

We’ve got great news. Not only did MakerBot release two new printers on Wednesday, the Replicator 2 and the Replicator 2X, but CEO Bre Pettis thinks IEEE members are “basically the smartest people in the world.”

The Replicator 2 has 100 micron layer resolution, a larger print area for objects up to 410 cubic inches, can print multiple objects simultaneously, and even arrives fully assembled. And don't forget, MakerBot's PLA smells good, Pettis says.

In addition, MakerBot released an updated software suite, MakerWare, and opened up a store in Manhattan, complete with printers, a giant marble run, and gumball machines filled with Maker-made toys. 

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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

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

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