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Generalized Non-Denominational Holiday Greetings from Automaton!

The humans at IEEE Spectrum Automaton would like to wish you a happy [insert preferred holiday here]. We hope that you're having a great time at [insert preferred method of celebration] and that your [insert preferred holiday object(s)] is/are even [insert preferred adjective] than [insert preferred standard of comparison].

In celebration of whatever it is that you may or may not be celebrating, here are some robots doing some, you know, holiday stuff, picked out by our friends at the Robots Podcast. Enjoy!

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Is MyRobots.com the 'Facebook for Robots?' Verdict: Maybe

Yesterday saw the launch of a website called MyRobots.com, which aims to be a sort of social network and cloud communications system for consumer robots and other "smart" household objects. It's a great idea, but like most great ideas, it may come with a catch.

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K-MAX RoboCopter Starts Making Autonomous Afghanistan Deliveries

Helicopters are the most reliable way to get supplies to some of the more remote outposts in Afghanistan, but flying resupply missions is dangerous work. As of this week, some of those aerial resupply jobs will be taken over by an unmanned K-MAX helicopter, which flew its first successful mission over the weekend.

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Video Friday: Hexapod Robot Transforms Into Death Star

There's a hexapod tucked away inside this transforming sphere, and it may or may not have just destroyed Alderaan. Yeah, probably not, but that's only because it's not fully armed and operational yet. BWAHAHAHAHA!

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Brainlink Gives Any Robot a New Brain

Roomba is a reasonably clever robot. Heck, for a vacuum, it's brilliant. But compared to other robots, it's lacking some sensors and skills that are starting to become downright basic. Roomba could use a new brain, and since it's a robot, you can actually just go and do that now.

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Here's What DARPA Wants to See From Their Crowdsourced UAV

DARPA is just getting lazier and lazier. Instead of coming up with new pieces of hardware by themselves, they keep on sponsoring these competitions where everyone else (like you) can come up with good ideas. Crowd-sourced UAVs, anyone?

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What Is a Household Robot?

In this guest post, Greg Shirakyan, a member of the Microsoft Robotics group, discusses why household robots, something that everyone seems to want, are nowhere to be found―and what's needed to be done to get them into our homes.

8-year-old interacts with Microsoft robot
The author's 8-year-old interacting with Microsoft's Roborazzi, a mobile robot photographer.

What Is a Household Robot?

When presented with this question, most people don’t ask for clarification. They intuitively know what the question means―even children do. And then, after naming one or two examples that invariably include a robot tidying up a house one way or another, people often stumble.

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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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