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Help Kickstart Real-Life Mech Warfare with a New Arena

You remember Mech Warfare from RoboGames: it's where people build walking robots, arm them with BB guns, and set them lose against each other in a destructible cityscape. The trick? The human pilot can't see their robot at all: the driving and shooting is all done through first-person cameras in the robots themselves, just like a video game. Except real. It's one of the most awesome things, you know, ever, and Mech Warfare needs your help building a bigger, better, and safer arena so that they can outfit their robots with even more dangerous weaponry.

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Aldebaran Robotics Sells Majority Stake for $100 Million [UPDATED]

aldebaran nao humanoid robot

UPDATE March 27, 2012: According to a forum message by Bastien Parent, head of communication at Aldebaran Robotics, the Financial Times report on Aldebaran's sale contains incorrect information. It's not clear what part of the report is incorrect. Parent wrote that when Aldebaran has concrete things to report, it will do so, "but this is not the case today." 

In news that will send a ripple of excitement through the robotics community, French robot maker Aldebaran has reportedly sold a majority stake in the business for about US $100 million.

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Neato Upgrades XV-11 to XV-21 with New Brush, More Purpleness

New (sort of) from Neato Robotics is the XV-21, an autonomous robot vacuum that's been enhanced to provide better cleaning for people with an excess of pets. Besides being a solid XV-10 better than the XV-11, will the XV-21 and its new pet-optimized hardware really do a better job, and is it worth the premium you'll pay? Being the robot vacuum experts that we are (or that we claim to be, anyway), we'll tell you what we think.

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Navy Enlisting CHARLI's Little Bro SAFFiR as a Robot Fire Fighter

The Office of Naval Research has announced that they're developing SAFFiR, a humanoid firefighting robot designed to operate aboard ships that looks not entirely unlike the robot in the picture above. And as you've probably already guessed from the rAnDoMLy weIRD caPITaLIZAtiON, it's going to be developed in partnership with Virginia Tech's RoMeLa, already famous (at least, around here) for their CHARLI humanoid.

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iRobot: Major Restructuring, Ava Goes Shopping, and the Army Gets FirstLooks

We're going 100 percent iRobot with today's post, 'cause they have a bunch of robotics news that all seemed to happen within the last week or so, and we want to make sure you're up to date: in addition to reorganization of the entire company, their remote presence robot Ava is learning some new tricks, and the U.S. Army has put in a big order for FirstLook reconnaissance robots. We've got details!

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Beep Boop: Teaching Robots to Communicate Like R2-D2

It's easy to argue that R2-D2 from Star Wars has more personality than many robots twice its size, but without a face or limbs to speak of, where does it all come from? The answer, of course, is sound. Now U.K. researchers are trying to do the same with real robots, teaching them to communicate information and emotions to humans using beeps, boops, and squeaks.

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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
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Berkeley, Calif.
 
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