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Eye3: Aerial Photography Drone Unveiled on Kickstarter

It's fairly easy to buy your own camera-equipped flying robot these days. Heck, you can get yourself an AR Drone for just $300. But stepping up to something a little bit more advanced (say, with an autopilot and enough payload for a serious camera) is both intimidating and expensive. A project now on Kickstarter, the popular website that crowdsources funding, aims to take all of the stress out of buying and using a professional flying camera platform, while saving you a pile of money (maybe) at the same time.

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Shrewbot Finds Its Way Around With Sensitive Whiskers

Last time we checked in with the Bristol Robotics Lab, in the U.K. (back in 2008), they'd just finished building Scratchbot, a whiskery robot inspired by rats. Since then, they've been hard at work bewiskering more robots, including their latest creation: Shrewbot, inspired by the small (but capable) Etruscan shrew.

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GWU Pet Project Means Your Dog Really, Really Wants a Robot

Teaching robots to S.C.O.O.P. P.O.O.P. is fine for humans with dogs, but the dogs themselves couldn't care less what happens to their, uh, leavings. What dogs do care about is going for walks, playing fetch, and getting fed, and in an effort to appeal to the canine user demographic, students at George Washington University are hard at work teaching their PR2 robot to be your dog's new best friend.

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Animatronic Robot Baby Cannot Be Unseen

Remember how we keep on saying that you shouldn't make robot babies? That's because you shouldn't make robot babies. It's a little bit more excusable if you're a professional animator and someone is paying you to make one of these... Things... But that doesn't make it any less creepy.

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This Is What Kids Want From Robots


Image via ALIZ-E Project

We've been waiting for years (decades, in fact) for robots to become integral parts of our daily lives, but it hasn't quite happened yet. We're getting closer, that's for sure, but it's starting to look like it might be our kids (and not us) who will get the full benefit of the forthcoming robot revolution. With that in mind, Latitude Research has collaborated with with LEGO Learning Institute and Australia's Project Synthesis to compile a study of how children see robots fitting into their lives.

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Search and Rescue Dog Deploys Robot Snake via Bark Control

Many animals, including some humans, seem to have an instinctual aversion to snakes. Many animals, including some humans, also seem to have an instinctual aversion to robots. Couple that with a (totally understandable) instinctual aversion to running around in disaster zones, and it's remarkable that this robosnake-deploying disaster dog even shows up for work in the mornings. 

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Robot Vacuums That Empty Themselves

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show was not a big launching point for robotics companies this year. We saw Pleos, Paros, Paperos, and other familiar robots that didn't start with the letter "P" like Naos and Cubelets (not to mention Tosy's robotic boombox presented by Justin Bieber). Even iRobot decided not to put on an appearance: They were at CES taking meetings, but without a big booth presence like they've had in years past.

But we're always looking for what's coming next, and we did find one thing that got us excited. If you own a robotic vacuum cleaner, you probably know that one of the most annoying things about these devices is that when their dust bin is full, you have to clean your cleaning robot. The good news is that at CES we saw a couple of robot vacuums from Asia that come with docking stations capable of emptying the dust bins automatically.

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French Self-Driving Car Takes to the Road

Quasper France autonomous vehicle

Autonomous vehicle projects are picking up speed -- literally. Leading the pack is Google's famed robot car, which has logged thousands of kilometers driving on public roads. But there are projects also in Italy, Germany, the U.K., and reportedly China.

Now we've learned about an interesting self-driving vehicle developed in France. The video below shows how the car works and some road tests, including one in which a "polystyrene pedestrian" is thrown in front of the vehicle:

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IEEE Spectrum's award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
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Erico Guizzo
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Berkeley, Calif.
 
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Canada
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Tokyo, Japan
 

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