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DARPA Wants to Give Soldiers Robot Surrogates, Avatar Style

In the movie Avatar, humans hooked themselves up to brain-machine-interface pods with which they could control giant genetically engineered human-alien hybrids. It's just a movie, but DARPA, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, doesn't care: It wants this kind of system to be real, just replace "giant genetically engineered human-alien hybrids" with "robots."

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This Will Be Robonaut's New Job on the ISS, For Now

Robonaut 2 has been up on the International Space Station for, geez, like a year now, and it's only over the last few days that he's really gotten to wake up, stretch out, and get to work. What work is that? Well, it's not hand-to-hand combat with invading aliens. Not yet, anyway.

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In 1930, Robots Were Stealing Musicians' Jobs

I lost my job to a robot once, but I certainly wasn't the first person to have this happen to them. Back in the 1930s, the invention of synchronized sound rendered live musicians who played accompaniment at movie theaters as superfluous. The American Federation of Musicians wasn't about to take the loss of their livelihood lying down, so they orchestrated a PR campaign to try to stop the evil music robots from taking over.

It didn't work.

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The Evolution of Robot Soccer

This is the official goal of the RoboCup soccer competition:

"By mid-21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win the soccer game, complying with the official rule[s] of the FIFA [Fédération Internationale de Football Association], against the winner of the most recent World Cup."

We've seen a lot of improvement over the last few years, but nothing that compares to the skills that the new version of ASIMO recently displayed. And RoboCup itself isn't far behind.

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This Robotic Black Box Will Make Your Life Warmer

This robot may not look like much. In fact, we're absolutely sure it doesn't look like much. But if you give it a chance, it'll be your new best friend on those cold and lonely winter nights as it stores up heat and re-emits it to keep you nice and toasty.

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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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Jason Falconer
Canada
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Angelica Lim
Tokyo, Japan
 

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