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U.S. Navy Starts Delivering Drones Using Balloons and Submarines

A few years ago when we visited AUVSI, the big conference organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, we took a look at some of the vaguely nutty ways that UAVs are landed. Launching is generally more straightforward, unless you need to be stealthy about it, which is why the U.S. Navy is looking to submerged submarines and high-altitude balloons to deliver drones.

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EPFL Looks to Bats, Locusts for Jumping and Gliding Robots

Gliding is a very efficient way for getting from point A to point B. Jumping is a very efficient way of getting into the air at point A, especially if there are a bunch of obstacles between point A and point B that it would be a good idea to be airborne to make it over. Grasshoppers have been doing this for, I dunno, probably like a hundred million years, and roboticists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland, are starting to design their robots with the same kind of jumping talents and expandable wings as our orthopteran friends.

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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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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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