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Meet Pneupard, Osaka University's Air-Powered Cheetah Robot

Roboticists around the world are in the process of reverse engineering the anatomical construction of cheetahs and other cats in an attempt to develop faster and more agile legged robots. The latest project, dubbed the Pneupard, hails from Osaka University. Although still early in development, the new biomimetic platform stands out from some of the others through its use of pneumatic artificial muscles as its primary means of locomotion.

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Watch This 'Sprawl-Tuned' Insect Bot Skitter All Over The Place

This little guy just showed up on UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab YouTube channel. It's called STAR, for Sprawl-Tuned Autonomous Robot, a six legged skittery thing just 12 cm in size that can adapt its limbs and its gait to zip over and under obstacles.

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Here Are The (Rumored) Specs for the Next Generation Kinect Sensor

PrimeSense may be busy making its next-gen sensor smaller and not more powerful, but Microsoft isn't looking to stuff Kinect into mobile devices. The next generation Kinect is going to be an integral part of Microsoft's next gaming console, (widely expected to be released at E3 in June), and there's a rumor that it will come with some beefed-up specs, which we've got for you in a nice handy table. Will it make your robot better, smarter, and faster? Well, maybe.

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DFKI's Space Rovers and Hexapods Will Team Up on Other Planets

Why send just one robot into space when you could send two robots into space instead? We did it with Spirit and Opportunity, and that worked out great is mostly still working out great. It would have been working out even better, though, if we'd let Spirit and Oppy get each other's backs and team up to do some extra exploring. That's the idea that DFKI Bremen has been testing with its pair of space robots: a four wheeled rover named SHERPA and a hexapod named CREX.

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UK Unveils 'Affordable' Self-Driving RobotCar

At this point, seeing robot cars pop up at places like CES is getting less and less surprising and more and more frustrating as we think about just how many hurdles these vehicles have to drive over before we'll actually get to start using them. Don't get me wrong, there's been substantial progress, but when researchers say things like "hey we can make a car autonomous for $150"—as U.K. researchers said about their recently unveiled RobotCar project —it's time to get excited (and frustrated) all over again.

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Video Friday: Back Rubs, Scrum Simulators, and Robot Theater

I don't know about you, but we've had quite a week this week. So seriously, we're more than ready for a nice relaxing weekend, and the only thing standing between us and that is a few more hours of work plus a whole bunch of robot videos.

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Open Source Robotics Foundation Accelerates ROS Transition, Hires Key ROS Developers From Willow

It's not entirely clear what's going to happen at Willow Garage in the next weeks and months, but there has been a substantial amount of concern within the robotics community about the future of ROS, the Robot Operating System. ROS has grown far beyond Willow Garage, and is now being used by researchers, hobbyists, and industry all over the world. With Willow changing, what's going to happen to ROS? The Open Source Robotics Foundation has a blog post that should make you feel a bit better about the future.

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Automaton

IEEE Spectrum’s award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, drones, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
Contact us:  e.guizzo@ieee.org

Editor
Erico Guizzo
New York City
Senior Writer
Evan Ackerman
Washington, D.C.
 

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