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We're at ICRA 2012!

Here we are at yet another gigantic robot conference: it's ICRA 2012, the IEEE (that's us!) International Conference on Robotics and Automation, and this year's theme is "Robots and Automation: Innovation for Tomorrow's Needs." While we're not sure we know what that means, exactly, there's still going to be more than enough incredibly awesome robotics research to keep us busy for the next few days.

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Italian Quadruped Robot Goes for a Walk

HyQ quadruped robot

Last week, researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology took their quadruped robot HyQ for a test run outside the lab for the first time. The researchers were anxious to try some new tricks HyQ has learned, including the ability to trot over obstacles without falling. The robot is still a strange headless creature, and though a sensor head is in the works, this quadruped might get even weirder with a new hardware addition: arms. Yes, arms.

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Opportunity Rover Fires Up Engines, Starts Another Year Exploring Mars

This picture shows the spot that the Opportunity Mars rover has been sitting on for the last 19 weeks doing its level best to try not to starve to death from lack of solar power. Or I guess, unlevel best, since she was stuck on that little outcropping (called Greely Haven) to keep her solar panels oriented more directly at the sun. But now, the sun is high enough in the sky for Oppy to get her roll on, and she snapped this pic looking backwards after a 3-meter drive into unexplored terrain.

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Open Source Robotics Foundation Officially Announced

Last month, we broke the news that DARPA had decided to award the contract to produce a standard simulation environment for its Humanoid Challenge to the Open Source Robotics Foundation, which nobody had really ever heard of. Notably, we're just getting a press release today that the OSRF has been officially formed or launched or spun off or what have you, and we now have details on the board of directors (which includes some very big names) as well as a bit more information about how everything is going to work.

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Redwood Robotics Brings Big Names to Next Gen Robot Arms

Last Thursday, tech website Xconomy hosted a forum on "The Future of Robotics in Silicon Valley and Beyond." We were there, of course, and so were a lot of other famous robotics people, including Aaron Edsinger of Meka Robotics, who had an announcement to make: an entirely new company called Redwood Robotics, a joint venture between Meka Robotics, Willow Garage, and SRI International.

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Video Friday: Robot Termites, Dust Puppies, and Serious Social Issues

Phew, we made it to another Video Friday! That "phew" is because it's been a busy few weeks in the world of robots, and we've still got ICRA to look forward to in Minnesota starting in just 10 days followed directly by both ROSCon and Maker Faire.

If there have been just too many robotics events for you to keep up with, we feel your pain, and we've started up a Google Calendar to try and keep track of everything. We've literally just started it, but you can subscribe to it (the link is in the column over on the right) and as we add events, they'll show up. Shoot us an email if you've got an event you'd like us to stick on there, too.

Meanwhile, on with the videos! Huzzah!

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sFly Quadrotors Navigate Outdoors All By Themselves

Quadrotors are famous for being able to pull all sorts of crazy stunts, but inevitably, somewhere in the background of the amazing video footage of said crazy stunts you'll notice the baleful red glow of a Vicon motion tracking system. Now, we don't want to call this cheating or anything, but we're certainly looking forward to the day when quadrotors can do this outside of a lab, and the sFly project is helping to make this happen.

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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

Editor
Erico Guizzo
New York, N.Y.
Senior Writer
Evan Ackerman
Berkeley, Calif.
 
Contributor
Jason Falconer
Canada
Contributor
Angelica Lim
Tokyo, Japan
 

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