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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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Robots Aboard the International Space Station

NASA's doing a good job of keeping the International Space Station well-stocked with robots just in case there's a surprise alien invasion. Robonaut 2 is up there, along with a pack/fleet/swarm/assemblage of SPHERES robots. NASA's Ames Research Center, Johnson Space Center, and MIT have put together a little vid to keep us all up to date with their on-orbit robot happenings and how they plan to give Robonaut his own personal spaceship rear-attachment.

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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
New York, N.Y.
Senior Writer
Evan Ackerman
Berkeley, Calif.
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Angelica Lim
Tokyo, Japan

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