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iRobot: Major Restructuring, Ava Goes Shopping, and the Army Gets FirstLooks

We're going 100 percent iRobot with today's post, 'cause they have a bunch of robotics news that all seemed to happen within the last week or so, and we want to make sure you're up to date: in addition to reorganization of the entire company, their remote presence robot Ava is learning some new tricks, and the U.S. Army has put in a big order for FirstLook reconnaissance robots. We've got details!

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Beep Boop: Teaching Robots to Communicate Like R2-D2

It's easy to argue that R2-D2 from Star Wars has more personality than many robots twice its size, but without a face or limbs to speak of, where does it all come from? The answer, of course, is sound. Now U.K. researchers are trying to do the same with real robots, teaching them to communicate information and emotions to humans using beeps, boops, and squeaks.

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NASA's Project Morpheus Still Shooting for the Moon

nasa project morpheus moon lander

Project Morpheus used to be called Project M, and it was an ambitious plan to send a Robonaut to the moon in under 1,000 days by embracing efficiency and cooperation while avoiding bureaucracy as much as possible. We've been huge, huge fans of the project ever since its manager, Matt Ondler, defended the idea to a seemingly uninterested NASA in an impassioned blog post that ended with "we will continue to push back the darkness until they chain the doors and take away our hacksaws."

We were completely sold, of course.

That was back in July of 2010, and since then Robonaut has ended up on the International Space Station, and Project M has (for better or worse) morphed into Project Morpheus, a vehicle designed to transport a robot (or anything else) to the lunar surface. Just two days ago, Morpheus underwent a test firing of its brand new engine.

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Paleontologists Building Robot Dinos with 3D Printed Bones

Robots and dinosaurs have not, historically, had the greatest of relationships, but that doesn't mean we don't all secretly (or not so secretly) want our own robot dinos to cuddle, ride around on, and provide security. Paleontologists have decided that they're going to try to build themselves anatomically correct and fully functional robot dinosaurs to investigate how the animals moved, and definitely not to enact any sort of evil world domination scheme. They promise.

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Aldebaran Robotics Introduces Romeo, Finally

We've been wondering wherefore art thou Romeo ever since Aldebaran Robotics promised us a March 2011 unveil of their adult-size bipedal humanoid. Now, not quite a year behind schedule, we've got the first video look at what's in store.

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Real Fish Get Schooled By Robots

Fish, I guess, are not the smartest fish in the... Well, they're not that smart, let's go with that. Stefano Marras of the Institute for the Marine and Coastal Environment-National Research Council, in Torregrande, Italy, and Maurizio Porfiri of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University have convinced some golden shiners to follow a robotic fish in a schooling pattern.

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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.
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Evan Ackerman
Berkeley, Calif.
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Angelica Lim
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