The robotic arms of the ISS are some of its most useful tools.  The arms, designed by Canadian and Japanese space agencies, have been instrumental in ferrying around astronauts and shepherding modules to one side of the ISS.  However, the Russian segment lacked its own robotic arm – until a […]

MIT researchers have developed an automated way to design customized hardware, or “brains,” that speeds up a robot’s operation. A new system devises hardware architectures to hasten robots’ response time. Contemporary robots can move quickly. “The motors are fast, and they’re powerful,” says Sabrina Neuman. Yet in complex situations, like interactions with […]

The flower-like set of points represents all possible shapes that the smarticle swarm can take on. In line with rattling theory, the most common shapes are also the most orderly with the lowest rattling (shown in blue). Credit: Thomas A. Berrueta Predicting when and how collections of particles, robots, or […]

Researchers hacked a robotic vacuum cleaner to record speech and music remotely. A team of researchers demonstrated that popular robotic household vacuum cleaners can be remotely hacked to act as microphones. The researchers — including Nirupam Roy, an assistant professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Computer Science — […]

MIT researchers have built a battery-free pinpointing system dubbed Underwater Backscatter Localization (UBL). This photo shows the battery-free sensor encapsulated in a polymer before it is dipped into the Charles river. Credit: Reza Ghaffarivardavagh New approach could spark an era of battery-free ocean exploration, with applications ranging from marine conservation […]

The DuAxel rover is seen here participating in field tests in the Mojave Desert. The four-wheeled rover is composed of two Axel robots. One part anchors itself in place while the other uses a tether to explore otherwise inaccessible terrain. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/J.D. Gammell Made of a pair of two-wheeled vehicles, NASA’s […]

Mechanical engineering researchers gain biological insights that could enhance robotics. By examining how fruit flies use eye movements to enhance flight control with a staggeringly fast reaction speed — about 30 times faster than the blink of an eye — Penn State researchers have detailed a framework to mimic this […]

ANIMATION Like biological fat reserves store energy in animals, a new rechargeable zinc battery integrates into the structure of a robot to provide much more energy, a team led by the University of Michigan has shown. This approach to increasing capacity will be particularly important as robots shrink to the […]