Robot cats, cubes, hands, + tools — The Friday 5

Amelia Baer
  • Amelia Baer
  • October 4, 2013
Robot cats, cubes, hands, + tools — The Friday 5

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto… We hope you enjoy this Friday 5 that brings you some recent tech milestones in robotics and research.

1. M-Blocks – Self-Assembling Cubic Jumping Bots

Research scientists at MIT have created reconfiguring robo-cubes called M-Blocks that can climb over one another, spin, and jump with no external moving parts. Like  a live game of tetris! As the video describes, “these are modular robots with the ability of changing their geometry according to task and this is exciting because a robot designed for a single task has a fixed architecture. And that robot will perform a single task well but it will perform poorly on a different task in a different environment.” The futuristic promise of these robots is pretty amazing.

2. Low-Cost 3-D Printed Hand

The Open Hand Project aims to bring a low-cost option to the prosthetics market. Although this Indiegogo campaign has only raised about half of it’s £39,000 goal, it’s a great example to how 3D printing and robotics may open the doors to innovation that was previously hindered by high material costs. Is there anything a 3D printer can’t do? (Rhetorical or you may leave a comment if you wish.)

3. Meet WildCat, the Galloping Robot

The Wildcat, who’s roar is like that of a chainsaw on a fall day, was introduced this week as Boston Dynamics latest robotic achievement. Words actually don’t do this machine justice just watch the video below as the 4-legged creature hits galloping speeds up to 16 MPH before stopping on a dime to change directions. This robot is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in hopes of being able to maneuver and operate on any type of terrain.

4. Researchers Improve How Computers Interpret Natural Language

Stanford researchers made a leap forward in helping computers understand natural language, bringing the accuracy to 85%. This would benefit a range of technologies, providing better search results, improving digital personal assistants, and helping businesses more accurately determine what customers are saying about them. The group of researchers plans on open sourcing their findings so that others may use and improve upon it.

5. Automated Jellyfish Shredder the Answer to Jelly Population Control

This is the stuff jellyfish nightmares are made of. That is if they slept, which they don’t (I guess having a brain is a prerequisite for sleep), but that’s besides the point. Often when a need arises a solution follows, and when the need is jellyfish population control the solution is an automated floating jellyfish shredder. The JEROS (Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm) seeks out unlucky jellies, nets them, and turns on its blades, sucking up the unsuspecting creatures and turning them into minced jelly meat.


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