robots

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Pixar technical director Alonso Martinez made this adorable little robot that's sure to give you the awwws. Described as a "desk companion," Mira is capable of tracking faces in order to play a game of peek-a-boo with the user. According to Martinez, 

Mira is a desk companion that makes your life better one smile at a time. This project explores human robot interactivity and emotional intelligence. Currently Mira uses face tracking to interact with the users and loves playing the game “peek-a-boo”. As her understanding of the world and people's emotions get richer so will her ability to interact with people in a more meaningful way.

When Mira sees you during a game of peek-a-boo, she wobbles and chirps with excitement, which surely makes long days stuck at a desk easier. There's no word on whether or not Martinez plans to bring Mira to the consumer market, but if he does, you can bet I'll be first in line to buy one.



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Just when you think robots are about to take over the world, they go and do something like this.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge was held this past weekend, with numerous teams “vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters.”

Turns out they had a few disasters of their own as well.

IEEE Spectrum created a compilation of robot falls from the first day of the finals, and while this is pretty funny to watch in itself, one YouTuber took it a step further and mashed it up with some WWE commentary turning it into Internet gold.

“As much as nobody wanted to see a robot fall, everybody wanted to see a robot fall,” wrote IEEE Spectrum on their blog.

The course involved the competing robots trying to open doors, turn valves, drive cars and climb over rubble.

Team KAIST from South Korea took home the top prize with the fastest time, and here’s their robot, DRC-Hubo, stepping up to victory. It was built with wheels on its knees to help protect it from taking a tumble.

“These robots are big and made of lots of metal and you might assume people seeing them would be filled with fear and anxiety,” said DRC organizer Gill Pratt. “But we heard groans of sympathy when those robots fell. And what did people do every time a robot scored a point? They cheered!”

Meanwhile, nothing can stop the beasts from Boston Dynamics, so while these falls are funny, the threat is still very real.

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Engineers at the University of Tokyo have taught this robot to push heavy objects with its body in a way similar to humans. 

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Well, it’s only a matter of time now.

We’ve seen self-flying drones, supercharged drones, robotic hell hounds that can withstand a good kicking and human-like bots that are taking over businesses in Japan.

Pretty soon we will be slaves to these things, which are growing smarter every day.

Researchers at MIT have successfully created “the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously” thanks to new technological developments with its DARPA-funded robotic cheetah.

It uses a built-in laser system called LIDAR to see things in its line of vision and then figures out the best way to go get over it.

For example, imagine a swarm of rebel Amazon drones just dropped a bunch of Kindle Fire tablets on your head putting you out of commission.

If one of these robotic cats happen to come across your lifeless corpse, it could very easily leap over it without any sort of human guidance.

Here’s an explanation of how it works from MIT’s press release:

To get a running jump, the robot plans out its path, much like a human runner: As it detects an approaching obstacle, it estimates that object’s height and distance. The robot gauges the best position from which to jump, and adjusts its stride to land just short of the obstacle, before exerting enough force to push up and over. Based on the obstacle’s height, the robot then applies a certain amount of force to land safely, before resuming its initial pace.

It was able to successfully conquer hurdles up to 18-inches tall while going about 5mph.

Here’s a less threatening video of the cheetah running across some grass, but don’t be deceived by the innocent-looking prance.

The end is neigh.