Pepper, a new humanoid robot introduced earlier this month in Japan, may herald the beginning of a new era in personal robotics. Unlike its ancestors, such as Mitsubishi’s Wakamaru and Sony’s QRIO, who had to join the halls of robot extinction, Pepper, developed jointly by the French robotics company Aldebaran and the Japanese telecom giant SoftBank, is here to stay.
Last week, the Japanese company Hitachi rolled out the latest version of their EMIEW2 service robot (Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate). And to the horror of all professional comedians trembling for their jobs, this time the robot returned with a sense of humour.
Wiring electronic devices directly into your brain may not sound like a very pleasant idea, but this is exactly what so many scientists around the world seem to be quite excited about. The reason is that, far from being your worst cyborg nightmare, brain implants – also called neuroprostheses – can do true miracles. Connected to the nervous system, these little chips can make the blind see, the deaf hear and even allow the paralysed to once again gain control over the physical world.
The physical spaces we inhabit have a direct influence on how we feel, think and behave. Understanding this implicit dialogue between built environments and our minds continues to open new ways for architects to design physical spaces that better meet people’s needs. Neuro-architecture, interactive architecture, intelligent environments and virtual reality technology are among those exciting and partially overlapping disciplines that are currently on the frontline of the ongoing architectural revolution.
We live in a time when the scale of scientific research is undergoing an unprecedented exponential growth, which contributes to the generation of equally unprecedented amounts of data. Disciplines like neuroscience, astronomy or particle physics are piling up so much information that finding and implementing new ways of representing, navigating and manipulating this information is rapidly becoming a pressing necessity.
Crabs know their way around the ocean floor. These crawling creatures live in all the waters of the world, so if we want to learn something new about underwater exploration, it might be a good idea to take some cues from them. And this is precisely what a research team at the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology did.
After two years of investigation, the team, led by Bong-Huan Jun, developed Crabster CR 200, a car-sized robot inspired by crustaceans and designed to survey shipwrecks and other areas of scientific interest.
The German automation company has once again secured its place at the cutting edge of bionic technology.
This time Festo came up with a life-like kangaroo robot that realistically emulates the jumping dynamics of a natural kangaroo. The robot is expected to be officially unveiled this week at Hannover Messe.
Five years have passed since Aldebaran Robotics announced an ambitious joint project with over a dozen leading French research centres to make France one of the few countries to have developed an advanced humanoid robot. Finally, the robot, named Romeo, made its long-awaited debut at the Innorobo robotics fair, which was held earlier last month in Lyon.
Each year brings us closer to the day when robotic companions will become an integral part of our homes, schools, hospitals and offices. However, for robots to be truly accepted in our personal space, their social interactions with us must acquire the kind of fluency and coordination that humans expect from each other. This is one of the challenges addressed by Guy Hoffman, the co-director of the Media Innovation Lab at IDC Herzilya in Israel and possibly one of the most original thinkers in robotics today.