Robot

Deep Argo: Probes in Ocean Abyss Explore Mysteries of Global Warming

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 12, 2014   View Article

Nearly a quarter century ago, Greg Johnson was a freshly minted PhD in oceanography puttering north in the South Pacific Ocean. About every 35 miles, the boat he was on stopped and scientists dropped an instrument overboard to measure temperature and salinity at regular intervals all the way to the seafloor.

This process was repeated in a crisscross pattern throughout the world’s oceans over the course of the 1990s. “At the end of it, we had kind of a blurred snapshot of the state of the ocean in that decade all the way from the surface to the bottom from coast to coast,” he explained to NBC News.

The following decade, scientists re-sampled some transects for the sake of comparison. Taken together, the measurements collected during the World Ocean Circulation Experiment are the best — and for most of the oceans only — data available on temperature and salinity 1.4 miles below the surface.

Today, Johnson is spearheading a project to deploy a global array of robotic floats that will probe to a depth of 3.75 miles, allowing scientists to continuously monitor changing temperature and salinity in the entire ocean except for the deepest trenches.

Robotic boats have mind of their own on water

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 15, 2013   View Article

For all the anxiety and sleep deprivation they caused, the robotic boats plying a Virginia pond this past week might as well as have been carrying nuclear bombs instead of soft-foam projectiles to shoot through hula hoops in a bid for extra points.

“We’re talking Cuban missile crisis stress level,” Andrew Gray, an exhausted and slap-happy graduate student in the Machine Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Florida, told NBC News on Sunday after his team took top prize in the 2013 International Roboboat Competition at a pond at the Founder’s Inn & Spa in Virginia Beach, Va.

Want to love a robot? Let it nurture you, not the other way around

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 10, 2013   View Article

When human-like robots are standard home appliances, their owners will have increasingly warm, positive feelings for them if the robots take good care of their owners and require little maintenance, according to a new study.

In the study, participants could help Nao, a human-like robot, calibrate its eyes, or Nao could examine the human’s eye as if it was a concerned doctor and make suggestions to improve vision. After the task, the participants were asked how they felt about the robot.

The researchers found that participants trusted the robot more and were more satisfied with their relationship when they received eye care, for example, rather than gave it. In other words, when it comes to building a relationship with human-like robots, it is better to receive than to give.

Virtual robot masters win real ones to send into disasters

Publication: NBC News   Date: June 27, 2013   View Article

Seven teams of software gurus whose code deftly controlled a virtual, human-like robot through a virtual obstacle course were awarded a real humanoid to program for a real-world competition to develop disaster response robots, the Pentagon’s advanced research arm announced Thursday.

The teams competed in the virtual leg of a competition run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, to develop machines that can operate with limited human supervision to assist in response to future natural and human-caused disasters.

Robot learns to recognize objects on its own

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 8, 2013   View Article

When all the humans went home for the day, a personal-assistant robot under development in a university lab recently built digital images of a pineapple and a bag of bagels that were inadvertently left on a table – and figured out how it could lift them.

The researchers didn’t even know the objects were in the room.

Instead of being frightened at their robot’s independent streak, the researchers point to the feat as a highlight in their quest to build machines that can fetch items and microwave meals for people who have limited mobility or are, ahem, too busy with other chores.

Three-fingered iRobot hand points to strong, nimble future machines

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 2, 2013   View Article

A robotic hand strong enough to lift a 50-pound weight yet so nimble it can pluck up keys from a table demonstrates real capabilities of a coming generation of robots that will be at work everywhere, from the battlefield to the construction site.

In a segment of a video compilation that was just released publicly, the three-fingered hand picks up a drill, and uses it to bore a hole through a narrow piece of lumber.

Meet the 6-legged robot lizards that may one day roam Mars

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 21, 2013   View Article

Wheels are great for traversing flat, paved surfaces, but when the terrain is covered with loose sand and large rocks, it’s time to grow feet. Scientists built a six-legged robot after studying the movements of lizards, and the breakthrough may mean a fast walking rover we send to Mars that’ll leave its predecessors in the dust.

“Having appendages like legs or limbs can be useful and beneficial” when the ground gets less even and solid, Daniel Goldman, a physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, told NBC News.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach