Ant-inspired quadruped robots link together to overcome obstacles

If an ant encounters a gap too wide for it to cross, the insect will sometimes signal other ants to form a bridge of their linked bodies. Such behaviour has now been copied in a small four-legged robot, that may inspire better search-and-rescue bots.

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Team CERBERUS uses copter/quadruped combo to win Subterranean Challenge

A few years ago we first heard about DARPA's Subterranean Challenge, a competition in which teams were using robots to explore underground environments. A consortium known as Team CERBERUS has recently been awarded the US$2 million top prize.

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Koma 1.5 can be either a buggy or a powered exoskeleton, as required

When you're carrying a heavy load, it can be pretty difficult walking across flat ground, let alone climbing stairs. The Koma 1.5 is designed to help, by alternately acting as a powered buggy or a two-legged lower-body exoskeleton.

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Sticky-tape module designed to let robots know when floors are clean

Increasingly, robots are being used to autonomously clean floors and other surfaces in places like airports and hospitals. You have to wonder, though … how do they know when a floor is sufficiently clean? A new module could soon tell them.

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New understanding of gecko landing process may lead to nimbler robots

When leaping geckos crash head-first into vertical surfaces such as tree trunks, they're able to hang onto that surface instead of bouncing off and falling to the ground. Scientists have discovered what allows them to do so, and copied the capability in a small robot.

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Tready robot uses treaded flippers to overcome obstacles

When it comes to robots designed for traversing rough terrain, there are typically treaded and legged models. The new Tready robot, however, combines the best of both approaches, by utilizing its four treaded "flippers."

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Online portal puts users at the controls of a real reef-diving ROV

Even in non-pandemic times, the Great Barrier Reef is still a difficult place for much of the world's population to get to. That's where Teleportal.Fish comes in, as it allows anyone to virtually visit the reef via a live link to an underwater robot.

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Alphabet launches Intrinsic to make industrial robots easier to use

For more than five years, a team has been developing and testing control software under Alphabet's X moonshot factory, aimed at making industrial robots smarter and easier to use. Now the project has branched out into a new company called Intrinsic.

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Air-powered soft robotic hand used to play Super Mario Bros

Robotic hands do show a lot of promise for various applications, but their mechanical complexity still limits their possible uses. A new air-powered hand is much simpler, but still dextrous enough to be utilized to play a video game.

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Fleet-footed insect robot can turn on a dime (literally)

UC Berkeley engineers have created an insect robot that can scamper along quickly and turn on a dime – perhaps literally. The bot owes its fancy footwork to… well, its fancy feet, using varying voltages to alternate stickiness and make sharp turns.

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