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Microtechnics - 23.06.2020
Deep Drone Acrobatics
Deep Drone Acrobatics
A navigation algorithm developed at the University of Zurich enables drones to learn challenging acrobatic maneuvers. Autonomous quadcopters can be trained using simulations to increase their speed, agility and efficiency, which benefits conventional search and rescue operations. Since the dawn of flight, pilots have used acrobatic maneuvers to test the limits of their airplanes.

Economics / Business - Microtechnics - 04.05.2020
How many jobs do robots really replace?
This is part 1 of a three-part series examining the effects of robots and automation on employment, based on new research from economist and Institute Professor Daron Acemoglu. In many parts of the U.S., robots have been replacing workers over the last few decades. But to what extent, really? Some technologists have forecast that automation will lead to a future without work, while other observers have been more skeptical about such scenarios.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 27.03.2020
COVID-19 Should Be Wake-Up Call for Robotics Research
Pandemic response requires "dull, dirty, dangerous" jobs suited for robots Robots could perform some of the "dull, dirty and dangerous" jobs associated with combating the COVID-19 pandemic, but that would require many new capabilities not currently being funded or developed, an editorial Robotics argues.

Microtechnics - Computer Science - 19.03.2020
This Drone Can Play Dodgeball - And Win
This Drone Can Play Dodgeball - And Win
Using a novel type of cameras, researchers from the University of Zurich have demonstrated a flying robot that can detect and avoid fast-moving objects. A step towards drones that can fly faster in harsh environments, accomplishing more in less time. Drones can do many things, but avoiding obstacles is not their strongest suit yet - especially when they move quickly.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 16.03.2020
Allowing robots to feel
Allowing robots to feel
With the help of machine learning, ETH researchers have developed a novel yet low-cost tactile sensor. The sensor measures force distribution at high resolution and with great accuracy, enabling robot arms to grasp sensitive or fragile objects. We humans have no problem picking up fragile or slippery objects with our hands.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 09.03.2020
Robots that admit mistakes foster better conversation in humans
Three people and a robot form a team playing a game. The robot makes a mistake, costing the team a round. Like any good teammate, it acknowledges the error. " Sorry, guys, I made the mistake this round," it says. "I know it may be hard to believe, but robots make mistakes too." This scenario occurred multiple times during a Yale-led study of robots' effects on human-to-human interactions.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 05.03.2020
Showing robots how to do your chores
Showing robots how to do your chores
By observing humans, robots learn to perform complex tasks, such as setting a table. Roboticists are developing automated robots that can learn new tasks solely by observing humans. At home, you might someday show a domestic robot how to do routine chores. In the workplace, you could train robots like new employees, showing them how to perform many duties.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 12.02.2020
"Sensorized" skin helps soft robots find their bearings
Flexible sensors and an artificial intelligence model tell deformable robots how their bodies are positioned in a 3D environment. For the first time, MIT researchers have enabled a soft robotic arm to understand its configuration in 3D space, by leveraging only motion and position data from its own "sensorized" skin.

Microtechnics - Electroengineering - 18.12.2019
A soft robotic insect that survives being flattened by a fly swatter
A soft robotic insect that survives being flattened by a fly swatter
Researchers at EPFL have developed an ultra-light robotic insect that uses its soft artificial muscles to move at 3 cm per second across different types of terrain. It can be folded or crushed and yet continue to move. Imagine swarms of robotic insects moving around us as they perform various tasks.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 21.11.2019
New Algorithm trains AI to avoid bad behaviors
Robots, self-driving cars and other intelligent machines could become better-behaved thanks to a new way to help machine learning designers build AI applications with safeguards against specific, undesirable outcomes such as racial and gender bias. Artificial intelligence has moved into the commercial mainstream thanks to the growing prowess of machine learning algorithms that enable computers to train themselves to do things like drive cars, control robots or automate decision-making.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 19.11.2019
Trash Talk Hurts, Even When It Comes From a Robot
Trash talking has a long and colorful history of flustering game opponents, and now researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have demonstrated that discouraging words can be perturbing even when uttered by a robot. The trash talk in the study was decidedly mild, with utterances such as "I have to say you are a terrible player," and "Over the course of the game your playing has become confused." Even so, people who played a game with the robot - a commercially available humanoid robot known as Pepper - performed worse when the robot discouraged them and better when the robot encouraged them.

Environment - Microtechnics - 18.11.2019
Bees "Surf" Atop Water
Walking on Caltech's campus, research engineer Chris Roh (MS '13, PhD '17) happened to see a bee stuck in the water of Millikan Pond. Although it was a common-enough sight, it led Roh and his advisor, Mory Gharib (PhD '83), to a discovery about the potentially unique way that bees navigate the interface between water and air.

Microtechnics - Physics - 06.11.2019
On the way to intelligent microrobots
On the way to intelligent microrobots
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have developed a micromachine that can perform different actions. First nanomagnets in the components of the microrobots are magnetically programmed and then the various movements are controlled by magnetic fields. Such machines, which are only a few tens of micrometres across, could be used, for example, in the human body to perform small operations.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 22.10.2019
Rebel robot helps researchers understand human-machine cooperation
In a new twist on human-robot research, computer scientists at the University of Bristol have developed a handheld robot that first predicts then frustrates users by rebelling against their plans, thereby demonstrating an understanding of human intention. In an increasingly technological world, cooperation between humans and machines is an essential aspect of automation.

Life Sciences - Microtechnics - 11.10.2019
DeepFly3D: the deep-learning way to design fly-like robots
DeepFly3D: the deep-learning way to design fly-like robots
EPFL scientists have developed a deep-learning based motion-capture software that uses multiple camera views to model the movements of a fly in three dimensions. The ultimate aim is to use this knowledge to design fly-like robots. "Just think about what a fly can do," says Professor Pavan Ramdya, whose lab at EPFL's Brain Mind Institute , with the lab of Professor Pascal Fua at EPFL's Institute for Computer Science, led the study.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 10.10.2019
Sensitive robots are safer
Sensitive robots are safer
Sensitive synthetic skin enables robots to sense their own bodies and surroundings - a crucial capability if they are to be in close contact with people. Inspired by human skin, a team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed a system combining artificial skin with control algorithms and used it to create the first autonomous humanoid robot with full-body artificial skin.

Astronomy / Space Science - Microtechnics - 02.10.2019
Controlling robots across oceans and space - no magic required
Controlling robots across oceans and space - no magic required
This Autumn is seeing a number of experiments controlling robots from afar, with ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano directing a robot in The Netherlands and engineers in Germany controlling a rover in Canada. Imagine looking down at the Moon from the Gateway as you prepare to land near a lunar base to run experiments, but you know the base needs maintenance work on the life-support system that will take days.

Life Sciences - Microtechnics - 01.10.2019
New Biological Approach Helps Robots Sense Chemicals
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are one step closer to creating biological-mechanical hybrid machines as they work to develop soft robots that can sense and respond to chemical signals. "A lot of the inspiration actually comes from looking at different kinds of species around us that can interact and respond to their surrounding environment in exciting ways," said Kyle Justus, who graduated with a Ph.D.

Environment - Microtechnics - 12.09.2019
"Flying fish" robot can dive and fly
A bio-inspired bot uses water from the environment to create a propelling gas and launch itself from the water's surface. The robot had been developed by researchers at Imperial College London. It can travel 26 meters through the air after take-off and could be used to collect water samples in hazardous and cluttered environments, such as during flooding or when monitoring ocean pollution, report the team lead by Mirko Kovac, who also heads the joint "Materials and Technology Center of Robotics" at Empa, in the latest issue of "Science Robotics".

Environment - Microtechnics - 11.09.2019
’Flying fish’ robot can propel itself out of water and glide through the air
A bio-inspired bot uses water from the environment to create a gas and launch itself from the water's surface. The robot, which can travel 26 metres through the air after take-off, could be used to collect water samples in hazardous and cluttered environments, such as during flooding or when monitoring ocean pollution.
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