1. Say hello to Samsung’s SGR-1, a military robot that can detect a human face at a distance of 2 miles, and can fire its machine gun or grenade launcher without human operation.

    Robots are the not-too-distant future of war

     

  2. Say hello to WildCat, a cheetah-inspired military prototype that can prance and gallop at 16 mph.  The company that made this and a bunch of other military robots was just bought by Google.

     

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  4. Robot apocalypse alert: The government may be shut down, but the government’s robot development program is still going strong.

     

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  6. Not all drones are killers.

    A San Francisco-based lab called Darwin Aerospace has successfully test-launched an automatic delivery service that uses GPS-equipped drone to deliver burritos. (The burrito is loaded into a canister with an attached parachute, and the drone drops it over its target.) The “Burrito Bomber,” as it’s appropriately called, won’t be available for commercial use until meeting FAA approval in 2015.

    More non-lethal drones

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  7. DARPA’s goal is to build a robot capable of completing an obstacle course that would challenge an able-bodied human, says Will Oremus at Slate. Although Pet-Proto completes the tasks successfully, he ambles over impediments kind of like “a drunken sailor.”

    Meet the Pet-Proto: The U.S. military’s clumsy humanoid rescue robot

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  8. One of the first images captured by NASA’s Curiosity shows the rover’s own shadow as cast on the surface of Mars. 

    Sticking the landing
    After years of speculation, anxiety, and planning, NASA’s Curiosity rover successfully lands on Mars. [New York]

    Your bearded brethren
    Researchers find that facial hair provides an effective barrier to the sun’s U.V. rays. [The Frisky]

    Pixar superfans
    A robot enthusiast creates a life-sized, fully-functioning version of Pixar’s adorable, lonely Wall-E. [TIME]

    BAD DAY FOR:

    Insisting that “the flag was still there”
    The American flag blows off its mount as “The Star Spangled Banner” plays during Serena Williams’ medal ceremony. [Gawker]

    Appreciating the local wildlife
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is chased out of Malawi by a swarm of bees. [BuzzFeed]

    Olympic overexcitement
    An allegedly drunken spectator at the 100-meter men’s final in London gets a chop from a judo medalist after he throws a water bottle onto the track. [Discovery News

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  9. Sticking to an exercise routine takes dedication, and many fitness junkies swear that a running companion can be a huge help. That’s why researchers have developed “Joggobot,” a quad-rotor helicopter drone designed to motivate joggers by flying in front of them. 

    The aerial robot uses its camera to spot a colorful pattern on a T-shirt worn by the jogger, and flies at a safe distance ahead. The runner can control Joggobot using a smartphone: In “companion mode,” the drone simply maintains the jogger’s pace; in “coach mode,” it pushes its human trainee a little faster.

    Don’t worry, there’s a video

     

  10. Swiss scientists have developed a groundbreaking new robotic therapy that allows paralyzed rats to walk again.

    Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology injected the rats’ severed spinal column with a “cocktail” of chemicals like dopamine, adrenaline, and seratonin, replacing the body’s natural neurotransmitters with new ones. Tiny electrodes then stimulated these neurons to coax the spinal cord back to life. Finally, the rats were fastened into a robotic harness, tempted by a piece of chocolate, and trained to use their paralyzed hind legs again for 30 minutes a day.

    Within a few weeks, the rats began forging new nerve connections and were able to walk — and in some cases, sprint — as if they were never paralyzed.

    Keep reading

     

  11. MIT Researchers programmed a group of humanoid robots from Aldebaran Robotics to dance in unison to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” by sensing their environment and coordinating their movements through a central server — rather than trying to awkwardly follow one another directly. This way, even if a robot gets out of step, it can catch up with its peers by communicating with the hub. Bacteria and some insects employ a similar technique called quorum sensing

    Watch the amazing robots that do the ‘Thriller’ dance in sync

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  12. Step aside, Rosie there’s a new bot in town. Cornell roboticists have built and successfully tested a canny new housecleaning bot. Of course, building a machine that “knows” where to put your things isn’t easy: The robot has to survey a room, identify the components of the mess you’ve made, and figure out where everything belongs — before actually getting to work.

    Cornell’s robo-housekeeper uses advanced algorithms and a 3D Kinect camera to identify misplaced dishes, groceries, books, toys, and trash before putting them in their proper places with a mechanical arm.  

    See this robo-housekeeper in action

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  13. Coming soon: robotic prostitutes. A new scientific paper suggests that by 2050, many bordellos and brothels will have replaced human prostitutes with lifelike robots

    Beyond being tireless and disease-free, researches hope that commercial sex robots would actually reduce the trafficking of real people. Human trafficking continues to plague every region of the globe, with conservative estimates putting the victim count at 2.5 million, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

    Keep reading