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news on robots, robotics and UAVs

by IKE 20-Nov-2011 05:45


The most famous humanoid robot, Honda’s ASIMO has a new version. A few days ago Honda presented a more advanced model and performed a small display of its new capabilities. Meanwhile the robotics sector of Honda is now an official entity under the name Honda Robotics.

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by IKE 20-Aug-2011 19:48


The latest addition to the long line of the famous biomemetic robots of Festo is the SmartBird, a flying model that shares the same principal of operation with birds and in particular it is inspired from the herring gull. Read below for more details and videos.

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by IKE 07-May-2011 16:16


This is the first official photo of the new Optionally Pilot Vehicle (OPV) from Northrop Grumman. It was developed in 12 months from Scaled Composites and it aspires to break the monopoly of General Atomics monopoly that dominates the market (especially in the USA) with Predator A and B variants. The aircraft has the quite unimaginative name Firebird and it has made already a few test flights with various payloads.

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by IKE 09-Mar-2011 21:40


Northrop Grumman made a major step towards autonomous aerial refueling between two UAVs. Two aircraft, the manned high altitude Proteus and one of NASA’s RQ-4 Global Hawks simulated refueling maneuvers while flying at 45.000ft. The two aircraft came as close as 40ft distance (video below) and they evaluated the flight control system response and engine performance at such high altitude.

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by IKE 08-Mar-2011 23:13


Boston Dynamics is a relatively small company that develops some of the most advanced robots in the world. Its specialty is advanced dynamic control and animal like robots that can move easily over rough terrain. The videos of its projects like the quadruped ‘Big Dog’ made such an impression to the general public that there are even fun video spoofs with millions of views. Recently DARPA appointed Boston Dynamics with two new projects, ATLAS and CHEETAH under the maximum mobility and manipulation program.

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by IKE 10-Feb-2011 03:45


On February 4 Northrop Grumman and US Navy conducted the first flight of the X-47B UCAV, the prototype for the UCAS-D program. The aim is the development of an armed stealthy drone that will be able to routinely operate from aircraft carriers. The X-47 is an unmanned aircraft similar in size to a jet fighter. The flight took place at Edwards AFB, the aircraft (AV1) reached 5000ft altitude and 240kt while performing a simple fly-over with the landing gear deployed. After 29’ it landed performing a rough carrier landing simulation.

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by IKE 01-Feb-2011 11:39


DLR's institute of Robotics and mechatronics is developing one of the most advanced dexterous robotic arms and hands that combine accurate object manipulation, robustness and strength in a quite compact and light package. The robotic hand is inspired by the human one although anatomic fidelity isn't the main objective. It can handle small and fragile objects but it is also able to exert force of 30 newton at the fingertips. It is also able to survive a baseball bat hit (a 66 g impact!) while being relatively compact and light. The key of these arms amazing ability lies to its operating principle and its clever inner workings.

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by IKE 01-Nov-2010 12:09


Robotic arms that are destined to handle a wide variety of objects with different shape, robustness, surface finish, shape, size and weight are usually modeled after the human hand with elaborate fingers, grippers and stepper motors. A group from Cornell Cumputational Synthesis Laboratory comprised from researchers from Cornell, University of Arizona, iRobot and DARPA followed a completely different approach. They designed an extremely simple and cheap robotic gripper that is amazingly capable of handling objects. In the image above you can see on the left the gripper and on the right its main component, a simple party balloon filled with coffee grounds.

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by IKE 09-Oct-2010 16:27


The city of Athens organize for some years now a technology fair called Athens Digital Week. This post is about the Robotics section, which was by far the most popular section of the exhibition (at least when we were there). You can read below a small report from the exhibition.

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