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Analysis and Comment (25)

Your robot’s decisions will be less of a shock if you plan ahead. Your robot’s decisions will be less of a shock if you plan ahead. x-ray delta one

If you want to trust a robot, look at how it makes decisions

Robots, and autonomous systems in general, can cause anxiety and uncertainty, particularly as their use in everyday tasks becomes a more immediate possibility. In order to lessen at least some of that…
‘Avoid cat’, or ‘torment cat’? ‘Avoid cat’, or ‘torment cat’? anti_christa

What to expect from Dyson’s new robotics lab

James Dyson’s decision to fund a robotics laboratory at Imperial College London may not lead to the super advanced robot friends of our dreams, but what he has planned could make robotic domestic appliances…
The golden age of AI is upon us. The golden age of AI is upon us. kidpixo

What does Google want with DeepMind? Here are three clues

All eyes turned to London this week, as Google announced its latest acquisition in the form of DeepMind, a company that specialises in artificial intelligence technologies. The £400m pricetag paid by Google…
I’ll be right with you sir, just after I put this cup away. This is a cup, right? I’ll be right with you sir, just after I put this cup away. This is a cup, right? garrettc

Your robot helper is on the way now it can learn from its friends

January is a time when many of us seek to better ourselves. We want to learn a new skill or improve an existing one. A network designed especially for robots, RoboEarth, is being tested in the Netherlands…
Google’s turned attention to robotics by buying up companies … but what do those firms do? Google’s turned attention to robotics by buying up companies … but what do those firms do? Dita Actor

Rise of the Google machines: the robotics companies involved

Google recently acquired eight high profile start-up robotics companies, providing strong evidence of a strategy to create breakthrough applications for robotics over the next decade. This strategy is…
Is China our only hope? Is China our only hope? Alexander F. Yuan/AP

For our future in space, China must aim further than the Moon

A famous picture in the English edition of Newton’s “Principia” shows cannon balls being fired from the top of a mountain. If they go fast enough, their trajectory curves downward no more steeply than…
Science fiction to non-fiction: the next generation of robots promises to be ultra intelligent. Science fiction to non-fiction: the next generation of robots promises to be ultra intelligent. andreybl

Self-driving cars and autonomous robots: where to now?

There isn’t a radio-control handset in sight as a nimble robot briskly weaves itself in and out of the confined tunnels of an underground mine. Powered by ultra-intelligent sensors, the robot intuitively…
A multi-armed robot assists surgery in delicate areas of the body. A multi-armed robot assists surgery in delicate areas of the body. Mark Chew

Marking ten years of surgical robots (in a theatre near you)

A spider-like robot moves over an anaesthetised patient, deftly making controlled incisions with flexible arms while a surgeon sitting a couple of metres away peers through a console offering highly-magnified…
Simple, yet so effective – a fish’s swimming motion removes the trade-off between stability and manoeuvrability. Simple, yet so effective – a fish’s swimming motion removes the trade-off between stability and manoeuvrability. Mell P

Mullet over: how robotics can get a wriggle on with fishy locomotion

Teaching a robot to walk – even poorly – requires huge investment into computational resources. How is it that even the simplest animals are able to achieve far more sophisticated feats of manoeuvrability…
Six-legged hexapod robots can navigate rugged terrain and access places human workers cannot. Six-legged hexapod robots can navigate rugged terrain and access places human workers cannot. CSIRO

Beyond R2-D2: Australian manufacturing’s robotics wish-list

In 1977, George Lucas’ Star Wars introduced us to R2-D2, an intelligent bot that embodied modern assistive robotics: he could anticipate needs and perform a number of tasks with minimal instruction. Almost…
Killer robots, a problem as old as voodoo. Killer robots, a problem as old as voodoo. x-ray delta one

The truth is no stranger than fiction when it comes to robots

Robots represent the cutting edge in science. For decades we have been promised a bright future in which these human-like machines will become so advanced that we won’t be able to tell the difference between…
Ni hao! China’s robots have arrived. Ni hao! China’s robots have arrived. Einharch

How China plans to become a leader in robotics

With rapid economic development in the past 20 years, China urgently feels the need to move from a manufacturing-driven to an innovation-driven economy. As a result, the state is supporting many bold research…
Robonaut is capable of doing more than humans can do in space. Robonaut is capable of doing more than humans can do in space. NASA

Ask the experts: will robots take over the world?

Robots can do a lot for us: they can explore space or cut our toenails. But do advances in robotics and artificial intelligence hold hidden threats? Three leaders in their fields answer questions about…
When you’re going for goals, seeing is believing. When you’re going for goals, seeing is believing. Johnson Cameraface

RoboCup 2013: new moves to keep players on the ball

In just a few weeks, soccer-playing robots from around the world will converge on Eindhoven in the Netherlands to compete for the prestigious RoboCup 2013. With around 2,500 particpants, competition is…
Misplaced faith in the possibility of risk-free warfare may end up putting more lives at risk. Misplaced faith in the possibility of risk-free warfare may end up putting more lives at risk. L.C.Nøttaasen

Lethal autonomous robots must be stopped in their tracks

The topic of killer robots was drawn back into the public sphere last week with the widely publicised call for a moratorium on the development and use of “lethal autonomous robotics” by a top UN human…
CSIRO’s ‘stealthy robot’, seen here observing a target through grass, will be able to discover much about natural wildlife. CSIRO’s ‘stealthy robot’, seen here observing a target through grass, will be able to discover much about natural wildlife. CSIRO

Stealth robots: spying on wildlife just got real

The ability to track wildlife in natural environments while remaining undetected poses many technological challenges. The goal of CSIRO’s “robotic stealthy tracking” project, however, is to directly address…
Assistive robots could help save Australia’s beleaguered manufacturing industry. Assistive robots could help save Australia’s beleaguered manufacturing industry. CSIRO

Why the Australian manufacturing industry needs the next generation of robots

Amid the gloom about the prospects for manufacturing in Australia — and the difficulties facing an economy dominated by small businesses (nearly 90% of Australian manufacturing capacity) — there is some…
NASA’s RASSOR will be able to climb hills and, more importantly, extract water, ice and fuel from lunar soil. NASA’s RASSOR will be able to climb hills and, more importantly, extract water, ice and fuel from lunar soil. NASA

Space robots – coming soon to a planet near you

Earlier this week, NASA announced the development of a mining robot called RASSOR: the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot. RASSOR has been designed to assist in extracting water, ice and…
Caution: robots in real life may differ from those that appear here. Caution: robots in real life may differ from those that appear here. Robot image from www.shutterstock.com

Beyond bodies: there’s more to robots than a humanoid shape

If someone tells you to think of a robot, what springs to mind? Is it a humanoid shape made of metal, with glowing eyes, that speaks in a jerky voice? Or is it a robotic factory arm, or a car that can…
The DARwIn-OP humanoid soccer-playing robot may look like a toy, but is a platform for groundbreaking artificial intelligence research. The DARwIn-OP humanoid soccer-playing robot may look like a toy, but is a platform for groundbreaking artificial intelligence research. David Budden

Robots will be FIFA champions – if they keep their eyes on the ball

We already know robots manufacture cars, work in factories, even vacuum our homes - but could they form a world-beating soccer team? The question seems like ripe pickings for a movie mogul, given Hollywood’s…
The Legged Squad Support System has been designed to accompany war fighters into battle. The Legged Squad Support System has been designed to accompany war fighters into battle. Boston Dynamics

Meet Boston Dynamics' LS3 – the latest robotic war machine

On first viewing Boston Dynamics' latest creation, the LS3 (Legged Squad Support System), I could not help but be taken back to the AT-AT (All Terrain Armoured Transport) walker, as depicted in the Star…
“We should stop treating intelligent machines as the stuff of science fiction.” “We should stop treating intelligent machines as the stuff of science fiction.” Cea.

Artificial intelligence – can we keep it in the box?

We know how to deal with suspicious packages – as carefully as possible! These days, we let robots take the risk. But what if the robots are the risk? Some commentators argue we should be treating AI (artificial…
Australia’s unique manufacturing DNA - comprised of tens of thousands of small-to-medium enterprises - means that we must forge our own path to innovation. Australia’s unique manufacturing DNA - comprised of tens of thousands of small-to-medium enterprises - means that we must forge our own path to innovation. DNA Art Online

Finding a unique path for Australia’s manufacturing future

As the manufacturing landscape shifts in response to new economic and social pressures, Australia is looking for an answer to the question: What does the future look like for Australian manufacturing…
The giants of mining are moving towards the unmanned extraction of the earth’s resources. The giants of mining are moving towards the unmanned extraction of the earth’s resources. AAP/EPA/Christian Sprogoe

Robots, red dust, and the future of mining towns

Automation and remote operation are set to transform Australian mining. It makes sense: automation can address labour shortages as the industry expands, reduce costs and improve productivity, health and…

Research and News (3)

Research Briefs (6)

Robot flying bugs mimic butterflies

Engineers have been studying the movement of butterflies to help refine the behaviour of small airborne robots. The researchers…