Registration is open for the fourth running of the NASA Centennial Challenge program's Sample Return Robot Challenge, which will take place June 8-13, 2015. The autonomous robot competition, which carries a prize purse of $1.5 million, will be held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, which has hosted the event since 2012.
There are many situations where it's impossible, complicated or too time-consuming for humans to enter and carry out operations. Think of contaminated areas following a nuclear accident, or the need to erect structures such as antennae on mountain tops. These are examples of where flying robots could be used.
Developers from Harvard's School for Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have produced the first untethered soft robot - a quadruped that can stand up and walk away from its designers.
In a pilot study, researchers found that children with autism spectrum disorders showed improved or maintained performance in learning imitative behavior by interacting with humanoid robots that provided graded cueing, an occupational therapy technique that shapes behavior by providing increasingly specific cues to help a person learn new skills.
Robo Brain - a large-scale computational system that learns from publicly available Internet resources - is currently downloading and processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals. The information is being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format that robots will be able to draw on when they need it.
Bridges become an infrastructure problem as they get older, as de-icing salt and carbon dioxide gradually destroy the reinforced concrete. A new robot can now check the condition of these structures, even in places that people cannot reach.
Researchers have developed methods for electronically manipulating the flight muscles of moths and for monitoring the electrical signals moths use to control those muscles. The work opens the door to the development of remotely-controlled moths, or 'biobots', for use in emergency response.