Pieces of plastic have been trained to WALK when triggered by light

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Plastic has been taught to walk when a light shines on it in an experiment that could lead to the creation of artificial muscles, its developers claim. The pieces of plastic are made from thermo-responsive liquid crystal polymer and a coat of dye. They can convert energy into mechanical motion - simulating a walk. Researchers from Aalto University in Finland say the plastic is a programmable soft-robot that could be used in bio-medicine. Their biggest breakthrough was being able to teach it to respond to light sources rather than having to use heat to warp the plastic to generate movement.

Internet of Things Solutions for Automotive Industry


As the world embraces advances in technology, all the aspects of our lives are being connected. The modern vehicle is no exception here. Automotive manufacturers continuously increase the use of electronics systems to improve vehicle performance, safety, and passenger comfort. The integration of sensors and actuators with automotive components is no more surprise today. Such integration offers optimized vehicle performance, improved reliability, and enhanced durability.

RoboBee powered by soft muscles


The sight of a RoboBee careening towards a wall or crashing into a glass box may have once triggered panic in the researchers in the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), but no more. Researchers at SEAS and Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a resilient RoboBee powered by soft artificial muscles that can crash into walls, fall onto the floor, and collide with other RoboBees without being damaged. It is the first microrobot powered by soft actuators to achieve controlled flight. "There has been a big push in the field of microrobotics to make mobile robots out of soft actuators because they are so resilient," said Yufeng Chen, Ph.D., a former graduate student and postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper. "However, many people in the field have been skeptical that they could be used for flying robots because the power density of those actuators simply hasn't been high enough and they are notoriously difficult to control. Our actuator has high enough power density and controllability to achieve hovering flight."

RoboBee powered by soft artificial muscles can crash into walls without being damaged

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A group of scientists have created a resilient RoboBee, that can survive crashing into walls and other robots without being damaged. The invention marks the first microrobot powered by soft artificial muscles that has achieved a controlled flight. Researchers in the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) developed a resilient artificial bee powered by soft actuators. Often these soft components have been dismissed as too difficult to control as their flexibility can lead to the system buckling at weak points if pushed to activate movements at speed. Yufeng Chen, a former graduate student and postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper, said: 'There has been a big push in the field of microrobotics to make mobile robots out of soft actuators because they are so resilient.'

Scientists Develop Artificial Skin That Allows You To Feel In VR - VRScout


According to an article published last week to the journal of Soft Robotics, scientists based out of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland, have developed a skin-like material that, when worn over a users' body, simulates a far more realistic sense of touch than that of current haptic feedback technologies. Referred to as "Closed-Loop Haptic Feedback Control Using a Self-Sensing Soft Pneumatic Actuator Skin," the device is composed of a stretchable material only 500 nanometers thick, allowing it to form to a users body. Lined with a series of pneumatic actuators, the ultra-compliant thin-metal film strain sensor creates a highy-realistic tactile sense via vibratory feedback. Put simply, the "skin" uses pressure triggered by inflated membranes to create a sense of touch far more realistic than that of current haptic feedback solutions, which rely primarily on mechanical vibration technology to replicate a sense of impact. This layer of membrane can be altered to various pressures and frequencies by pumping air into it; deflating and inflating the membrane rapidly will cause the skin to vibrate.

2001 A Space Oddessey Was Not Wrong, or : AI will cheat!


Science fiction lovers know Stanley Kubrics movie 2001 A Space Odyssey to be one of the defining movies of its genre. Not only for its visual effects, but also for its plot: HAL, the onboard AI of a spacecraft send to investigate a possible sign of alien life, becomes problematic as it makes up its own mind and breaks the first rule of robotics as stated by Isaac Asimove: "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.". This definitely happens because HAL tries to protect itself. The above report on AI algorithms finding ways outside the expected bounds, so in a way cheating on the challenge given to them shows that a scenario like in Kubrics movie is not far fetched. This can be understood if we consider that in many forms of current AI we do not restrict the use of the tools of the AI.

A Complete Artificial Intelligence Tutorial


In the previous article, we studied Tensorflow, its functions, and its python implementations. In this article, we will be studying Artificial Intelligence and more popularly knows as AI. One thing that I believe is that if we are able to correlate anything with us or our life, there are greater chances of understanding the concept. So I will try to explain everything by relating it to humans.

New soft actuators could make soft robots less bulky


As a proof of concept, engineers used these new actuators to build a soft, battery-powered robot that can walk untethered on flat surfaces and move objects. They also built a soft gripper that can grasp and pick up small objects. The team, led by UC San Diego mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Shengqiang Cai, published the work Oct. 11 in Science Advances. A problem with most soft actuators is that they come with bulky setups. That's because their movements are controlled by pumping either air or fluids through chambers inside.

A soft matter computer for soft robots


Our work published recently in Science Robotics describes a new form of computer, ideally suited to controlling soft robots. Our Soft Matter Computer (SMC) is inspired by the way information is encoded and transmitted in the vascular system. Soft robotics has exploded in popularity over the last decade. In part, this is because robots made with soft materials can easily adapt and conform to their environment. This makes soft robots particularly suited to tasks that require a delicate touch, such as handling fragile materials or operating close to the (human) body.

Software architecture for YOLO, a creativity-stimulating robot Artificial Intelligence

YOLO is a social robot designed and developed to stimulate creativity in children through storytelling activities. Children use it as a character in their stories. This article details the artificial intelligence software developed for YOLO. The implemented software schedules through several Creativity Behaviors to find the ones that stimulate creativity more effectively. YOLO can choose between convergent and divergent thinking techniques, two important processes of creative thought. These techniques were developed based on the psychological theories of creativity development and on research from creativity experts who work with children. Additionally, this software allows the creation of Social Behaviors that enable the robot to behave as a believable character. On top of our framework, we built 3 main social behavior parameters: Exuberant, Aloof, and Harmonious. These behaviors are meant to ease immersive play and the process of character creation. The 3 social behaviors were based on psychological theories of personality and developed using children's input during co-design studies. Overall, this work presents an attempt to design, develop, and deploy social robots that nurture intrinsic human abilities, such as the ability to be creative.