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Zuck's 2016 Challenge: Build AI Butler for His Home

He wants something like Iron Man 's Jarvis

(Newser) - Mark Zuckerberg has set himself a tough challenge for 2016: Create an electronic butler to make Mark Zuckerberg's life easier. The Facebook founder says he plans to "build a simple AI to run my home and help me with my work," which he likens to Jarvis in... More »

Marines Scrap 'Robot Mule'

The big one was too noisy and the small one was too weak

(Newser) - It obeys voice commands and can carry 400 pounds of equipment over rugged terrain for 24 hours—but it sounds like a lawn mower, and US Marines worried that it could get them killed. The Marine Corps has shelved the Legged Squad Support System "robotic mule" developed by Google'... More »

IKEA Furniture Is Tricky for Robots, Too

But researchers are determined to get a robot to put together an entire chair

(Newser) - Most humans find IKEA furniture assembly infuriatingly difficult ... and it turns out robots aren't much better at the task. In a new study out of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, researchers find that "fine robotic assembly, in which the parts to be assembled are small and fragile... More »

Robot Mowers Coming to a Lawn Near You

FCC approves automated device from makers of Roomba

(Newser) - Having a Roomba mow your lawn may not be too far off after an FCC decision yesterday. iRobot's robotic mower received the go-ahead from the communications agency—a big step toward US sales, reports Reuters . The company says its device communicates wirelessly with stakes in the user's yard... More »

Technology's Top Minds Warn Against Killer Robots

They fear autonomous weapons will lead to AI arms race

(Newser) - Good news, humanity: A group of people capable of creating a truly fearsome army of killer robots have made it clear that they're firmly opposed to the concept of "offensive autonomous weapons." An open letter warning against a "military artificial intelligence arms race" was signed by... More »

Why Seahorses Have 'Square' Tails

They help them grip coral and seaweed and protect from predator bites

(Newser) - A seahorse's tail is a bizarre one in the animal kingdom because it's square—or more precisely, it's made up of about three dozen "square plates," explains Gizmodo . Why? Researchers set out to discover just that with a method that sounds, well, pretty fun: They... More »

Robot Travels as Airline Passenger

LAX says Athena's journey is a first

(Newser) - No danger of this passenger experiencing an episode of nut rage : In what Los Angeles International Airport says is an aviation first, a robot traveled as a paying passenger on Monday, sitting in an economy-class seat of its own on a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, Germany, Reuters reports. "Athena,... More »

How a Paralyzed Groom Walked Down the Aisle

Matt Ficarra relied on a bionic exoskeleton

(Newser) - There weren't many dry eyes when Matt Ficarra walked down the aisle with his new wife, Jordan Basile—and not just because the occasion was his wedding. The Syracuse, NY, man has been paralyzed from his chest down since he broke his neck in a boating accident in 2011.... More »

Google Robot Wins Pentagon Competition

Completes Fukushima-inspired obstacle course

(Newser) - One of Google's recent robotics acquisitions cruised to victory in a Pentagon obstacle course meant to simulate a robot rescue. The Schaft robot, by a Japanese firm Google recently bought, was the top scorer in the eight-task event, held Friday and Saturday, the BBC reports. Coming in second was... More »

Google's Latest Buy: Military Robot Firm

Boston Dynamics contraption is world's fastest robot runner

(Newser) - Google has purchased its eighth robotics company of the year, and its latest acquisition makes the fastest-running robot on the planet. Boston Dynamics, inventor of the Cheetah, gets US military funding to make mobile robots, the BBC reports. Along with the Cheetah—which can run 29mph—company projects include BigDog,... More »

Meet RoboBee, World's Smallest Flying Robot

Harvard's robotic fly is about the size of a dime

(Newser) - The Guardian calls it the "smallest flying robot in the world," DVice has it as the "world's smallest aerial drone," and USA Today settles for "electronic housefly." By whichever name, the dime-sized device by Harvard scientists is amazing. (They call it "RoboBee,... More »

Rights Group: Time to Ban Killer Robots

International treaty needed before it's too late, group says

(Newser) - The world needs to ban robots capable of killing without human input before they become a reality on the battlefield, a human rights group warns. Human Rights Watch and Harvard's International Human Rights Clinic are calling for an international treaty to ban the "development, production and use of... More »

Robot Can Change Colors, Disguise Itself

Researchers use squid, not mammals for their inspiration

(Newser) - Inspired by the camouflage skills of octopuses and squid, scientists have created a rubbery, silicon robot that can change colors to hide in almost any environment, reports the BBC . While most robots "are basically built on the body plan of a mammal," said George Whitesides, the paper's... More »

Robotic Legs Take Big Step Forward

Robolegs accurately mimic human gait

(Newser) - Robotic legs have taken a big and biologically accurate step into the future thanks to a team from the University of Arizona. The team has developed legs that it says mimic the human gait more effectively than any other, with an electronic version of the message system in the spinal... More »

Lab Creates Unbeatable Rock, Paper, Scissors Robot

(It cheats)

(Newser) - It's official, robots have crossed the final frontier. First it was chess, then Jeopardy , and now it's that most human of games: rock, paper, scissors. Scientists at the University of Tokyo have created a robot that literally cannot be beaten at the ancient art of roshambo, the Telegraph... More »

Holy Grail of Robots: One to Debone a Chicken

Apparently, it's harder to design than it seems

(Newser) - It would be the "Holy Grail" of robots, a real "game-changer," experts say: a robot that can … debone a chicken?! Yes, though robots can already fly planes, locate bombs, and help with surgeries, apparently years of technological advances have still failed to produce a robot that... More »

Asteroid-Mining Company Flooded With Applicants

Planetary Resources forced to stop accepting applications

(Newser) - Looking for a career in asteroid mining ? Get in line. Celestial treasure-hunting firm Planetary Resources put out a call three weeks ago for applicants, and was soon so swamped with resumes that it had to stop accepting them. According to an update on the company's website , spotted by... More »

US Sending Robots to Fukushima

Radiation-hardened robots to assist at stricken plant

(Newser) - The Energy Department is sending a squad of robots—and people—to help Japan in its battle to regain control of its Fukushima nuclear plant. A shipment of "radiation hardened robotics" is being sent to Japan along with 40 people and thousands of pounds of other equipment, a top... More »

Robonaut Joining Space Station Crew

'A giant leap forward for tinmankind'

(Newser) - International Space Station astronauts won't need to worry about the newest crew member hogging the oxygen or clogging the toilet. Robonaut 2 will become the first humanoid robot in space when he heads to the station this week on the space shuttle Discovery's final mission, AP reports. "R2" will... More »

Robot Beats Up Volunteers

Researchers actually trying to create robots incapable of harming humans

(Newser) - Six Slovenian volunteers have been getting beaten up by a robot in the name of science. The men have been punched repeatedly in the arm at different strengths by said robot and rating the resulting sensation on a scale that ranges from "painless" to "unbearable." The robotic... More »

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