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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 »

Campaign Launches To Stop Rise of Sex Robots

Artificially intelligent sex machines are just around the corner

(Newser) - Sex bots are coming—one expert believes they'll be commonplace by 2050—and two robot ethicists say now is the time to act to make sure R2D2 doesn't end up trapped in white slavery. Professors Kathleen Richardson and Erik Billing, who launched the Campaign Against Sex Robots today,... More »

Why Robot-Human Marriages Are 'Inevitable'

It comes down to human rights, not robot rights: Gary Marchant

(Newser) - Being married to a robot could be pretty sweet: It could care for you, offer companionship, even have sex with you . Are we creeping you out yet? Well, you might as well get used to the idea. "The era of love and sex with robots has begun," writes... 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 »

Robots Will Staff New Hotel in Japan

'Actroids' will carry your bags, clean up after you

(Newser) - If you prefer your vacations with a minimum of human interaction, you might try a hotel that's opening in Japan this summer. The Henn-na Hotel's human staff will number just 10, but that doesn't mean you won't get speedy service: Robots will be ready to help... More »

Report: Robots Could Make Most Lawyers Obsolete

Experts point to possible 'structural collapse' at law firms

(Newser) - A new report looks at the state of the legal profession in 2030, and it doesn't look too pretty as far as employment is concerned, io9 reports. "It is no longer unrealistic to consider that workplace robots and their AI processing systems could reach the point of general... More »

Why We're Still Using Window Washers

After harrowing WTC incident, can't we leave this task to the robots?

(Newser) - The #WeCanLandOnACometButWeCant hashtag has dominated Twitter since the Philae probe landed Wednesday on the 67P comet, and the New York Times now considers its own related entry: In this technologically driven day and age, why can't we farm out window washing on skyscrapers to robots instead of humans? It'... More »

Lowe's Holiday Help: Robots

But chain says high-tech OSHbot is there to help human workers, not displace them

(Newser) - Retailers typically hire more workers to help out around the holidays, but Lowe's is taking an especially novel approach to this year's seasonal staff: putting robots to work. The OSHbot will be available for customer service tasks at the company's Orchard Hardware Supply store in San Jose,... More »

Scientists Create Biggest-Ever Robot Swarm

Harvard researchers get 1K little ones to work together

(Newser) - At about the size of a quarter, these little guys aren't the robot overlords of sci-fi lore, but they're pretty impressive all the same. Harvard researchers programmed 1,024 of the "kilobots" to work in tandem with each other to form complex shapes, a feat being hailed... More »

Origami Robot Can Fold Itself, Slink Off

Harvard, MIT engineers invent device made out of paper, Shrinky Dinks

(Newser) - Inexpensive robots that assemble themselves are hard to find these days. But using the ancient art of Japanese origami and a classic children's product, engineers at Harvard and MIT have created such a 'bot. A team led by a Harvard grad student built the self-folding robot shown in... More »

'Robot Sperm' Slow but Accurate

Tiny robots could be used for IVF, researchers say

(Newser) - Technophobes may be alarmed to learn that new sperm-like robots could soon be performing many activities—including fertilizing human eggs. Researchers say the tiny bots, dubbed "MagnetoSperm," were inspired by the shape and movement of sperm cells and can "swim" to their target with incredible accuracy, LiveScience... More »

UN Starts Talks on 'Killer Robots'

Rights groups worried about machines programmed to kill

(Newser) - It sounds like a panel discussion worthy of Comic Con, but this four-day summit on "lethal autonomous robots" is instead taking place under the auspices of the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva, reports AFP . The premise is simple enough: Groups such as Human Rights Watch are worried... More »

17% of Us Would Have Sex With a Robot

Well, 'us' being the Brits who took a poll

(Newser) - Roughly 17% of us would have sex with a robot—"us," in this case, being Brits. A survey conducted by the University of Middlesex asked 2,000 people their thoughts on a range of robot-related questions, and the copulation question in particular is getting a lot of attention.... More »

Watch Out: By 2029, Robots Will Be Smarter Than People

Even the smartest people, says artificial intelligence expert

(Newser) - If you're concerned that robots might one day gain sentience and rise up against the humans, a recent proclamation from Google's director of engineering probably will not calm you: Ray Kurzweil says that by 2029, computers will be smarter than even the smartest people. Kurzweil, a leading artificial... More »

Here's How Earth Could Really End: Scientists

Global warming, pandemic, fungus ... a not-fun time for everyone

(Newser) - From Planet of the Apes to After Earth, Hollywood has depicted Earth's demise many a time—but scientists' fears of planetary catastrophe are just as scary, LiveScience reports. Here are a few Doomsday scenarios as imagined by scientific minds:
  • Global warming: Scientists call this the biggest threat of all.
... 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 »

Most Web Traffic Isn't Human

Bots now account for 61.5% of traffic

(Newser) - If you're an Internet user with blood in your veins and air in your lungs, you're now part of a shrinking minority, according to startling new research. Some 61% of web traffic is now non-human, made up of a motley assortments of bots generated by search engines, scrapers,... More »

Google's Next Big Investment: Robots

Company turns to Android guru Andy Rubin

(Newser) - Amazon isn't the only big Internet firm in the robotics game : Google is at work on some literal androids. As part of the effort, it has quietly bought up seven US and Japanese tech companies in the past half-year, the New York Times reports. The company is hoping to... More »

Robot Swarm's Mission: Kill Jellyfish

South Korean 'bots aim to catch them in nets and slice them up

(Newser) - Flesh-shredding robots that can devour 2,000 pounds an hour may sound like the stuff of horror movies, but they're very real and come with a purpose: kill jellyfish. Engineers in South Korea are working on something called the Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm to cut down deadly attacks on... More »

Japan Sends Robo-Astronaut to Space Station

Launch is 'one giant leap for robots'

(Newser) - Japan may have been nowhere near putting the first man into orbit or on the moon, but today it sent the first robot "astronaut" to the International Space Station. Tucked among some 5 tons of supplies headed to the ISS is a 13-inch-tall talking humanoid robot named Kirobo, reports... More »

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