If the thought of autonomous robots and personal drones ferrying your packages and morning coffee to you sounds exciting, then consider the unintended consequence of “robot smog,” the term used by Illah Nourbakhsh, a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon, to describe the noise pollution and awkward social interactions that accompany a future populated by these machines.
The first time you see Iron Man’s suit, or Ripley stepping into that high-tech construction exoskeleton in Aliens, your mind tends to ponder the question of using some sort of robotic apparatus to gain increased strength. Now, some engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania have come up with a portable, wearable robotic arm that can help users boost their lifting power by about 40 lbs. Continue reading
Some parents volunteer at their childrens’ school. Some spend hours on the floor building Lego towers. Others turn their garages into veritable robot factories for their precocious daughters.
OK, I only know of one family that’s done the latter: the Beatty clan in Asheville, NC. Father Robert and his two daughters (Camille, 13, and Genevieve, 11) are self-taught robotics engineers who began tinkering in the garage a few years ago. Now, they’ve built some replicas of NASA’s rovers that are landing in science museums. Continue reading