A prototype of the transforming robot Shapeshifter is tested in the robotics yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (via NASA/JPL-Caltech) Move over, Michael Bay: NASA is designing its own shape-shifting robots to investigate Saturn’s moons. The agency’s fleet of mini androids can roll, fly, float, and swim—then morph into a single machine capable of exploring treacherous, distant worlds. (I’d watch an entire film series based on that.) A prototype of the transformational vehicle, dubbed Shapeshifter, looks like a drone got caught in an elongated hamster wheel. But looks…

Enlarge / The RoboBee X­Wing without its power and electronics. (credit: Noah T. Jafferis and E. Farrell Helbling, Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory) Just over six years ago, when researchers at Harvard announced that they had made tiny flying robots, they immediately began talking about the prospect of their tiny creations operating autonomously in complicated environments. That seemed wildly optimistic, given that the robots flew by trailing a set of copper wires that brought power and control instructions; the robots were guided by a computer that monitored their positions using…

Call the drone midwife: A robot successfully delivered coral larvae directly onto the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. In a world first, an undersea android dispersed microscopic baby corals as part of a […] The post Robot Successfully Delivers Coral Babies to Great Barrier Reef appeared first on Geek.com. View original article at Geek

Tactical Robotics’ unmanned Cormorant VTOL drone can evacuate two wounded battlefield casualties or disaster site victims at the same time. The aircraft can land and take off from remote or hard to reach locations without a landing strip. The post VTOL drone can evacuate wounded soldiers and disaster victims, deliver cargo appeared first on Digital Trends. View original article at Digital Trends

Engineers have developed a robotic appendage designed to give drones a better grip on the world. Inspired by origami, the innovative arm can be folded for transport and self-assemble into a rigid appendage when it’s needed for use. The post Fold it, stretch it, grip it! An origami-inspired arm gives drones grip appeared first on Digital Trends. View original article at Digital Trends

Last we checked in with autonomous robo-bees, they were fictional killer drones in Black Mirror. Harvard’s new (real) drone bees are considerably less threatening, at least for the moment.A group of researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically-Inspired Engineering have created an upgraded version of the RoboBee—an autonomous flying microbot with bee-like wings—that is able to fly, dive into water, and then fly out of the water, which is something that has been challenging for robotics…

Just barely making it under the wire of a year full of bizarre and adorable robots, the fancy animal robot-makers at Festo are back with three new flying robots.An industrial automation company, Festo’s robotic menagerie also includes herring gulls, kangaroos, ants, an elephant’s trunk, and a gripper inspired by the tongue of a chameleon. Festo showed off three new animalistic flying drones at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC last summer, and they can seen beautifully gliding through the air in a video captured by…

Cardinal Robotics has developed a new drone designed to keep an eye on your home both while you’re inside and while you’re away. It weighs under two pounds and contains a 14-megapixel camera capable of shooting full 1080p video. The post Cardinal is a surveillance drone for your home, but will it meet expectations? appeared first on Digital Trends. View original article at Digital Trends

Robots that can do amazing things are creepy enough, but when roboticists start creating insectoid robots, things get really uncomfortable. Nevertheless, mimicking the behaviors of insects can often be the perfect way to give robots additional abilities. Along those lines, a research group has created what they call the JumpRoACH Created by South Korea’s SNU Biorobotics Lab in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, the tiny robot weighs just 59.4 grams and can jump to a height of just over five feet, according to a research paper…

In 2013, a group at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering brought miniaturization to the world of drones, creating a tiny robot that could fly using rapidly beating wings. Now, after adding a handful of team members from other institutions, Robert Woods’ team is back with a paper that gives an update to the group’s little flying machines—one that lets the robots hang upside down like bats. This might at first seem like a frivolous addition (although doing something because it’s pretty cool can be a major motivator for cutting-edge engineering)….