14-Year-Old Boy Designs His Own Prosthetic Hand for Just $100

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Unable to find a prosthetic hand that fit him him properly, Leonardo Viscarra, a 14-year-old boy from Bolivia, decided to build one himself, using 3D-printing technology.

Leonardo was born with an undeveloped left hand. As a fetus in his mother’s womb, the boy’s right hand was caught in the placenta and unable to develop properly. He was diagnosed with amniotic band syndrome at birth, and could never use his left hand for basic tasks like picking up or grabbing objects. However, an incident during his childhood sparked an interest in assembling and building things, which ultimately helped him achieve his goal of one day gaining almost full use of his undeveloped hand.

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Meet FORPHEUS, the World’s First Robot Table Tennis Tutor

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An advanced robot developed by Japanese electronics company Omron has recently been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s first robot table tennis tutor. FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized Automation with Sinic Theoretics) used machine learning to asses the skills of a human player, adjust its game accordingly and provide tips to help opponents improve their technique.

Unveiled at the Ceatec electronics show in Japan in 2014, FORPHEUS has come a long way in the last three years, especially after developers made a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Originally designed to showcase Omron’s sensor technology, the table tennis-playing robot has now become a Guinness-certified tutor thanks to machine learning. It analyzes data like the human player’s movement, the speed of the ball and the trajectory to determine his opponent’s skill level with around 90% accuracy. FORPHEUS then uses this information to adjust its play style – slow and and easy for beginners, faster and more unpredictable for advanced players.

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Hong Kong Designer Creates Functional Scarlett Johansson Robot

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Graphic designer Ricky Ma is making headlines for creating an incredibly realistic life-sized robot that resembles the beautiful Scarlett Johansson. The homemade cyborg can mimic a limited set of human movements using it’s head and limbs, and even respond to a set of programmed verbal commands spoken into a microphone. He’s even taught it to wink and say “thank you” when complimented on its looks.

Having grown up watching animated films featuring robots, Ricky had always dreamed of building one of his own. And now, at age 42, he’s managed to do just that, working from the balcony of his Hong Kong home. He had to teach himself everything about robotics from scratch, and spent over $50,000 building his first female prototype.

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15-Year-Old Becomes Youngest Person to Create Functional Life-Size Humanoid Robot

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Inspired by the 2011 sci-fi film Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman, Greek teenager Dimitris Hatzis has become the youngest person in the world to build a 3D printed life-size functional robot. 

15-year-old Dimitris’s feat was a part of ‘InMoov’, an open source project run by French sculptor and designer Gael Langevin. The project provides a design that is “replicable on any home 3D printer with a 12x12x12cm area.” Using these instructions, Dimitris spent over 1,400 hours planning, experimenting, printing, and assembling the robot. Over the course of a year, he made 475 printed parts using about a kilometer of ABS plastic and painstakingly put them together to form the droid that he now calls ‘Troopy’.

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Meet Hitchbot, the Robot Hitchhiking His Way Across Canada

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While picking up hitchhikers is generally considered unsafe, Canadian motorists are going to find it difficult to refuse this cute, fun-loving robot. His name is Hitchbot, and he’s about the size of a six-year-old child. Equipped with a GPS, 3G wireless connectivity, a camera, and a built-in child booster seat in its bum, he will soon try to catch rides all the way across Canada – from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.

Throughout the coast-to-coast journey that starts on July 27, Hitchbot will be completely by himself. He is expected to find rides by signalling with the only movable part of its tiny body – his arm. He can talk too; researchers are expecting him to be able to charm his way into getting the rides that he needs. Along the way, he will even share all his adventures via social media. “It’ll sort of be like having an out-of-control teenager in your car, taking pictures of you and posting them on Facebook,” said David Harris Smith, the brains behind the project.

“Simply put, I am a free-spirited robot who wants to explore Canada and meet new friends along the way,” Hitchbot declares on his website. According to Smith, “Hitchbot can ask people if they have a story they would like to share with others and this would be posted as video to Hitchbot.me. We will moderate posts to avoid inappropriate content.”

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Get Served by a Robot Bartender at Germany’s Robots Bar & Lounge

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Some bars use intriguing names just to attract clients, but the Robots Bar & Lounge in Ilmenau, Germany really lives up to its name. This unique venue not only has a technology-inspired decor, but also a humanoid robot bartender that mixes drinks and makes small talk with patrons.

The Robots Bar & Lounge just opened late last month, but it’s already hugely popular in the town of Ilmenau thanks to Carl, an unusual bartender who fits right in the techie atmosphere of the place. Carl is a humanoid robot built by mechatronics engineer Ben Schaefer out of parts from disused industrial robots. Schaefer says that although progress has been made in the field of robotics artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, but by placing a robot in an environment where it can observe and interact with real humans it’s much easier to test the programming and make necessary improvements than it would be in a closed laboratory. Apart from evolution, Carl’s secondary goal is to bring humans and robots closer together, and prove that “scenes from science-fiction movies are quite possible”. So far, the likable bartender is doing a great job, entertaining clients with his drink-mixing skills and the occasional small-talk. Unfortunately, his speech recognition skills and ability to interact are very limited at the moment, but like all bartenders he is a very good listener. To make sure he doesn’t bump into things and spill the drinks on his clients, Scahefer equipped Carl with a belt of sensors.

 

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Venezuelan Man Builds His Own Prosthetic Arm

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Angel Sanguino, an electronics technician from Caracas, Venezuela, who last year lost his left arm in a motorcycle accident, has recently been awarded a Prize for Science, Technology and Innovation, after he manged to build an ingenious robotic arm that allows him to perform a series of useful tasks.

33-year-old Angel Sanguino was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by a speeding car engaged in illegal street racing. He was taken to the emergency room, and doctors were forced to amputate his left arm from the shoulder. It was a devastating blow for the talented electronics technician who worked for a prestigious computer part manufacturer, as he could no longer do his job with just one arm. The orthopedist told Angel he should accept his disability and move on with his life, but he had other plans. While in intensive care recovering from the surgery, severe internal organ damage and fractured legs, Sanguino learned he was going to become a father soon, and that gave him the strength to fight for his life and make sure he was able to provide for his family. Three months after his accident, the young Venezuelan used his experience as a cartoonist to design a prosthetic arm that would allow him to repair electronic components just like before.

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China Hosts World’s First Robot Olympics

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The World’s first International Humanoid Robots Olympic Games kicked off on June 21, in China’s Harbin’s Institute of Technology.

Two years after hosting a memorable edition of the human Olympic Games, China becomes the first country to host an Olympics dedicated to humanoid robots. Nineteen teams, from China, United States, Japan, South Korea or Germany have brought their best robots to compete in this historic three-day event.

To enter the competition, robots had to be less than 60 cm long, and have a human shape, with a head, two arms and two legs. Just like in the real Olympic Games, the sporty robots had to compete in multiple challenges, 24 to be exact, ranging from boxing, to weight-lifting, dancing, or sprint. But there are also some unusual domestic events, like cleaning or medical care.

The sprinting contest took place on the first day, with the winner running a distance of five meters in 20 seconds flat. Not bad for a small robot, I think. Check out the video at the bottom, to see these little guys sweating silicone at the Robot Olympic Games.

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Japanese Couple Wed by a Robot

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Satoko Inoue and Tomohiro Shibata bothe looked amazing on their wedding day, but the spotlight was stolen by i-Fairy, the humanoid robot that replaced the priest.

Inoue, the bride, works for the company that produces the i-Fairy robot, and Shibata is a client, so it’s safe to say robots are the reason they began dating in the first place. At his beloved’s suggestion, the groom was more than happy to replace the priest with an adorable robot that rose to the challenge, thanks to some special programming.

The bride said she always felt like robots could play a big role in people’s lives, and she’s glad her experience showed the whole world just that. Representatives of the company that makes i-Fairy said they’re thrilled one of their products was the center of attention in the first wedding presided over by a robot.

Photos by REUTERS

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Chinese Farmer Creates Army of Home-Made Robots

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Wu Yulu, a Chinese farmer, from a small village, outside Beijing, has created a series of 47 robots, out of scrap metal. They can accomplish various functions, from drinking, to walking and even pulling a rickshaw.

Ever since he can remember, Wu Yulu has been fascinated with the mechanics of movement. He always dreamed of building robots that could imitate human behavior, and in 1986, he decided to put his dream into practice. 24 years later, our techie farmer is the proud inventor of 47 home-made robots.

But Wu Yulu has made many sacrifices, in the name of science. He almost lost his wife and two children, after burning down the house, while working on a robot, accumulated great debt, and was even sprayed with battery acid. But like any respectable mad scientist, our man didn’t give up.

And now his effort are finally being rewarded. Mr. Wu has been invited to showcase his scrap metal creations and their functionality, at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. This after already receiving a number of prizes and contracts with universities. But he doesn’t get all this go to his head. he still lives in his modest village house, surrounded by pieces of metal and broken doll parts.

The strangest thing, about Wu Yulu, is he declared he loves his metal robots, more than he loves his own kids. He refers to his rickshaw robot as his 32nd son, and even programmed it to say “Wy Yulu is my dad, I take him out on the town.” How cool is that!

Photos by REUTERS via Daylife

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The Cyborg Plant of Gilberto Espaza

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Nomadic Plants is a quirky project of Mexican artist, Gilberto Espaza, that possible symbiosis between vegetation and technology.

This is not Gilberto Espaza’s first such project. Last year, he unleashed his Urban Parasites on Mexico City. The small machines, made from recycled consumer goods, roamed the urban area in search of power sources they could feed on.

This year, the Mexican artist has an even more interesting project prepared. His Nomadic Plants installation focuses on the symbiosis between plants, micro-organisms and technology. A few river plants and bacteria live inside the Nomadic Plants robot, and whenever the life-forms inside it need nourishment, the machine searches the nearest polluted water-source and “drinks” from it.

A microbial fuel cell process decomposes the water’s elements and turns them into energy for the robot, and the rest is used to feed the plants and organisms inside. Gilberto Espaza said he was inspired to create this cyborg plant after reading about the microbial fuel cell that inspired him to take on the theme of environment pollution.

The Nomadic Plants installation is on display at Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Center, in Gijon, Spain, until June 2010.

via We Make Money Not Art

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Chinese Cooking Robot Cooks Over 600 Dishes

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It’s official, China is trying to get this cooking thing completely automated. A week after a retired engineer presented his DIY robot cook, another springs up .

The students of Yangzhou University, in Yangzhou, China partnered up with an enterprise from Shenzen, to create a fully automated robotic cook. Their result is nothing short of impressive, considering the machine can cook over 600 dishes from Chinese cuisine. All anyone has to do is put in the necessary ingredints, program the robot and weight for the dish to be served.

Bad news for Liu Changfa, the retired engineer who presented his own patented robot cook. Iguess hi dream of selling one to every restaurant in China, won’t be coming true, after all.

Photos by Zhao Jun/Xinhua

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Chinese Engineer Invents Robot Cook

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Liu Changfa, a retired automation engineer,from China, needed only one year to create a robot cook, using only rudimentary tools, like hammer and axe.

The Chinese inventor connected his robot cook to a laptop computer and a cellphone that allow to choose preset menus, or program it to cook certain dishes. Vinegar, salt, sugar and all other seasoning is stored in the robot’s chest, and the cooking takes place in its belly, where an induction cooker is installed. With the help of some dedicated software, the dedicated robot can be programmed to add a certain amount of seasoning, or stir a dish a certain number of times.

All Liu Changfa has to do is put the raw ingredients into the pot, and wait for the beeping sound, made by the robot. He has already contacted a Chinese restaurant, which will test the robot cook in its kitchen, and add robot dishes on its menu. More restaurants will shortly follow, says Liu Changfa.

Well, I’d wait a while before adding cooking to the list of automated fields, but this is definitely a step in that direction.

Photos via CNS Photo

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Soccer Robots Compete in RoboCup 2009

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The smartest autonomous robots in the world prepare for one of the most important robot competitions in the world, the World Cup of RoboCup.

Brilliant minds from all round the globe build soccer-playing-robots and compete in the RoboCup, to promote the development of artificial intelligence. This year, the weekend-long contest was held in the Austrian city of Graz and the protagonists tried to put on a show worth watching.

The Soccer World Cup for robots is not as young an event as you might think. It dates back to 1993 and, across the years, it took place in countries like Japan, Italy and USA. There are different league matches, from the standard to the smaller than 180 mm league.

In one of the leagues, teams use identical robots, and have the task of developing a software that can allow the machines to move autonomously. The dream of the developers is to one day create an entire team of autonomous robots that can defeat the human winners of the Soccer World Cup.

Photos by Reuters

via Telegraph.co.uk

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Kobian- The Emotional Robot Nurse

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Developed by scientists from Waseda University, Kobian can show emotions, perform tasks and is could be the nurse of tomorrow.

Kobian can express seven human emotions using his entire body. To show happiness this amazing humanoid opens his mouth and eyes wide and raises his arms. When it is sad, Kobian closes its eyelids, bends forward a bit and brings one of its arms to the forehead.

Researchers first presented Kobian in 2008 but back then he could only express emotions using its head. Some people complained its reactions were hard to read, so they constructed a more expressive body. Now this amazing robot recognizes its environment and is able to perform tasks.

Designed to take care of the elderly, Kobian might just be the future of nursing.

Photos by AP

via Daily Mail

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