'Twitch Plays Robot' Lets You Navigate Two Robots Through A Maze

Special thanks to JohnStrangerGalt for posting this on the robotics sub-reddit.


Twitch Plays Robot is a an awesome, user-interactive live stream that enables users to control two robots right from the live broadcasting site, Twitch. Aylabot and Ninabot are two little, maze-navigating robots each equipped with a gripper and camera. Through the basic commands which include "left, right, back, forward, open, close," users can navigate these two robots through the maze via the twitch.tv chat box. It's no easy task as cooperation among multiple users is extremely vital. Also, don't be too disgruntled if you think your commands aren't doing anything. The developer behind Twitch Plays Robot, Jillian Ogle, stated that there's a 10-30 second delay between the commands and the robot's movement. Have a few minutes (or hours) to kill? Go help these robots get through a foam-tile maze!





Watch The Trailer For Automata, An Action-Packed Robot Movie Starring Antonio Banderas


Now here's a film all of you robo-geeks don't want to miss. Automata, directed by Gabe Ibañez starring Antonio Banderas, is an upcoming film set in the year of 2044. Robots are on the rise and the fate of humanity is at risk. Of course, the film is based on the foundation of Asimov's laws of robotics. But instead of the most recent robot films, these robots look a tad bit more realistic. There also appears to be different types of robots. From the old, broken robots to the new and upgraded ones, this sort of makes me think that these robots have their own social structure. Kind of weird...

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Here is the film's plot from IMDB.
Jacq Vaucan, an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation, routinely investigates the case of manipulating a robot. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.
As opposed to iRobot's ultra-slick, eye-appealing NS-5 robots, the robots in Automata kind of remind me of today's humanoid robots. In addition, there's a blatant resemblance between Automata's robots and the NS-4s of iRobot. None the less, I'm pretty excited about this futuristic, robots-over-humans type film. I'm definitely going to add this to my watchlist.


The World's Smallest Consumer Quadcopter Can Land On A Coin (Updated 2014)

Image source: Brando

Not too long ago, Estes' Proto X quadcopter held the title for the world's smallest quadcopter. However, we've stumbled upon an even smaller drone that's just a little bit smaller than the Proto X. They call it the Cheerson CX-10 .


The chassis of this tiny, 6-axis quadcopter measures in at 4cm x 4cm x 2.2cm, and the weight is also a minute 12g (approx.) But while this quadcopter may be small in size, its flight stability and altitudes are quite impressive. Pilots can expect their Cheerson CX-10 to be stable during the five minutes of flight time. Though, for those who like to take things to the extreme, altitudes of 50 feet are attainable. Other features of the CX-10 include a 30-minute USB recharge time and low battery indicator LEDs. With all these features in mind, I highly recommend this mini 'DJI Phantom' to anyone looking for a reliable, micro-sized quadcopter. Amazon currently has them selling for around $20.

Harvard Has Created A Swarm Of A Thousand Robots


Individually, small robots are next to useless when it comes to advanced functionality. But when in swarms, small robots are capable of much more. Kilobots, which Harvard now has a thousand, are capable of forming 2D shapes when in heavily-populated swarms.

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The forming of a shape begins when the first few robots start moving into position. Soon after, other nearby kilobots begin to crowd around the inner robots. When an adequate amount of robots are huddled around, they communicate with each other through infrared LEDs and use their control algorithms to form the desired shape. The penny-sized killbots kilobots are capable of forming simple shapes, but researchers are hoping that these robots could one day be used to form big, self-repairing structures.



Via IEEE Spectrum

Google Will Pay You $20M To Put A Robot On The Moon


Looking for an 'easy' way to earn $20M? Well this method may not exactly be easy, but Google's Lunar XPrize is offering a huge amount of prize money for those who can get a robot on the Moon. The contest, which boasts a $20,000,000 grand prize, is looking for anyone that's capable of designing, building, and launching a lunar rover to the Moon. But here's the catch.

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In order to win the $20M grand prize, your team's privately funded robot (10% or less from government funding) will have to land safely on the Moon, travel 500m, and send back HD video/photos (Mooncasts). The deadline is December 31, 2015. If this sounds easy enough for you, then go on ahead and send your robot up to the Moon! The Moon's waiting...



Source: Google Lunar XPrize

How Harvard's New Squishy Bricks Could Lead To Self-Repairing Robots

Image source: YouTube, New Scientist

Harvard is at it again with their weird, soft robots. But instead of squidbot, Harvard's built an entirely new soft creation that looks like a Lego brick but could lead to self-repairing robots.

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As reported by New Scientist, George Whitesides and his team at Harvard University have built a collection of squishy, soft robots. These include the squidbots and bendable tentacles, both of which require air to operate. However, a common problem arises when developing such robots. They all require custom molds. As an ingenious solution to this problem, Whitesides and his team now use their newly developed click-fit elastomeric bricks or click-e-bricks to build new soft creations. Think of these little soft bricks as the building blocks of bigger soft robots. See video below.


Configurable LED circuits and channels of fluid are what the bricks are capable of at the moment. In the future, Whitesides hopes that robots will be able to manipulate these bricks and even use them for quick repairs.



This Piece Of Paper Can Fold Itself Into A Robot

Photo: Seth Kroll/Wyss Institute

Researchers at Harvard have successfully designed a paper-constructed robot that can fold itself into a walking robot without an human interference. The robot, which folds like origami, is made from a heat sensitive, polymer material. In addition to this foldable material, the robot has embedded electronics and motors.

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When heat is applied, the hinges in the paper-like material fold into a desired shape. This transformation from a flat piece of paper to a walking robot requires no human assistance. The only assistance needed is from an internal computer that controls the robot how to fold. The transformation is finished in just 4 minutes. Check out the video below.




Check Out This Collection Of Pop Culture's Most Famous Robots

Image: Daniel Nyari

Over the years, robots have made their way into pop culture through comics, movies, and other forms of entertainment. To showcase some of these iconic robots, artist Daniel Nyari designed an amazing collection showing all of the robots' heads. To name a few, it features Wall-E, ASIMO, and R2D2. Try to guess the rest! Note, names are at the bottom.