BRIXO Blocks Take Fun With Legos To A Smart New Level
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Playing with toy blocks seems childish, right? Not so fast. BRIXO blocks are like Legos on steroids, and they've got a lot to teach kids and adults alike. These blocks are coated in chrome and conduct electricity, which means they can add light, motion, or sound to any building block creation. They're perfectly compatible with Legos, so adding just a few BRIXO blocks to your Lego castle can give it new life. And since they are basically robotic instruments, BRIXO blocks make it socially acceptable for adults to play with blocks.
The Cybathlon Is The Olympics For Bionic Athletes
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If you love the Olympic games and robotics, then, boy, do we have a treat for you. Meet the Cybathlon. This competition is the Olympics for bionic athletes. A coalition of Swiss robotics labs helped the first-ever Cybathlon take place in their home country in October 2016. The competition, which is modeled after the Olympics, sees athletes with robotics assistance competing in a variety of events. The National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Robotics hosted the competition in an attempt to drum up interest in human-oriented robotics technologies. The Cybathlon has six events: a bike race, leg race, wheelchair race, exoskeleton race, arm prosthetics race, and Brain Computer Interface race for competitors with full paralysis. See the athletes in action in the video below.
The Octobot Is The First Soft Robot With No Electronics
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The definition of a robot is extending far beyond the image of a clunky, metal device with wheels and wires. Harvard University proved that in September 2016 with the groundbreaking creation they are calling the "octobot." The octobot is the world's first fully autonomous, entirely soft robot. Also special about this squishy robot? It was 3D-printed and includes no electronics. Soft robotics may gain even more importance in the future, because it could help humans interact with machines. Until now, even soft robots had some sort of rigid circuit board, wires, or batteries attached. But the octobot doesn't rely on electronics to power it at all. Instead, it uses chemical reactions to move. Watch the octobot in action in the video below.
An Industrial Robot Arm Is Ready To Give Tattoos
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It's not easy to sit under a pulsating needle that repeatedly punctures your skin. But the experience of getting a tattoo may have just gotten a little scarier. French engineers Pierre Emm and Johan da Silveira are responsible for the world's first tattoo given by an industrial robot arm. They created this device to be steadier than the human hand, but once the human element is removed from the process, different risks enter the picture. For instance, if the person getting the tattoo doesn't remain perfectly still during the procedure, the arm wouldn't know to stop or recalibrate based on the person's new position.There are a few steps the robot must take before hitting skin, however. First, a 3D model of the tattoo surface is made. Then, a mockup of the tattoo design is created using computer software. Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, the tattoo recipient must remain absolutely motionless. Though Emm and da Silveira did not originally plan for their creation to be a commercial endeavor, they've noted that demand is so high from tattoo artists that tattoo shops may indeed be the future for their tattooing robot. Watch the video below to see the robot in action.
A Robot Performed Soft-Tissue Surgery By Itself
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Would you trust an unassisted robot to perform surgery on you? That could be the way of the future, and it may be even safer and more effective than surgery conducted by a human doctor. A study published in the May 2016 issue of Science Translational Medicine reported that a robot performed soft-tissue surgery by itself for the first time. The surgical bot, developed by researchers from the Children's National Medical Center, is called STAR, or Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot. The robot was supervised by human surgeons, but otherwise unassisted with the actual operating. STAR did a great job too; the machine outperformed human surgeons by every metric except speed. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.