Real, radical robots

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Robot hockey player

This is our video proposal for the 2012 DARwIn-OP Humanoid Appliance Challenge. We decided to try to create the world's first autonomous humanoid robot ice hockey player. The robot featured is Jennifer, one of our DARwIn-OP robots. Video was filmed outdoors at the University of Manitoba quadrangle skating rink during the week of Feb. 6, 2012 and edited together by me. Music is two versions of the old Hockey Night in Canada theme song (originally aired on CBC television).

Related: The industrial robot revolution

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Bi-pedal robot

University of Michigan's MABEL runs free for over 110 steps! In our opinion, this is the most realistic, human-like running achieved on a robot. It has a very satisfying feel to it. The robot just moves right. It is up in the air for more than a third of the duration of step. The height off the ground is right. Whereas other robots had their feet maybe one sixth of an inch off the ground, MABEL is 3 to 4 inches in the air. The motion of the hip, which is like a bouncing ball, and the pitching of the torso give you the sensation of running. It all just makes you say, that is running.

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DARPA Legged Squad Support System (LS3)

Today's dismounted warfighter can be saddled with more than 100 pounds of gear, resulting in physical strain, fatigue, and degraded performance. To help alleviate the impact of excess weight on troops, DARPA is developing a highly mobile, semi-autonomous four-legged robot, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3). LS3 includes onboard sensors to perceive obstacles in its environment and path-planning capabilities to avoid them. The LS3 platform is designed with the squad in mind and is therefore significantly quieter, faster and has a much higher carrying capacity for longer mission durations than DARPA's earlier mobility technology demonstrator BigDog. The LS3 prototype recently completed its first outdoor assessment, demonstrating mobility by climbing and descending a hill and exercising its perception and autonomous follow-the-leader capabilities.

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iRobot 710 Warrior Mobility Testing

The iRobot 710 Warrior is designed to be effective in a wide range of terrain. In this video, engineers test Warrior's ability to climb a 60 degree set of stairs and to scale large verical gaps.

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Paul the robot draws a person's face

Paul the robot drawing Patrick at tenderpixel gallery, London. Paul the robot is part of Patrick Tresset's exhibition at tenderpixel in central London. More info about the project.

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DarwinBot - the Pet Companion Robot

Jordan's a developer on the Microsoft Robotics Team and recently built a remotely operated robot for interacting and playing with his pet over the internet. It has two way audio and video through Skype, a ball launcher, treat dispenser, ball recovery arm and a pan & tilt camera. It is built on the Parallax EDDIE hardware platform with the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 development tool.

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Lego Robotic Arm

This is a model prosthetic arm made entirely of Legos - hand movements and wrist abduction/adduction are Lego pneumatics - wrist pronation/supination, wrist flexion/extension, and elbow flexion/extension are Lego motors. The main purpose of this project was to accurately mimic the full range of motion of a normal human arm and hand. The secondary goal was to maximize speed and power, yet maintain a consistent ratio between the two for demonstration purposes.

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Japanese spider robot can pick up 'prey' and carry them away.

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Ladder-climbing robots means there's fewer places to hide.

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Pool-playing robot

Masters thesis of Thomas Nierhoff at Technische Universität München. Read more here.

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CubeStormer II robot solves Rubik's Cube

CubeStormer II solves the Rubik's Cube puzzle faster than the human world record. This ARM Powered robot was designed, built and programmed by Mike Dobson and David Gilday, creators respectively of CubeStormer and Android Speedcuber. The mechanics are constructed entirely from LEGO, including four MINDSTORMS NXT kits, with the addition of a Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone running a custom Android app as the robot's brain. Both the MINDSTORMS NXT kits and the Samsung Galaxy SII use a variety of ARM -based processors. The app uses the phone's camera to capture images of each face of the Rubik's Cube which it processes to determine the scrambled colors. The solution is found using an advanced two-phase algorithm, originally developed for Speedcuber, enhanced to be multi-threaded to make effective use of the smartphone's dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 1.2GHz processor.

Related: The industrial robot revolution