Surgical Robot is Invincible at ‘Operation’ Board Game


This video proves robotic surgery is totally safe. Students at Johns Hopkins University decided to see how the $2 million-dollar da Vinci Surgical System would do at the game where steady fingers is of the utmost importance.

And, in case you had any doubt, it can win the game handily. The robot can pick up plastic Adam’s Apples like nobody’s business, without ever touching the metal edges.

Surgery is one of the most prominent areas for emerging robotic technologies, and they have been proven to reduce error and increase the success of surgeries.

Via Youtube

Husqvarna Lawn Mowers: Controlled by iPhone


Mowing the lawn can be a pain. Not too many people look forward to going outside in the sun and pushing a lawnmower around their yard for hours making sure the grass is even and trimmed. Well, thanks to Husqvarna, now you can sit on the porch or stay inside where it’s nice and air conditioned, and send a robot to do the work for you. All you have to do is keep an eye on the little guy on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad and guide him around your lawn. 
The Husqvarna 260 ACX lawn mower comes with GPS on-board, and with the My Automower app for iOS, you can watch your lawn mower’s position on a Google Map as the little bot moves around your lawn. You can program a path for the mower, or control it live in real-time. You can even run quick diagnostics on the mower and check its overall health and status. 
The 260 ACX can mow 1.4 acres before needing to recharge, and when it’s out of juice it’ll head back to base to plug itself in. If something gets in its way or it stops for some reason, the mower will even text you to let you know it’s encountered a problem. It’s clearly not going to replace a riding mower for that guy who seems to cut his lawn every weekend, but if you’d rather sit on the porch and sip lemonade while the bot does the hard work, the 260 ACX is the lawn mower for you.

Robot Throws First Pitch in Phillies Game


It may be the first time someone who throws out a ball game’s ceremonial first pitch won’t be embarrassed at their lack of coordination. That’s because PhillieBot can’t feel any emotion.

The jock robot is equipped with its own pitching arm, along with motion tracking capabilities and three wheels for mobility. It will be able to go up to the mound on its own, and then toss the ball at between 30-40 miles per hour.

It’s in celebration of the Phillies’ “Science Day at the Ballpark” today. PhillieBot was created at the University of Philadelphia General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Lab.


100+ Robots Added to the Smithsonian


From pop culture icons like R2-D2, to scientific advancements like the smallest robots in the world, a whole army of robots has been added to the Smithsonian museum. Now we just have to hope they won’t band together and wreak havoc.

About 100 robotic creations were added, spanning quite a long history. In fact, the oldest robot is at least 450 years old, running on rudimentary mechanical technology.

Robots now encompass an important part of everyone’s daily lives, from manufacturing processes to entertainment, to, of course, cleaning our floors and gutters. It is only appropriate that the Smithsonian should appreciate their place in American society.

Via Computerworld

Robot Discovers 2009 Air France Crash


More than two years after Air France Flight 447 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, a robotic submarine has finally discovered the exact location where the plane hit the ocean floor.

The crash, which occurred on New Years Day in 2009, was the worst in the history of the carrier. But the cause of the crash – and the aircraft itself – remained a mystery. Until now, that is.

Photos of the plane have been released by the Investigation and Analysis Bureau. Those, combined with the black box remaining in tact, may actually lead investigators to figure out what went wrong on that fateful day.


Tiny Robot Hands Create Tiny Paper Airplanes


Even tiny robot hands have to have some fun sometimes–albeit of the tiny variety. The da Vinci surgical robot has taken some time out from its busy schedule of performing remote surgery demos to handcraft a little bit of simple origami. In order to show off the ‘bot’s true skills, Jim Porter, a surgeon based out of Seattle has used da Vinci to craft a paper airplane that’s less than the size of a penny.

Video of the fun little feat after the jump. 

Quadrocopter Ping Pong

Quadrocopter Ping Pong

A quadrocopter is, as it sounds, a four-rotored flying machine, much like the Parrot.AR Drone that you’ve seen here before. Well, they’re all the rage among a number of manufacturers and DIY enthusiasts, and a group of students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have built a pair of quadrocopters and programmed them to play a friendly ping pong match. 
The two flying machines have a tennis racquet attached to them, and the programmers position the two copters perfectly to volley the ball back and forth between them with minimal adjustment. While watching the ball fly between the two copters is interesting enough, it’s almost more interesting to watch each quadrocopter compensate for its human partner in the initial set of tests. 
Check out the full video of the flying bots behind the jump.

Robot in Indiana Performs Hysterectomies


This isn’t something in a sci-fi movie nor is it something that people are just talking about. A hospital in Lafayette, Indiana has actually begun using a robot to perform common surgeries.

St. Elizabeth East is taking what has become a commonplace practice to the next level. Currently, doctors all over the country don’t actually perform surgeries with their own hands. Instead, they insert robotic arms into the patient and manipulate the arms at a nearby computer.

The new procedure at St. Elizabeth answers the question, “So why not just have the robot move its own hands?”

The da Vinci Surgical System cost the hospital $1.5 million, and it certainly has its fair share of skeptics. But if human error can actually be eliminated, is it worth it?

Via TMCNet

This Robot Can Play Your iPhone Games


…And it’ll probably beat you.

A company called Adept Technologies has built a robot, Quattro, which apparently does a pretty good job of playing iPhone games. Its “show off” game is 1to50, a simple title that asks players to do nothing more than tap the numbers “1” to “50” on a screen of jumbled numbers as quickly as possible.

A mere human can probably do it in 15-20 seconds if he’s good. The record currently sits at 7.85 seconds, but Quattro handily completed the task in just 6.67 seconds.

Quattro wasn’t designed exclusively to play casual mobile games. It’s used in industrial applications on assembly lines and sorting facilities. Gaming just happens to be something it does on the side.



Game on the iPad with an NES Controller and RoboTouch


RoboTouch isn’t so much a commercial product as it is a pet project of some folks at ProtoDojo who were looking for a way to combine their favorite console controller (the NES controller,) with their favorite touch-screen gaming platform (the iPad.) 
The gadget is actually a series of small robot arms that accept controls from an Arduino board that the NES controller is plugged into. Press the A or B buttons and different arms tap different parts of the screen. Use the directional pad and different arms on the other side of the iPad tap the screen there corresponding to your character’s movement controls. The video behind the jump shows one of the inventors using RoboTouch to play a game of Reckless Racing. 
Admittedly, the arms would have to be repositioned around the screen and re-tested depending on the game you’re playing. If you have a virtual on-screen joystick that requires you move your finger in a circle or requires constant contact to work, it might be tricky to use. Still, RoboTouch isn’t the kind of project you should expect to see on store shelves anytime soon: but if you love DIY projects and would get a thrill out of playing iPad games with an NES controller, this is the project for you.