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  • News

    Children may be especially vulnerable to peer pressure from robots

    Peer pressure can be tough for kids to resist, even if it comes from robots.

    School-aged children tend to echo the incorrect but unanimous responses of a group of robots to a simple visual task, a new study finds. In contrast, adults who often go along with the errant judgments of human peers resist such social pressure applied by robots, researchers report August 15 in Science Robotics...

    08/15/2018 - 14:00 Robotics, Psychology
  • News

    With this new system, robots can ‘read’ your mind

    Getting robots to do what we want would be a lot easier if they could read our minds.

    That sci-fi dream might not be so far off. With a new robot control system, a human can stop a bot from making a mistake and get the machine back on track using brain waves and simple hand gestures. People who oversee robots in factories, homes or hospitals could use this setup, to be presented at the...

    06/20/2018 - 00:00 Robotics, Technology
  • News in Brief

    A new soft bot mimics octopuses and inchworms to climb walls

    PHOENIX — Soft robots really get around. Some jump, others swim or crawl on the ground (SN Online: 12/13/16). Now, one can even scale walls.

    Inspired by an octopus’s suckers, researchers have constructed an inchwormlike robot that uses a pair of suction cups to scoot around vertical surfaces. The bot can clamber across rough and smooth terrain, aboveground and underwater, carrying up to...

    04/09/2018 - 12:35 Robotics, Technology
  • News

    Earwigs take origami to extremes to fold their wings

    To quickly unfurl and refold their wings, earwigs stretch the rules of origami.

    Yes, those garden pests that scurry out from under overturned flowerpots can also fly. Because earwigs spend most of their time underground and only occasionally take to the air, they pack their wings into packages with a surface area more than 10 times smaller than when unfurled, using an origami-like series...

    03/22/2018 - 14:10 Biophysics, Animals, Materials, Robotics
  • News in Brief

    Boy robot passes agility tests

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    Robots are on their way to passing gym class.

    The design of a new life-size bot named Kengoro closely resembles the anatomy of a teenage boy in body proportion, skeletal and muscular structure, and joint flexibility, researchers report online December 20 in Science Robotics. Compared with previous humanoid robots with more rigid, bulky bodies, Kengoro’s anatomically...

    12/21/2017 - 16:13 Robotics, Technology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers inspired by SN 10 scientists’ research

    Wanting more

    For the third year in a row, Science News profiled 10 early- and mid-career i­nnovators who are transforming their fields in “The SN 10: Scientists to watch” (SN: 10/14/17, p. 16).

    The profiles left some readers inspired, intrigued and wanting to know more about these scientists’ research.

    “Really enjoying these portraits, thanks, SN!” online reader Maia commented...

    11/15/2017 - 13:17 Science & Society, Robotics, Psychology
  • News in Brief

    This is the lightest robot that can fly, swim and take off from water

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    A new insect-inspired tiny robot that can move between air and water is a lightweight.

    Weighing the same as about six grains of rice, it is the lightest robot that can fly, swim and launch itself from water, an international team of researchers reports October 25 in Science Robotics. The bot is about 1,000 times lighter than other previously developed aerial-aquatic...

    10/25/2017 - 16:05 Robotics, Technology, Physics
  • News

    Robotic docs can boost surgery time and cost

    When it comes to some operations, surgical robots may not be worth the extra time or money.

    Researchers compared patients who underwent traditional laparoscopy to have a kidney removed — surgery involving several small incisions rather than one large cut — with patients who received robot-assisted laparoscopies. Although the two groups had similar complication rates and hospital stay...

    10/24/2017 - 11:01 Health, Robotics, Technology
  • Teaser

    The rise of respectful robots

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    A new robot has the mobility of R2-D2 and the manners of C-3PO.

    This knee-high, self-driving bot abides by social protocols as it weaves through foot traffic: keep right, pass left, respect others’ personal space. The machine, presented at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Vancouver on September 25, paves the way for robots...

    10/06/2017 - 07:00 Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Technology
  • News

    Origami outfits help these bots change tasks swiftly

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    Robots are taking “dress for success” to a whole other level.

    A new type of shape-shifting robot can undergo complete metamorphosis in a matter of minutes. The bot is composed of a simple metal cube that wraps itself in various high-tech origami sheets that fold into wings, wheels and other appendages for getting around. By donning and doffing different origami...

    09/27/2017 - 14:00 Robotics, Technology