With the help of a smart tablet and Angry Birds, children can now do something typically reserved for engineers and computer scientists: program a robot to learn new skills. The Georgia Institute of Technology project is designed to serve as a rehabilitation tool and to help kids with disabilities.

The researchers have paired a small humanoid robot with an Android tablet. Kids teach it how to play Angry Birds, dragging their finger on the tablet to whiz the bird across the screen. In the meantime, the robot watches what happens and records “snapshots” in its memory.read more

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a . . . jellyfish?

Researchers have built a small vehicle that is able to fly through the air using graceful, undulating movements similar to those of a jellyfish swimming through water.

The work, which will be presented at the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting on November 24 in Pittsburgh, demonstrates a new method of flight that could transport miniaturized future robots for surveillance, search-and-rescue, and monitoring of the atmosphere and traffic.
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Every month, the US economy becomes more automated. Robots can cut manufacturing costs, but the problem is that they can’t SPEND any money (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), so the items they create may go unsold. It’s just another example of how income inequality causes recessions.

German and Japanese factories are largely staffed by industrial robots, and China is catching up: A restaurant in northern China has become the first to have only robot waiters.
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Drones are all around us, in the sky (and now) in the water too. The next time you go fishing, you may pull out a robot, because the Department of Homeland is developing an unmanned underwater vehicle that looks like a tuna fish. In the past, the joke was that a fisherman might pull up a boot–now he’s more likely to reel in a robot.

Smaller or larger versions of fish robots could swim effortlessly through the oceans as they run US military reconnaissance missions or conduct scientific surveys.
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