Rise of the machines: What's new in robots?

Should we be worried?

  • This is one of the new line of "Wall-climbing Electroadhesive Robots" by Californian research institute SRI International. Unlike a lot of things in the technology industry, this is pretty much what it says on the box. The robots generate a small amount of magnetic charge through their track wheels and use it to climb up walls made of glass, rock, cement etc. The military (it’s always the military!) is said to be very interested.

  • Coming down to earth and splashing into the water is a fin-propelled Robofish designed by the University of Washington. As Kristi Morgansen prepares to send the Robofish off on a test run, scientists hope that devices like these will be able to swim with whales and studying migratory patterns.
    Next stop, the military.

  • Starting small, we have the "Evolta Robot", which was created by Panasonic to highlight its new line of batteries. It may not seem like much, but this tiny thing managed to climb up one side of the Grand Canyon in the US using only two AA batteries. Weighing just 134g and climbing 530m in six hours and 46 minutes, it's the story of the little robot that could.

  • If you squint and imagine sharp teeth appearing, the Jaws theme music may start to enter your mind…

  • We’ll end the robo-tour on something more benign. Toshiba scientists in Japan have decided to tackle the issue of an aging population with friendly robots designed to befriend and assist elderly owners with reminders and words of loving encouragement — while learning commands and how to perform complex actions. So far the device is able to independently turn on and off air conditioners, lights and other electronics.

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