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Georgia Tech

Sensitive “Skin” Gives Robot Feeling in Whole Arm, Lets It Reach Through Clutter [Video]

Georgia Tech researchers have taken one big step towards building a robot will be able to get that jar of mustard from the back of the refrigerator without making an ungodly mess of the place. They've developed a "skin" that gives tactile sensitivity to a robot's whole arm, allowing it to snake its way through obstacles and pick up objects that in the midst of a cluttered environment without disturbing the items surrounding it.

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Robotic Sea Turtle Scoots Over Sandy Surfaces [Video]

Do you need a robot that can move easily over loose sand, perhaps to serve drinks at your next beach party? Georgia Tech may be able to help you out. Last month, the University debuted a lizard inspired robot that can run over sand. This morning, they're back with another robot designed to scamper adorably across sand dunes, this one inspired by the motion of baby seat turtles. According to the Georgia Tech team, the key to the turtle's speedy movement is all in the wrist.

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Squirrels Teach Robots To Lie, Nobody Questions Whether That’s A Good Idea

Disappointed that your Roomba can't clean your house while also telling you that you that shirt your girlfriend hates looks great on you? Researchers at Georgia Tech are working hard to solve that problem by teaching robots to lie, and they're taking lessons in lying from some of nature's most deceptive animals -- squirrels. Because hey, what could possibly go wrong with that plan, which you can see in action below?

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Capturing CO2 from the Atmosphere May Be More Feasible Than Once Thought

It's no secret that the amount of Carbon Dioxide in Earth's atmosphere is steadily rising. A variety of factors contribute to this increase but one thing is for sure: It's kind of a drag. However, we aren't totally screwed quite yet. Researchers at the Georgia Institue of Technology have not only developed techniques for absorbing CO2 directly from the atmosphere, but have also determined that these techniques are much more economically feasible than originally anticipated. Learn more about the logistics of Georgia Tech's methods after the jump.

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Vibrating Glove Teaches Piano, Helps Patients Recover After Spinal Cord Injuries

With a name like "Mobile Music Touch," what might spring to mind is an awkwardly named iPhone app in some way related to music. But its actually a novel treatment for people who have lost sensation in their hands from a spinal cord injury. Not only does it have therapeutic benefits, but it also teaches people to play the piano in the process.

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Researchers Develop Robotic Camera That Mimics Eye Movement

Robots tend to have trouble reproducing the complicated movements of the human eye. Without the ability to mimic the movement of our eyes, engineers have been crafting robots with deadened unnatural eyes for ages but perhaps no longer. There are definitely other issues and obstacles but now researchers at Georgia Tech have finally crafted robotic cameras with seemingly natural eye movement thanks to the piezoelectric cellular actuators used in the design.

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Study Uses iPhone Accelerometers to "Read" Nearby Keystrokes

A team of researchers from Georgia Tech's School of Computer Science has announced that they've found a way to capture keyboard information through the accelerometer of a nearby iPhone. According to their findings, the technique was accurate 80% of the time. This isn't the first time an iPhone's accelerometer has been used to capture keystrokes, but it is the first time a keyboard has been captured through a neighboring phone. Instead of directly monitoring keystrokes, like a keylogger installed on a target's computer, this method senses the vibrations of each keystroke via the iPhone's accelerometer. To accurately discern what is being typed, the software compares pairs of keystrokes. It sorts these based on which side of the keyboard the stroke occurred, and how close the keyboard stokes were to each other. This might not seem useful, but when the software compares this data against a dictionary, the program is able to glean the typed words with alarming accuracy.

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Independent Decision-Making Robots Move in Formation, Spell “Grits”

For his masters thesis, Georgia Tech student Edward Macdonald used 15 Khepera robots to spell out the word "grits." Now, this may not seem very impressive, but each robot was moving autonomously and did not communicate with the other robots. The goal was for the robots to make independent decisions based off the same information. In Macdonald's demonstration, the robots only had access to visual information broadcast via WiFi from a bird's eye camera. On the intent behind his work, Macdonald writes:
The goal of the algorithm is to have a network of mobile robots build formations while minimizing the total distance traveled by all robots. The only information available to each robot are the relative positions of all other robots. There is no communication between robots. Since each robot has access to the same information (relative positions between robots), they independently come to the same conclusion.
Even more impressive is that the robots self-correct. If one robot is removed from the formation, the others move to fill the gap, and will readjust when it is reintroduced. Will these plucky robots manage to spell out the name of a popular breakfast food? Keep reading after the break to find out.

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Trimensional App Turns iPhone into 3D Scanner

Georgia Tech researcher Grant Schindler has come up with a pretty clever use for the iPhone 4: Use it to create 3D models. It's a simple process that proves that while there are over 350,000 apps, there's still plenty of new ideas for the iPhone platform. Schindler's app, called Trimensional, works by shining light on a person's face from four directions, and recording the results. These are compiled into a single image that users of the advanced version of the software can export to a 3D printer and create a model of their face, or whatever they scanned. Cleverly, Trimensional does not require any additional equipment to perform the scan, such as a light kit. Instead, it uses the iPhone's screen as a light source, and records the images with the front-facing camera. Schindler describes the scanning process as answering a series of questions. From the Georgia Tech Digital Lounge:

If I take a scan of my face, the app asks ‘what does the image look like if I shine the light from the left side, what does it look like from the right side,’ and so on. There’s one three-dimensional answer per pixel, and combining all those answers results in the full 3-D model[.]

Read on after the break for a video of Trimensional in action.

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People Feeding Ducks Feeding People [Video]

The goal of the project, Ducks Feed People, shown in the above video, "was to change everyday behavior in a public space with the help of digital media." Created for a 2010 final project of the Digital World & Image Group at Georgie Tech, Ducks Feed People is a fun system in which a mechanical duck head releases candy from its mechanical duck mouth whenever humans are feeding the ducks under the bridge on which the mechanical duck is situated. From the students' description of the project:

We turned the ducks into food providers for park visitors. To achieve that, we built a large artificial duck head and tested it in Atlanta's Piedmont Park. A web cam detects the presence and activity of ducks in the pond. This activity, then, triggers, the artificial bird head, which lets sweets rain from its beak - feeding the humans.

It does, however, seem like he children have found a way to manipulate the mechanical duck at around 1:27 into the video. Human ingenuity, 1. Mechanical duck ingenuity, 0.

(Ducks Feed People via io9)

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