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BUSINESS
December 4, 2013 | By Salvador Rodriguez
The former head of Android is now working on a new robotics effort for Google. Andy Rubin, who cofounded and then led the Android mobile platform up until this year, is turning his passion for robots into a new "moonshot" venture for the Mountain View, Calif., tech company, the New York Times reported Wednesday. Though few details have been revealed by Rubin or Google, the robotics effort is targeted at manufacturers and aims to improve the way Google and other companies assemble and deliver products.
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WORLD
April 24, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
TOKYO - During a long day in the coded world of Japanese diplomacy, President Obama's easiest conversation Thursday was with a robot. “I can kick a soccer ball,” said the Honda humanoid to the president. “OK, come on,” replied Obama, who caught the kick with his foot and complimented the metallic athlete. “That was pretty impressive.” Besides offering the least complicated interaction of the day, the demonstration at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation also had Obama in a comfort zone, focusing on science, technology and the opportunity for collaboration with a top American ally and trade partner.
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BUSINESS
November 8, 1999 | LEE DYE
Michael J. Marsella is dreaming small these days. The assistant professor of chemistry at UC Riverside is trying to create artificial "muscles" no bigger than a single molecule. Marsella's muscles might someday maneuver everything from tiny biomedical devices to robotic insects that could keep tabs on a hostile army's maneuvers. But first he has to prove his idea will work.
WORLD
April 14, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - Investigators looking for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have put away their towed pinger locator and are about to call off searches for surface debris. Now, it's all up to a little yellow robotic submarine to find the missing Boeing 777 in an area bigger than the city of Los Angeles. Technicians aboard the Australian ship Ocean Shield on Monday afternoon deployed the Bluefin-21 underwater autonomous vehicle in the Indian Ocean, sending it almost three miles down to the seabed and using its side-scanning sonar arrays to look for wreckage from the plane.  “It is time to go underwater,” retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search from Perth, Australia, said in announcing the new phase of operations.  Unless the robot sub gets lucky, the process could take a while: The U.S. Navy, which lent the Bluefin-21 to the search team, said mapping the area where the plane most likely disappeared could take six weeks to two months.  The 16-foot, 1,650-pound sub moves at a walking pace and will be searching an area of about 600 square miles.
BUSINESS
December 9, 1987
International Robomation Intelligence, a Carlsbad-based robotics and artificial intelligence manufacturer, reported a third-quarter net loss of $3.2 million on revenue of $410,000, contrasted with a profit of $349,000 on sales of $3.1 million over the same three months last year. About $2.6 million of the third-quarter loss was attributed by the company to the termination of two product development contracts, requiring write-offs of previously recognized revenue and of inventory and equipment.
SCIENCE
April 16, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A NASA robotic spacecraft equipped with navigational computers and sensors was launched Friday to rendezvous with a Pentagon satellite without the help of human controllers. If the $110-million mission is successful, it could lay the groundwork for the robotic delivery of cargo to space shuttles and automated docking and repair between spacecraft in orbit.
NEWS
July 12, 2000 | MARLENE CIMONS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the first robotic medical device that performs surgery. The technology, surgeons say, eventually could transform highly invasive operations, such as open-chest heart surgery, by enabling doctors to use only small incisions.
BUSINESS
September 6, 1999 | LEE DYE
Computer scientists at Brandeis University say they have taken a significant step toward creating robots that will evolve into ever more sophisticated machines, capable of repairing and modifying their own hardware. What they have come up with isn't exactly the "2001" film star, Hal, or even R2D2 of "Star Wars." But they have produced software that allows a computer to design structures, such as bridges and cranes, without human intervention.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 14, 2001 | LIZ F. KAY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Amir Mosallaie's robot stays where it's told. The 9-year-old programmed the brick-sized robot to remain within the confines of a black oval ring printed on a large sheet of paper. When its light sensor detects black, the contraption, built of Lego brick and a microcomputer, backs up, turns around on its four rubber wheels and plays "Fur Elise." Amir's fourth-grade class at Highland Oaks Elementary School in Arcadia is testing a novel program using robotics in basic science classes.
NEWS
April 29, 2001 | From Associated Press
After four days of furious work, NASA overcame crippling computer problems at the International Space Station on Saturday and completed critical robot-arm operations with the astronauts' help. It was slow going, but the space station's new robot arm successfully handed its 3,000-pound packing crate to space shuttle Endeavour's robot arm. Even before the computer problems, this unprecedented mechanical handshake had been considered the most complicated robotic feat to be attempted in space.
SCIENCE
April 14, 2014 | By Amina Khan
Fruit flies seem to have a preternatural ability to evade annoyed swatters. Now, laser-wielding scientists have discovered the secret of these winged escape artists: They execute speedy hairpin turns by banking in the same way that fighter jets do. The aerial skills of Drosophila hydei , described this month in the journal Science, could provide insight into the complex neural circuitry that makes such impressive maneuvers possible - and perhaps...
BUSINESS
April 1, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Shares of Intuitive Surgical Inc. jumped more than 12% Tuesday after the Sunnyvale company said the Food and Drug Administration had approved the latest version of its robotic surgical system. The company said in a statement that its new Da Vinci Xi system has longer, thinner arms that provide greater range of motion and can be used in more types of procedures than earlier models. "Our goal is to develop technology that enhances surgical performance," said Gary Guthart, Intuitive's president and chief executive.
NEWS
April 1, 2014 | By Judi Dash
Whether you've tracked in snow, mud, dirt or sand, there's no reason you should trouble yourself with scrubbing the floors of your weekend getaway or vacation rental. Just let loose the new Scooba 450 , a little robot floor mopper from the same folks who created the popular do-it-itself iRobot Roomba carpet vacuum. The Scooba 450 is a 14 1/2 -inch-diameter rechargeable disk that automatically propels its 9-pound self across wood, tile (or any uncarpeted floor), spinning and spiraling around the room, its sensors gauging the size of the floor, and redirecting its efforts when it bumps into a wall or other obstruction.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 14, 2014 | By Bob Pool
Jerry Lockenour couldn't predict what lay ahead for him 25 years ago when he stashed the Los Angeles Times' Magazine on a cabinet shelf. The April 3, 1988, magazine's cover illustration showed bubble-shaped cars traveling in "electro lanes" on a double-decked, high-rise-lined 1st Street in downtown's Civic Center area. The cover's headline was "L.A. 2013: Techno-Comforts and Urban Stresses - Fast Forward to One Day in the Life of a Future Family. " Inside was a lengthy essay that described a day in the life of a fictional Granada Hills family in April 2013.
SCIENCE
March 13, 2014 | By Amina Khan
Think of a robot. Chances are you imagined one with legs like C-3PO of "Star Wars" fame or something with wheels like NASA's Mars rover Curiosity . Neither of these rigid body types are particularly flexible and certainly can't move through water well. But what about a robot with a tail? Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have designed a soft robot based on a fish, which can bend its body and quickly flee the way that real fish do to escape predators. Typical robots are rigid with exposed mechanisms and unnatural movement, but the fish described in the first issue of the new journal Soft Robotics is covered in a soft silicone skin.
NEWS
March 12, 2014 | By Amy Hubbard
It's the biggest sporting event at Caltech. Six teams competed in the annual robot competition at the Pasadena school on Tuesday. Their homemade creations -- built over 20 weeks for $800 -- rolled, climbed and flew with a goal of getting an empty can onto a 5-foot, pyramid-shaped platform. The Pasadena Star News reports the winner of the "Raiders of the Lost Can" competition, held inside the school's Brown Gymnasium, was a team named ... 40 Pc Chicken McNuggets. This is the mechanical-engineering highlight of the year in a land of brainiacs and gear heads, nerd nirvana for the people who will someday be your boss.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 5, 2007 | From the Associated Press
VICTORVILLE -- Members of a Carnegie Mellon University team of engineers and their tricked-out, driverless Chevy Tahoe known as "Boss" won $2 million for their victory in a Pentagon-sponsored robot race in the high desert, race officials announced Sunday. Tartan Racing's "Boss" turned in the top performance Saturday as it navigated through an urban-style obstacle course at a former Air Force base set up by race organizers from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 5, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
The new trailer for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" warns that "The rules have changed," but based on the images glimpsed within, there's still plenty of the robotic mayhem, booming explosions and large-scale destruction that Michael Bay and his blockbuster franchise are known for. Written by Ehren Kruger, who penned the previous two "Transformers" movies, and directed by Bay, who has directed each installment but says this fourth one will be...
SCIENCE
February 14, 2014 | By Amina Khan, This post has been updated. See note below.
Imagine a team of workers that can tirelessly build and rebuild complicated structures even under daunting and dangerous conditions. They already exist - they're called termites. Now, inspired by these mound-building insects, Harvard University scientists have created a mini-swarm of surprisingly simpleminded robots that can work together to construct buildings much larger than themselves. The findings, described in the journal Science, present an important step toward designing robots that may one day be able to build research facilities in the deep ocean, buildings on Mars or even levees at a flood zone during an emergency - jobs that are far too hazardous or expensive for human workers to do. [Updated 11:28 a.m. Feb. 14: "It's a very impressive accomplishment," said Hod Lipson, a roboticist at Cornell University, who was not involved in the study.
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