Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsRobots
IN THE NEWS

Robots

FEATURED ARTICLES
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 29, 1988
The recent Science/Medicine report (Metro, Dec. 19) on robots as the new servants of mankind was most enlightening. However, almost 100 years ago Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) demonstrated the first robot--remotely controlled object--a model torpedo boat of his design in 1898! Yet, who today really gives due credit to Tesla for all the wonders of the modern electronic age, which sprang from his brain? Little credit, little recognition! It's about time that Tesla be given credit for his concept of robots.
ARTICLES BY DATE
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.
Advertisement
NEWS
November 13, 2012 | By Jon Healey
In my previous post, I described the potential for a new era of automated manufacturing in which it's easier for entrepreneurs to create products but harder for workers to find jobs on the assembly line. A contrary note was sounded, ironically, by a robotics executive, who insisted that the next generation of smart machines would make human employees more valuable, not more dispensable. The executive, Rethink Robotics' Rodney Brooks, didn't offer any concrete examples to support his argument.
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...
HEALTH
October 17, 2011
Paro may be the most famous companion robot around today, but he's likely to have some competition before too long. Here are a few others currently in the works: The "emotion bear. " It laughs. It sneezes. It waves. It strikes up a conversation. And if nothing much is going on, it falls asleep. A concept currently being tested by Fujitsu in Japan, the "emotion bear" can sense when people are near and turn to face them. And when it gets to know people well enough, it can tell what mood they're in - and behave accordingly.
BUSINESS
September 29, 1997 | LEE DYE
If I remember the Popular Science and Mechanix Illustrated magazines of my youth correctly, by the end of the millennium we are supposed to relax in our easy chairs while robots mow our lawns, wash our windows and vacuum our rugs. Well, the year 2000 is nigh upon us, and around my house, humans are still the only robots doing those chores. But while I still have to mow my own lawn, there is a growing chance that if I ever need brain surgery, a robot will do the job.
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.
SCIENCE
January 2, 2014 | By Amina Khan
Gecko's sticky feet seem to let the little climbing lizards crawl wherever they want. Now researchers have used the gecko feet's trade secrets to let robots use that climbing power in space. The idea, which received backing from the European Space Agency, mimics the pads of the gecko's feet to allow small robots to climb up the hulls of larger spacecraft to maintain and even repair them. Such repair bots could extend the lives of expensive spacecraft, save them from sudden and untimely deaths, and perhaps one day minimize risky spacewalks for future astronauts.
HEALTH
October 17, 2011 | By Chris Woolston, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Robots aren't known for their soft side. They build cars and defuse bombs; they don't, as a rule, make friends or deal with feelings. But a few groups of researchers around the world are working to build robots for an unusual purpose: Making emotional connections with autistic children who often struggle to interact with humans. There's something about machines that really seems to resonate with many kids with autism, says Maja Mataric, co-director of the Robotics Research Lab at USC. These children often have trouble reading human emotions and social cues - complexities they don't have to worry about when they're around a mechanical being.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 19, 2000
Robots have moved out of the realm of science fiction. Today, these human-like machines can retrieve books for library patrons, assemble products for manufacturing companies, assess damage in radioactive accidents and investigate the wonders under the sea and in outer space. Explore the world of robots and learn about their history, uses and construction through the direct links on The Times' Launch Point Web site. Go to: http//www.latimes.com/launchpoint/
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.
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.
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.
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.
SCIENCE
October 4, 2013 | By Amina Khan
These brightly colored blocks may look like child's toys, but watch out: These adorable cubes are actually spinning robots that can connect to build modular machines. There's no assembly required: The blocks, built at MIT, will do it themselves. The acrobatic boxes, called M-blocks, have no external parts. And yet they can spin, somersault and snap together to create all kinds of shapes, depending on the job at hand. “It's simple on the outside, but the insides are very unique,” MIT robotics professor Daniela Rus said in an interview.
BUSINESS
August 9, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
LAS VEGAS -- A Sunnyvale company that makes long-endurance glider robots used by marine scientists and oil companies to study the ocean is looking to land more government work. Liquid Robotics makes unmanned vehicles, called Wave Gliders, that float on the ocean's surface and generate power through the ebb and flow of the ocean. (See it operate in the video below.) Because it converts wave motion into thrust, the wake-board-like device can travel to a distant area, collect data and return for maintenance for a year at a time.
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.
Los Angeles Times Articles
|