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was 2017 the start of the highly dubious yet regularly and famously predicted robot takeover?… just check out our coverage of CES 2017 and you may notice their increased development. although boiling under the surface for the last few years, artificial intelligence has truly come to light in products across the technology spectrum, from automotive to headphone design. this increased level of smartness has not only resulted in ultra intelligent, human-like robots, but also more clever tools and down right playful toys. from impressive demonstrations to product announcements and even momentous occasions as robots are being recognized with country citizenship, 2018 will be sure to take another giant leap for robot-kind.

 

continuing our TOP 10 round ups of 2017, we look back at ten robotic and artificial intelligence stories that grabbed our and most importantly, designboom readers’ attention over the past 12 months.

 

1 – hanson robotics sophia

 

 

created by hanson robotics, ‘sophia’ the robot made her debut at the south by southwest show in march 2016 and since then has become somewhat of a media personality — having spoken at the united nations and appeared on the jimmy fallon show. she can animate a full range of facial expressions, and is able to track and recognize faces, look people in the eye, and hold natural conversations. in 2017, saudi arabia announced that it is giving citizenship to ‘sophia’, making it the first country in history to do so for a robot. on the achievement, ‘sophia’ had this to say, ‘I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction. this is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.’

read more here

 

 

2 – mayfield robotics kuri


image courtesy of mayfield robotics

 

 

mayfield robotics unveiled the intelligent ‘kuri’ robot at the CES 2017 trade show in las vegas. characterized by personality, awareness, and mobility, the robot is said to ‘add a spark of life to any home’. the smart bot can understand context and surroundings, recognize specific people, and respond to questions with facial expressions, head movements, and unique sounds. sourcing the many beloved robots of popular culture like R2-D2 and WALL-E, this mechanical buddy can also be defined by its adorable personality and extraordinary connectivity abilities.

read more here

 

 

3 – sony aibo


image courtesy of sony

 

 

sony announced the release of its latest robotic dog, ‘aibo’. this evolution of the autonomous robot can ‘form an emotional bond with members of the household while providing them with love, affection, and the joy of nurturing and raising a companion,’ sony says. featuring a dynamic range of movements and eager responsiveness, the puppy bot also develops its own unique personality as it grows closer to its owners. it uses ultracompact 1- and 2-axis actuators to give its compact body the freedom to move along a total of 22 axes.

read more here

 

 

4 – stanford university snake robot


image by kirk hickman and aaron kehoe

 

 

stanford university researchers have developed a snake-like robot that grows like a vine by squeezing through hard to reach places. the sole aim of the prototype is to act as a search and rescue device, moving through rubble and small openings in order to reach trapped survivors by delivering them water. the snake starts as a rolled up inside out tube with a pump on one end and a camera positioned on the other side. once initiated, the device inflates and grows in the direction of the camera, while the other side stays the same.

read more here

 

 

5 – festo octopusgripper


image courtesy of festo

 

 

just like an octopus has no hard skeleton and is made almost entirely of soft muscle, festo has applied this concept to soft robotics. the resulting creation is the ‘octupusgripper robotic’ arm—a flexible, silicone structure fitted with two rows of suction cups, just like its natural model. the ‘octopusgripper’ robot is the latest work of the company’s ‘bionic learning network,’ a series of robot’s that use biology as a model, copying the grip mechanisms of different animals. once compressed air has been applied and the tentacle curls inwards, it wraps around the object in question in a gentle—if a little creepymanner, where a vacumm is used to its suction cups.

read more here

 

 

6 – honda E2-DR


image © IEEE spectrum

 

 

at IROS 2017, honda revealed a prototype for a disaster relief robot, the ‘E2-DR’, who has the ability to grasp bars, adjust its hips and walk in a human-like manner. whilst being flexible, strong and waterproof, it is capable of handling a variety of different potential issues caused in a disastrous situation. even at 1.68 meters high and 85 kilograms in weight, honda has kept the robot’s size to a minimum, helped by swapping out standard communication cables for optical fiber, which are eight times smaller. it can squeeze through 30-cm gaps and has 33 degrees of freedom, whilst grease is used to keep contaminants out of its joints.

read more here

 

 

7 – boston dynamics handle


image courtesy of boston dynamics

 

 

the google-owned robotics firm boston dynamics released a video of their latest creation, which goes by the name of ‘handle.’ unlike some of the company’s previously showcased robots that stand up on either two or four legs like ‘spotmini,’ ‘handle’ navigates on two small wheels. the undeniably human-like bot can roll back and forth, go down steps, spin in circles, jump, squat, and pick up crates. furthermore, it can also navigate down snowy hills and perform stunts that seem more suited to a pro-skateboarder than a research robot. 

read more here

 

 

8 – piaggio gita cargo bot


image courtesy of piaggio fast forward

 

 

piaggio‘s ‘gita’ cargo bot is designed to carry your stuff, freeing up your hands so you can get on with what is important. designed to be smart and nible, the bot has been designed and engineered with same details of safety, braking, balancing, dynamics and performance as a motorcycle or car. taking the form of a bright blue orb, it is equipped with a wheel on either side of a central compartment, which opens up to reveal its storage area, where belongings, packages and valuable can be held safely. as well, ‘gita’ can move at a variety of speeds — from a snail’s pace to a sprint, indoors and out – in order to match human levels of mobility.

read more here

 

 

9 – NASA PUFFER


image courtesy of NASA

 

 

meet ‘PUFFER’, the pint sized new space rover from NASA. short for Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot, the structure of ‘PUFFER’ takes influence from origami, folding and expanding to allow the friendly-looking bot to roam where no space rover has gone before. the creature’s lightweight design is capable of completely flattening itself, tucking in its wheels, and crawling into corners where other larger robots cannot fit. apt for skittering up sharp slopes and wriggling under rocks, several of the paper-like microbots can be flattened like cards and stacked one on top of another.

read more here

 

 

10 – honda 3E robotics concept


image courtesy of honda

 

 

announced right before CES 2018the cute but very helpful team of honda ‘3E robotics concept’ are set to be shown at the technology show in las vegas, USA. with experimental technologies, the designs are intended to be used to advance mobility and make people’s lives better, matching the japanese company’s over-arcing vision. standing for empower, experience and empathy, the four – ‘3E-A18’, ‘3E-B18’, ‘3E-C18’, ‘3E-D18′ – bots are purposed to assist people in many situations, from natural disasters to recreation.

read more here

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