New technology from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm is teaching a household robot a more efficient way to get around a house, for example. The method was recently awarded a prize for the best contribution among 500 others at IROS, one of the world’s largest robot conferences.
Philipp Althaus describes the concept in his dissertation, to be defended on November 21. Robots are making their way into our homes, toy robots and simple household robots. This is a clear trend, and by 2005 the market estimates that more than twice as many household and toy robots will be sold in the world compared to today.
A major problem for a household robot is how to get around in an unknown environment. A chair that has been moved or a person standing in the way can easily confuse a robot. Several earlier attempts have involved programming an enormous amount of map data about the environment: Where are the walls? What does every obstacle look like in detail? How far is it between this thing and that thing? This is not an efficient way to go, since the amount of data grows exponentially with the surface the robot is to navigate. The more data there is, the more the robot has to think, and the slower it moves. Nor is a robot especially good at improvising when unexpected obstacles turn up. Computing power is no guarantee of success.
Jacob Seth-Fransson | alfa
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Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
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In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
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By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
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COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
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'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
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