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Simplebotics
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Simplebotics covers the future of robotics.
Simplebotics covers the future of robotics.

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There are a plethora of toys that promise to teach your kid to code. Many of which scratch the surface of computer programming with intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces but fail to cover anything beyond the basics.

Sparki, developed in the labs of ArcBotics, is a small tabletop robot designed to teach your kid real code. The robot doesn’t appear as polished as, say, a Sphero, but at the heart of the robot are some serious brains. Sparki boasts an Arduino-compatible board, an ultrasonic sensor, an LCD screen, and more. Most of the robot’s parts are visible too, giving budding engineers and programmers a peek at how Sparki works.

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Currently, Int-Ball serves as an automatic camera to alleviate the crew’s photography work load (which amounts to 10% of their working hours). It floats inside the hull of the space station, taking and feeding photos to researchers on Earth in real-time. These photos are then sent back to the space crew for whatever use possible. At the heart of Int-Ball is a cube-like control unit which communicates with 12 positioning fans. These fans adjust the robot’s pitch, roll, and yaw motion, as well as move forward and backward. Pink rectangular markers are placed inside the space station and act as reference points for Int-Ball. The drone moves incredibly slow but can capture footage at any angle using its built-in camera.

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Aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is a passenger you’d least expect: a camera drone. Japan’s space agency has, for the first time, revealed images and videos taken from its JEM Internal Ball Camera or “Int-Ball”. The cute camera drone floats inside the space station, snapping photos and recording videos all while being remotely controlled from Earth.

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"The latest version of MIT’s Cheetah robot made its stage debut today at TC Sessions: Robotics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s a familiar project to anyone who follows the industry with any sort of regularity, as one of the most impressive demos to come out of one of the world’s foremost robotics schools in recent years. Earlier versions of the four-legged robot have been able to run at speeds up to 14 miles an hour, bound over objects autonomously and even respond to questions with Alexa, by way of an Echo Dot mounted on its back."

- TechCrunch

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Drones have become a technology icon over the past few years. Anyone can walk into Best Buy or click on Amazon and have a drone in their hands for less than a thousand bucks. But how many people do you know actually own a drone? Unless you participate in FPV racing, the answer is most likely not very many. DJI wants to change that. By shrinking the size, lowering the cost, and adding smart features, the company is making drones for the mainstream market. DJI’s latest drone, Spark, takes selfies, understands hand gestures, and lands in the palm of your hand for $499.

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Drone Racing League (DRL) yesterday tested the world’s fastest racing drone to date, the DRL RacerX. The drone was built by Ryan Gury, DRL’s director of product, and a team of engineers. DRL RacerX weighs in at 800 grams and travels at a top speed of 179.6 miles per hour. Since the Guinness world record required the drone to fly back and forth across a 100-meter stretch, the recorded top speed was 163.5 miles per hour. Still, that’s damn impressive for a quadcopter, considering previous top speeds averaged 80 miles per hour.

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Those who registered their personal drones with the Federal Aviation Administration can now request a refund. The FAA will delete the drone from its database and give back the $5 used for registering.

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Toyota completed its first North American in-home testing of the Human Support Robot. The one-armed robot, HSR for short, is one of many mobility assistant robots Toyota is developing to help people with daily activities.

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Toyota completed its first North American in-home testing of the Human Support Robot. The one-armed robot, HSR for short, is one of many mobility assistant robots Toyota is developing to help people with daily activities.

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Harvard researchers are exploring new and clever ways of designing nature-inspired robots. Inspired by arthropod insects and spiders, Arthrobots are semi-soft walking robots constructed from drinking straws.
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