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Fetch rover! Robot to retrieve Mars rocks

Fetch rover! Robot to retrieve Mars rocks

Science
UK engineers will design a robot that can retrieve rock samples on Mars so they can be sent to Earth for study. The European Space Agency is issuing contracts to industry to spec the technology needed for what will be a complex joint undertaking with the US. Aerospace giant Airbus will scope the concept for a surface "fetch rover" at its Stevenage centre north of London. Esa and the American space agency (Nasa) expect to send the sample-return equipment to the Red Planet in 2026. "It will be a relatively small rover - about 130kg; but the requirements are very demanding," said Ben Boyes who will lead the feasibility team at Airbus. "The vehicle will have to cover large distances using a high degree of autonomy, planning its own p...
SpaceX launches AI robot, strong coffee for station crew

SpaceX launches AI robot, strong coffee for station crew

Technology
A SpaceX rocket that flew just two months ago with a NASA satellite roared back into action Friday, launching the first orbiting robot with artificial intelligence and other station supplies. The used Falcon rocket blasted off before dawn, hauling nearly 6,000 pounds (2,700 kilograms) of cargo including the spherical AI bot named Cimon, genetically identical mice and super-caffeinated coffee for the crew of the International Space Station. The shipment — packed into a Dragon capsule that's also recycled — should reach the station Monday. It was an especially gorgeous launch, delighting spectators as the rocket plume expanded in the clear night sky like a giant halo beneath a nearly full moon and a gleaming Mars. SpaceX's Jessica Jensen described the high-altitude plume, illum...
IBM to send 'friendly' floating robot head named CIMON to International Space Station

IBM to send 'friendly' floating robot head named CIMON to International Space Station

Technology
An 11-pound, artificially-intelligent, floating robot head is being sent to the International Space Station (ISS) this week to assist astronauts there, IBM executives announced today. The astronaut assistant is named CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) is the product of a joint project between the German Aerospace Center, Airbus, and International Business Machines Corporation, better known as IBM. The group project developed and integrated artificial intelligence (AI) components into CIMON and have been training it to demonstrate a personality. CIMON is scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket bound for the ISS on June 29 at 5:41 am EST, and is set to arrive there on Monday, July 2 - when it will join the Horizons mission as an astron...
Robot lawnmowers make the cut as sales soar

Robot lawnmowers make the cut as sales soar

Technology
Sales of robot mowers are soaring as gardeners let technology take the strain out of cutting the lawn. Department store John Lewis says its sales are up by 75% this year due to advances in technology and falling prices.John Lewis spokesperson Hannah McFarlane said: "With temperatures reaching the high 20s, people are less prepared to get hot and bothered mowing the lawn and would rather sit back with a chilled drink and watch their robotic lawnmower creating those perfect straight lines, without having to lift a finger."The mowers work by using GPS software to plan their route or sensors and wires are planted on the edge of the lawn.Once the machines have completed their task they return to their docking stations and switch off, while others can be controlled by mobile phon...
Ocean-going robot fish blends in with aquatic life

Ocean-going robot fish blends in with aquatic life

Technology
Scientists have developed a soft robotic fish that they can control with sound to swim beside real fish in the ocean.The fish - named SoFi - was made from silicon rubber by researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).It swims by wagging its hydraulic-pump powered tail and controls its own buoyancy using special foam which allows it to dive or rise to the surface.SoFi, which was supported by the US National Science Foundation, was developed to be dexterous enough to swim beneath corals and has a camera allowing the researchers to see what is right in front of it.The electronics that control it are stored inside its head, although a remote controller is also available to allow a diver to control the fish underwater using ultrasonic signals.Image:The r...