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Motorized Couch

We all have those days where we have to get up and go to school/work, but just want to stay on your couch. Now, you can do both at the same time!

Built by engineering students in the University of South Wales, the couch utilizes 4 independent mecanum wheels (which allow for omni-directional movement), which are powered by electric scooter motors, and is controlled by a Raspberry Pi board. The users control the couch using a Xbox controller, and can relax while they ride around.

The students are still working on outfitting the couch with sensors to allow it to move autonomously. Now that would be pretty sweet.

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Jellyfish Bot

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Just when you thought it was safe to run into the water to escape the land-robot madness, here comes the jellyfish bot!

Swimming at a blistering 7 inches a second, the jellyfish bot, developed by the Institute of Computer Science in Greece, is inspired by the common octopus, using eight arms to swim and chase down its prey.

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Vampire-bot uses blood for art

Robots can do anything these days; they can drive cars, engage in conversation, and can even play soccer! But this robot is special. While most robots perform their respective talents with nothing but electricity, Ghost In The Machine needs to drink its creator’s blood to work.

Luckily, the robot didn’t suck its creator, Ted Lawson, dry, but did use his blood to draw a life-sized portrait of him, which I guess blood is great for these days. And now that robots are developing a taste for human blood, don’t be surprised if you see a pack of robots drinking from a blood-red fountain anytime soon.

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Indestructible robot crawls through fire

Try to burn it, run it over, or freeze it, and it just keeps on crawling. Developed by Michael Tolly of Harvard University and his team, the pink X-shaped robot is completely soft, with no rigid skeleton.

At 65 centimeters long, this robot has a battery capable of running for 2 hours on a single charge, and an air compressor system that drives its pneumatic motion. With a flexible body that can navigate through small spaces, and designed to be used in harsh terrain, this robot is ideal for search-and-rescue missions. It can work in temperatures reaching -9 °C, and can withstand fire for 20 seconds, get run over by a car, and resist water and acids.

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Robotic hand performs underwater tasks

To touch, or not to touch. For this robot, the answer is the former, always the former. A hand with three digits, the robot designed by Achint Aggarwal and his team at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Bremen lives to examine the depths of the ocean by touch.

With underwater visibility hampered by impurities and/or sediments in the water, objects and extremely difficult to locate and manipulate. To look past the waters’ impurities, Aggarwal’s team made the hand, which could be attached to an undersea vehicle. Built-in sensors in the hand can track changes in texture, movement, and pressures as it moves around. It can then use that information to make a map of the object and make a guess about what it might be, with 90% accuracy.

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