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Endeavour Crew to Assemble Giant Robot, in Space 147

Frizzled writes "Part of the space shuttle crew's scheduled mission for this week is to assemble a massive robot which will 'rise like Frankenstein' from the shuttle's cargo bay. The robot, named Dextre, has 11-foot arms, a shoulder span of nearly 8 feet, a height of 12 feet, and was built by the Canadian Space Agency. 'Dextre can pivot at the waist, and has seven joints per arm. Its hands, or grippers, have built-in socket wrenches, cameras and lights. Only one arm is designed to move at a time to keep the robot stable and avoid a two-arm collision. The robot has no face or legs, and with its long arms certainly doesn't look human.'"

Balancing Robot Can Take a Kicking 207

BotKicker writes "A Japanese team has created the first full-size humanoid robot that won't fall over if you push it. A video shows it staggering and regaining balance after blows from a researcher. Being able to withstand shoves and kicks is essential if robots are to truly be our buddies, they reckon. 'The robot's balancing ability depends on its joints. For one thing they are never kept rigid, even when standing still, meaning they yield slightly when the robot is pushed. Force sensors within each joint also work out the position and velocity of the robot's centre mass as it moves around. Control software rapidly figures out what forces the robot's feet need to exert on the ground to bring it back into balance, and tells the joints how to act.'"

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