Want to Build a Better Climbing Robot? Copy a Cockroach.

Less Clunky Movement

Some believe that the most sophisticated robots always come in humanoid form. The limitations of such a form, however, become evident when the bots begin to walk. These androids may look human, but they hardly move like one. There is obviously a design problem with imitating humans, so researchers have figured that when it comes to creating robots that move flawlessly, it’s better to imitate insects.

A team from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Harvard University, and the Pennsylvania State University suggested a rather unlikely model: cockroaches. The critters we try so hard to banish from of our homes are the subject of their study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Don’t judge these insects just by their appearance. The researchers explain that cockroaches are capable of overcoming obstacles in the fastest possible way. Instead of working to avoid obstacles, they just bump into them while moving fast, taking advantage of their robust bodies. “Cockroaches running at over 1 m [meter] or 50 body lengths per second transition from the floor to a vertical wall within 75 ms [millisecond] by using their head like an automobile bumper, mechanically mediating the manoeuvre [sic],” the study notes. What they propose is a design similar to a cockroach, and they demonstrated this using a palm-sized, legged robot.

Fast Climber

The robot modeled after a cockroach is designed to be able to navigate a wall.

The key is the soft exoskeleton that allows for a kind of movement that could change the “next generation of running, climbing, and flying robots where the use of the body can off-load the demand for rapid sensing and actuation,” the researchers wrote.

Image credit: Jayaram, K., et al./Journal of the Royal Society InterfaceImage credit: Jayaram, K., et al./Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Instead of sensing the path ahead and adjusting its movement as required, the team’s robot crashes into the wall and then rolls around it, similar to how a cockroach would. This way, the robot overcomes the need to quickly anticipate the environment ahead of it, especially when it is moving fast. The study says that “by relying on the mechanics of the body to mediate manoeuvres [sic]”, rather than on sensors that control the robot’s movements, the researchers were able to devise a machine that’s robust “even under extreme conditions.” Like the idea behind humanoid robots, this design is inspired by nature. Except, a cockroach-like bot is more equipped to handle tougher terrain.

The post Want to Build a Better Climbing Robot? Copy a Cockroach. appeared first on Futurism.

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Devolver Digital Celebrates 2 Million ‘Reigns’ Players by Offering Owners of Either ‘Reigns’ Game A Discounted Copy of the Other One

There are tons of games on the App Store that appeal to either more casual or more hardcore gamers. Very few play brilliantly and appeal to all kinds of gamers as well as Reigns does. Reigns [$ 2.99] from Devolver Digital alongwith the sequel Reigns: Her Majesty [$ 2.99] are fantastic experiences and two of my favourite iOS games ever. If you aren’t familiar with these games at all, imagine an RPG lite experience where your main gameplay is akin to swiping through the Tinder app. Now Devolver Digital and Reigns Announced that they have crossed 2 million players. To celebrate this, they are offering the bundle with both games at a discount. Check it out on the App Store here.

The big news is that if you bought either Reigns game at full price, you get the other one for a big discount (this varies by region) through this bundle. The way bundles work on the App Store, you end up paying the difference if you bought a single item in a bundle at a price lower than the total bundle cost. The Reigns: King & Queen Bundle is $ 2.99 right now for those who don’t own either game which is a big discount (even free depending on region) over the regular price. Check out our reviews of both games here and here. We also interviewed Jim Guthrie about Reigns: Her Majesty’s music. Out of all the games designed from the ground up for mobile, the Reigns games and the lost phone games are easily my favourite. You can tell that while they are available on non mobile platforms as well, they’re more immersive and play best on mobile. You can also see some other player impressions for both Reigns games on our forum threads for them here and here.

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Samsung’s Galaxy S9 expected to copy iPhone X’s animoji with ‘3D emoji’ feature

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Looking to keep up with Apple’s iPhone X, Samsung is planning to add an animoji-like "3D emoji" feature to the Galaxy S9 premiering later this month, according to a Korean report.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Expected to Copy iPhone X’s Animoji Feature

Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will reportedly copy one of the iPhone X’s most popular new features: Animoji.


Korean website ETNews claims the flagship smartphones will have a new 3D emoji function that is “more advanced” than Animoji. Like on the iPhone X, users will be able to choose from various 3D characters, including animals, that mimic facial movements as tracked by the Galaxy S9’s facial recognition sensors.

Samsung should reveal the name of its Animoji competitor when the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are unveiled at Mobile World Congress on February 25. Many details about the smartphones have already leaked, including entire images of the devices shared by Evan Blass, hinting at many features that can be expected.

While rumors suggest the next major version of Android will include support for smartphones with a so-called notched design, like the iPhone X, it appears that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will retain slim bezels along the top and bottom of the display for the front camera, microphone, and sensors.

3D emojis will be powered by the Galaxy S9’s facial recognition system, which is expected to remain less secure than Face ID on the iPhone X. Other biometric options will include a rear fingerprint sensor and an iris scanner.

Samsung is rumored to release the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 on Friday, March 16, with pre-orders expected to begin about two weeks prior.

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Google Calendar 5.8.18 finally lets you copy and duplicate (but not move) events [APK Download]

We don’t use the word “finally” in titles gratuitously on Android Police, but this instance warrants it. For years and years, we’ve heard the same complaint when covering Google Calendar: you can’t change an event’s calendar on the Android app. You need to use the web app or if you’re bound to your phone, you have to delete the event from one calendar and manually create another in the second one.

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Google Calendar 5.8.18 finally lets you copy and duplicate (but not move) events [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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