NewsFebruary 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

Those Flying Robots Are Generating A Lot Of Buzz

If you follow any Penn publication, Twitter or Facebook page, or generally just exist, you’ve probably seen the swarm of media attention around the GRASP Lab’s nano quadrotors.  This segment featured on NBC Philadelphia shows just how advanced the little machines have become. MEAM Professor Vijay Kumar explains their maneuverability allows them to do things like birds, but with greater precision (probably meaning increased accuracy of pooping directly on park benches, windshields and your head).

Companies are already considering the quadrotors’ potential as mobile cameras for novel uses such as searching for trapped victims in burning houses and inspecting buildings for structural damage. How about flying them up to a second-story bedroom window to spy on your crush? Because that’s not weird.

NewsOctober 19, 2011 at 11:22 am

Robot Watch: The Poop Scoop

Tired of coming home to mysterious poops all over your floor with no one to clean them up? Sick of frolicking in your backyard only to find your dog’s poop scattered ’round the lawn?

Scoop your troubles away with the brand new poop-scooping robot! Penn’s GRASP Lab, the makers of death-defying flying robots and robots that play soccer, introduces the newest in its line of haptic interface applications. Ben Cohen and his colleagues successfully programmed the PR2 robot into a deluxe waste removal agent capable of handling the most offensive of poops. Read the rest of this entry »

NewsJuly 27, 2011 at 9:48 am

GRASP Scores The Goal(d)

Despite Japan’s heart-wrenching defeat over the US in the Women’s World Cup Final, a team of several Penn Engineering students has helped American soccer triumph over Japan where it really counts: the humanoid robot league.

Members of Penn’s GRASP Lab and a couple students from Virginia Tech made up the championship Team DARwIn in the “Humanoid Kid Size” competition at the 2011 RoboCup tournament in Istanbul. In the final round, DARwIn (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence) defeated a team from Japan to definitively prove that Penn makes the sweetest sports-playing robots around. Read the rest of this entry »

NewsMay 29, 2011 at 9:00 am

The Daily Beast: “Mechanical Engineering Is Useless”

Despite all their recent robot media hype, Penngineers are getting no love. Luckily, most of them are used to it.

The Daily Beast has compiled a list of the 20 most useless degrees, and while English and Art predictably made the cut, Mechanical Engineering Technology actually ranked higher than either of the aforementioned majors, topping the list at number 8. The biggest slap in the face, however, is the accompanying picture, which features one of Penn’s very own GRASP projects, the robot pitcher.

We’ll just see if the folks at The Daily Beast (all of whom, of course, received degrees in linear algebra) are still singing the same tune when their computers mysteriously melt down next week. Nobody messes with the Penngineers. Nobody.

Election WatchMarch 30, 2011 at 10:00 am

Dave Against The Machine

The pros and cons of getting your campaign video out late.

Pro: It gets its own post on UTB.
Con: You missed out on the early bird voting special.

Overall Consensus: Looks like UA-College-Rep-hopeful David Ray Agyekum really does know what Penn students want: more Wharton jokes and a human-run government. We’re hoping the next two installments of his video campaign are just as successful (assuming they really do come out). Think less Shrek, and more The Godfather.

NewsNovember 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Penn Professor Helps To Keep Colbert’s Fear Alive

Last week to promote his “Rally to Keep Fear Alive”, Stephen Colbert featured his TV personality’s biggest fears in a segment titled “Fear For All” on The Colbert Report. Along with being afraid of Mexicans, bears, and Muslims, Colbert claims to be terrified of robots. To help keep his fear alive, he brought in Penngineering professor Dan Lee to talk about how robots (don’t) have emotions and whether Lee is, in fact, a robot himself. More screen-shots and witty commentary after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

NewsSeptember 27, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Those Flying Robots Are Back, And They Got Stronger

Remember these freaky flying robots that Penn’s very own GRASP lab debuted over the summer? The engineers who designed them gave an interview to about their more practical uses, and it turns out that they’ve got plans for them that go well beyond the more terrifying uses that we’d initially envisioned. As part of a project funded by the US military and Lockheed Martin, the robots are intended to replace humans in especially tight combat situations. Developer Vijay Kumar says the things should really take off once the special effects industry finds a good use for them, but don’t relax just yet: he’s working on a more advanced version that can move comfortably through indoor spaces, and while they aren’t yet capable of opening doors, Kumar says “you can always find windows.” The future: it’s coming to get you.

CampusMay 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Sometimes Engineers Can Score

If you’ve ever taken a Penn tour, you’ve heard about the RoboCup, a soccer tournament played by robots. We found this gem of a Penn bot kicking and scoring a goal against a particularly skillful stationary robot goalie. This is proof that even Pennginerds can play the field and score sometimes.

CampusNovember 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm

UTB Science Fair Volume I

Science is all around us, guys. What makes a classy lady so classy? Think up a hypothesis and test it! How does texting work? Nobody knows, but you can run a couple experiments and find out. The point is: science is fasci(ence)nating.

We’re always writing about sports and the greatest dancers but we think it’s time to see what scientific stuff has been happening on campus. Welcome to the first annual UTB Science Fair. Wind, soccer and the dangers of creating perfect artificial intelligence after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »