Robots at Work and Play

Advancements in robotics are continually taking place in the fields of space exploration, health care, public safety, entertainment, defense, and more. These machines -- some fully autonomous, some requiring human input -- extend our grasp, enhance our capabilities, and travel as our surrogates to places too dangerous or difficult for us to go. Gathered here are recent images of robotic technology at the beginning of the 21st century, including robotic insurgents, NASA's Juno spacecraft on its way to Jupiter, and a machine inside an archaeological dig in Mexico. [32 photos total]

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Bipedal humanoid robot "Atlas", primarily developed by the American robotics company Boston Dynamics, is presented to the media during a news conference at the University of Hong Kong, on October 17, 2013. The 6-foot (1.83 m) tall, 330-pound (149.7 kg) robot is made of graded aluminum and titanium and costs HK$ 15 million ($1.93 million). It is capable of a variety of natural movements, including dynamic walking, calisthenics and user programmed behaviors, according to the University of Hong Kong's press release. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu) #
French patient Florian Lopes, 22, holds a tree branch with his new bionic hand at the readaptation center of Coubert, southeast of Paris, on June 3, 2013. Lopes lost three fingers in an accident at the end of 2011 and was the first French patient to receive this type of artificial limb, worth 42,000 euros, already used in Scotland or the US. (Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images) #
An MVF-5 Multifunctional Robotic Firefighting System by company Dok-Ing sprays water canon as part of a TIEMS annual conference entitled "Robotics in emergency and crisis management, use of UGVs, from Military and EOD to Civil protection" at the Bouches-du-Rhone Fire Department school (SDIS 13) in Velaux, southern France. (Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man holds a Telenoid R1 robot during the Innorobo 2013 fair (Innovation Robotics Summit) as companies and research centers present their latest technologies in robotics in Lyon, on March 19, 2013. The Telenoid R1 is designed as a telepresence robot, to serve as a remote presence for a person, such as a grandchild, and allow people to communicate in a more natural setting. (Reuters/Robert Pratta) #
Two four-legged robots, part of DARPA's Legged Squad Support System (LS3) program, run through a field during testing. The semi-autonomous LS3 machines are being designed to help carry heavy loads through rugged terrain, interacting with troops in a similar way to a trained pack animal. (DARPA) #
On October 9, NASA's Juno spacecraft flew by Earth using the home planet's gravity to get a boost needed to reach Jupiter. The JunoCam caught this image of Earth, and other instruments were tested to ensure they work as designed during a close planetary encounter. Juno was launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on August 5, 2011. Juno's rocket, the Atlas 551, was only capable of giving Juno enough energy or speed to reach the asteroid belt, at which point the Sun's gravity pulled Juno back toward the inner solar system. The Earth flyby gravity assist increases the spacecraft's speed to put it on course for arrival at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems) #
In this October 6, 2013 photo, laser lights outline a robot during a performance at Robot Restaurant in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) #
A SWAT robot, a remote-controlled small tank-like vehicle with a shield for officers, is demonstrated for the media in Sanford, Maine, on, April 18, 2013. Howe & Howe Technologies, a Waterboro, Maine company, says their device keeps SWAT teams and other first responders safe in standoffs and while confronting armed suspects. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) #
Graduate student Baker Potts handles a prototype robotic eel in a pool inside the engineering building at the University of New Orleans, on October 2, 2012 in New Orleans. The robotic eel might be able to wriggle through dangerous waters with almost no wake, letting it move on little power and with little chance of radar detection as it looks for underwater mines. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
President Barack Obama shakes a robotic hand as he looks at science fair projects in the State Dinning Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 2013. Obama hosted the White House Science Fair and celebrated the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images) #
A robotic dragon from the medieval spectacle "The Dragon's Sting" burns Christmas trees in Furth im Wald, Germany, on January 24, 2013. (AP Photo/dpa/Armin Weigel) #
A robotic camera platform records Norway's driver Andreas Mikkelsen and Finnish co-driver Mikko Markkula as the drive their Volkswagen Polo R WRC during the qualifying stage of the FIA World Rally Championship of Italy near Olbia, on the Italian island of Sardinia on June 20, 2013. (Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images) #
The CEOs of Marathon set and prepare Robotic Moving Targets for use in the Moving Target Technique Limited Objective Experiment 2 at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on September 24, 2013. The robots, developed by the Australian company Marathon, present a target the size of an average person, fall over when shot and can simulate average walking and running paces from four to eight miles an hour. The experiment tests the most effective technique and method to engage moving targets with the M-4 carbine and M-27 infantry automatic rifle. (U.S. Marine Corps/Pfc. Eric T. Keenan) #
Robots deliver dishes to customers at a Robot Restaurant in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, on January 12, 2013. Opened in June 2012, the restaurant has gained fame in using a total of 20 robots, which range in heights of 1.3-1.6 meters (4.27-5.25 ft), to cook meals and deliver dishes. The robots can work continuously for five hours after a two-hour charge, and are able to display over 10 expressions on their faces and say basic welcoming sentences to customers. (Reuters/Sheng Li) #
A mobile fish pen system, developed by Lockheed Martin, constantly moves along the ocean's surface, in waters over 12,000 ft deep, working to solve the potential problems of impacts on water quality or impacts on the seafloor. The system operates by integrating satellite communications, remote sensing data feeds, robotics, motor controls, and command and control and situational awareness software. (PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin) #
A Toshiba decontamination robot, for work inside a nuclear plant, during a demonstration at Toshiba's technical center in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo, on February 15, 2013. The crawler robot blasts dry ice particles against contaminated floors or walls and will be used for the decontamination in TEPCO's stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images) #
Danish scientist Henrik Scharfe (right) poses with his Geminoid-DK robot during its presentation at the National Robotics Olympiad in San Jose, on August 16, 2013. The Geminoid-DK is a tele-operated Android in the geminoid series and is made to appear as an exact copy of its creator, Professor Scharfe. (Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate) #
This image provided by NASA is one of a series of still photos documenting the process to release the SpaceX Dragon-2 spacecraft from the International Space Station, on March 26, 2013. The spacecraft, filled with experiments and old supplies, can be seen in the grasp of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System's robot arm or CanadArm2 after it was undocked from the orbital outpost. The Dragon was scheduled to make a landing in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of California, later in the day. The moon can be seen at center. (AP Photo/NASA) #
Zac Vawter, a 31-year-old software engineer from Seattle, Washington, prepares to climb to the 103rd story of the Willis Tower using the world's first neural-controlled Bionic leg in Chicago, on November 4, 2012. According to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, their Center for Bionic Medicine has worked to develop technology that allows amputees like Vawter to better control prosthetics with their own thoughts. (Reuters/John Gress) #
Camels ridden by robot jockeys compete during a weekly camel race at the Kuwait Camel Racing club in Kebd, on January 26, 2013. The robots are controlled by trainers, who follow in their vehicles around the track. (Reuters/Stephanie McGehee) #
NASA's new Earth-bound rover, GROVER, which stands for both Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, in Summit Camp, the highest spot in Greenland, on May 10, 2013. GROVER is an autonomous, solar-operated robot that carries a ground-penetrating radar to examine the layers of Greenland's ice sheet. Its findings will help scientists understand how the massive ice sheet gains and loses ice. After loading and testing the rover's radar and fixing a minor communications glitch, the team began the robot's tests on the ice on May 8, defying winds of up to 23 mph (37 kph) and temperatures as low as minus 22 F (minus 30 C). (Lora Koenig/NASA Goddard) #
Humanoid robot bartender "Carl" gestures to guests at the Robots Bar and Lounge in the eastern German town of Ilmenau, on July 26, 2013. "Carl", developed and built by mechatronics engineer Ben Schaefer who runs a company for humanoid robots, prepares spirits for the mixing of cocktails and is able to interact with customers in small conversations. (Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch) #
An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) after completing its first arrested landing on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. The landing marks the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed an arrested landing at sea. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3nd Class Christopher A. Liaghat) #
Bipedal humanoid robot "Atlas", primarily developed by the American robotics company Boston Dynamics, practises tai chi during a news conference at the University of Hong Kong, on October 17, 2013. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu) #
A robot helps passengers to find their way through the baggage claim area of the Geneva International Airport, on June 13, 2013. Geneva airport is using the autonomous robot to accompany travelers to a dozen destinations such as trolleys, ATM, lost luggage room, showers or toilets. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images) #
A view from the front hazcam of NASA's Mars rover Opportunity, on Sol 3412 (August 29, 2013), still operating, driving across Mars' surface and collecting data nearly 10 years since its January, 2004 landing. (NASA/JPL) #
Kokoro displays the company's humanoid robot called "Actroid" (left) and its internal workings (center) at Sanrio's headquarters in Tokyo, on February 7, 2013. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images) #
Rosser Pryor, Co-owner and President of Factory Automation Systems, sits next to a new high-performance industrial robot at the company's Atlanta facility, on January 15, 2013. Pryor, who cut 40 of 100 workers since the recession, says while the company is making more money now and could hire ten people, it is holding back in favor of investing in automation and software. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Chinese inventor Tao Xiangli welds a component of his self-made robot (rear) in the yard of his house in Beijing, on May 15, 2013. Tao, 37, spent about 150,000 yuan (USD 24,407) and more than 11 months to build the robot out of recycled scrap metals and electric wires that he bought from a second-hand market. The robot is 2.1 meters tall and around 480 kilograms (529 lbs) in weight. (Reuters/Suzie Wong) #
Photographers take photos of Toshiba Corp's new four-legged robot which the company says is capable of carrying out investigative and recovery work at tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant during a demonstration at the company's Yokohama complex in Yokohama, on November 21, 2012. The new tetrapod robot, which is able to walk on uneven surfaces, avoid obstacles and climb stairs, integrates a camera and dosimeter and is able to investigate the condition of nuclear power plants by remote-controlled operation. (Reuters/Yuriko Nakao) #
A robot used to explore ruins in the entrance of a tunnel in an archaeological section of the Quetzalcoatl Temple near the Pyramid of the Sun at the Teotihuacan archaeological site, about 60 km (37 miles) north of Mexico City, on April 22, 2013. The robot has discovered three ancient chambers in the last stretch of unexplored tunnel at Mexico's famed Teotihuacan archaeological site, the first robotic discovery of its kind in the Latin American country. Named Tlaloc II after the Aztec god of rain, the robot was first lowered into the depths of the 2,000-year-old tunnel under the Quetzalcoatl Temple to check it was safe for human entry. After months of exploration, the remote-controlled vehicle has relayed back video images to researchers of what appears to be three ancient chambers located under the Mesoamerican city's pyramid. (Reuters/Henry Romero) #
An engineer makes an adjustment to the robot "The Incredible Bionic Man" at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., on October 17, 2013. The robot is the world's first-ever functioning bionic man made of prosthetic parts and artificial organ implants. (Reuters/Joshua Roberts) #

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