My Top Ten Robotics Blogs

About three weeks ago, asked me to submit a top ten robotics list to their site.  So, I agreed to do this because, for RobotNext, I read many other robotics blogs to keep up with the latest news.  Of course, I also considered this a great honor to be asked to do this.  Thanks go out to and Wendy Taylor at Six Apart for selecting me to compile this list.

The following are the ones I access frequently for the latest information in the robotics world. It was really difficult to rank these great sites and I would, likely as not, change the order every time I reviewed the list.  Therefore, the blogs are listed in alphabetical order.  They are all useful sources for robotics information.

Top Ten Robotics Blogs

     Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

 Here is a blog about artificial intelligence and robotics.


"BotJunkie obsessively chronicles Man's inevitable descent into cybernetic slavery. One robot at a time."

Bot Thoughts

 "A blog of robotics, electronics, programming and related topics with pictures, code,  circuit diagrams, ideas, thoughts, drawings, sketches."

    Gizmodo: Robots

Gizmodo: Robots is a subset of the larger Gizmodo family of blogs and has up to date robotics information and great photos. "Gizmodo is a blog about gadgets and technology. Started in 2002, Gizmodo has grown to be Gawker Media's largest blog, bringing in upwards of 100 million page views a month in traffic. We post about a variety of electronics, as well as all sorts of things gadget geeks might enjoy."

This may be the oldest surviving robotics blog and will celebrate its 10th year anniversary this year. It's a blog covering resources for the robotics beginner. has articles on robotics projects, resources, books, and links.

This blog comes from a site with a load of information and many other blogs that contribute to the information flow. was created by R. Steven Rainwater and Roger Arrick. Together with Jim Brown. Their motto: "All the news that's fit to assimilate."

"A news and discussion site for those interested in robots and robotics. Home of the Robot Competition FAQ and a variety of resource pages."

    Robots Dreams

This site has to be one of the most visually entertaining robot weblogs that you will ever visit. Includes "robot news from Japan, exclusive coverage of robot events like ROBO-ONE, Robot Carnival, RoboGames, and reviews for the newest robot products."


From Tony Dyson of Star Wars fame. The site is billed as "From the man who built R2D2." Covers stories about robots from a unique point of view.



If you want to know what is happening in the world of LEGO® Robotics, then this is the blog for you. Definitely this is the number one blog in its niche. "NXT STEP Blog brings together news and information related to the LEGO®MINDSTORMS® NXT system."

    Trossen Robotics

"The Trossen Robotics Blog is the place to keep up to date on all the latest product releases and     news in robotics."

By Imitating Insects, Microbots Demonstrate Hive Behaviors

Robot researchers constantly use nature as a model for new robotic developments. Here is another example of this in these microbots.

In particular, the application to robotics has to do with the idea of swarm behaviors.  Insects such as ants and termites tend to act as a unit.  Even though they are small, when they act together, they can accomplish amazing feats.  Termites build large, complex mounds with intricate tunnels.  Ants can organize large hunting parties and carry out raids against larger insects and sometimes even animals.

Swarm of robots have been developed with up to 90 robots organized into a single-acting, focused unit.  As of now, most of these applications have been in the military area.  Gathering intelligence, locating mines and explosives, and surveillance are three common applications commonly used today in the armed forces.  What will truly be a robotics revolution is when swarm robots are used in the home or personal arena.  Imagine several robots in your house working together to clean the floors, do the laundry, and prepare meals.  This is where the future of personal robots may be headed.

Read the complete story at the links below.

Credit:  New Electronics

"Fifty years ago, predictions for the future always included robots that would, by now, be doing most of our daily domestic chores. While that hasn't happened, robots have had a huge impact on our lives, but in industry rather than the home."


Robot Butler Serves Up Snacks: Is This a Problem?

A robot butler can't be a bad thing, can it?  After all, we would all like to be waited on by a servant, especially one that can be shut down if it gives you any problems. So, just make sure that it can be turned off!  This is not a new robot, in fact the machine made its debut at Carnegie Mellon University back in September of 2009.  You can go back and look at the story done here on RobotNext about this snackbot.   Also, follow the links below to see the article from the by Charles Arthur.


    Credit:|The Observer

"The robot butler has a long and frequently chequered history. From    Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet (who could bring a nicely shaken  martini) through to HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey (which served  food via a hatch, then later killed you), the idea that there must be a  better method of getting refreshments handed out than making a person  push a trolley is one that just won't go away."


MIT Touches the Future with Next Generation Tactile Robotic Skin

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is using an advanced sensor system to develop the next level of robots.  By incorporating Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) technology into a robot's skin, MIT hopes to build a robot that can interact with humans via touch.  QTC, from Peratech Limited, is a new class of electrically conductive material that has been developed to advance the capability of switching and sensing systems.  As the Peratech website states:  "QTC can be tailored to suit different force, pressure, or touch sensing applications – from sensing feather-light or finger operation to heavy pressure applications, and that is why QTC is so perfect for the next tactile robot."

See the related story from Myra Per-Lee at to read about the most advanced bionic hand.

QTC Robotics

Image Credit:  Peratech Limited

QTC Pressure Sensing Material

Image Credit:  Peratech Limited

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will create the first robot that will enable a human to interact with it through touch, much as they would another human. Last week, MIT commissioned the British company Peratech to develop its next generation tactile robotic skin to accomplish its goal.



GM, NASA Build Robot Named R2

Robonaut2, or R2, as it is known, is the most advanced dextrous robot yet developed.  Built by NASA and General Motors, this robot will be able to work along side an astronaut or an autoworker.  The idea is to have the ability to work in space where it may be too dangerous for humans in some places, and to work with humans in an auto production plant to improve efficiency. GM and NASA have been long-time collaborators.  GM worked with NASA on the Lunar Rover for the Apollo moon programs.  Read the story at the link below for more details about this robot.

Two Robonaut 2 

Credit: NASA/GM

Robonaut2, or R2, is able to use its hands to do work beyond the scope of previously introduced humanoid robots. It surpasses previous dextrous humanoid
See all stories on this topic

GM, NASA build advanced dextrous robot
Creamer Media's Engineering News
Tue, 16 Feb 2010 10:36:44 GMT

Robot Assassins

Robots are being used in a war-like situation, in a country we are not at war with, and controlled by civilians in a spy agency thousands of miles away.  This is the new world of terrorist wars.  At some point, all of this will have to be sorted out ethically.  The entire question of robots as killing machines is one that cause great concern.  On the one hand, these robots are probably saving innocent lives that would be lost in a terrorist attack; but, on the other hand, the robots are killing humans.  Check out the story in the link below.

[A predator drone. For the first time ever, a civilian intelligence agency is manipulating robots from halfway around the world in a program of extrajudicial executions in a country with which Washington is not at war.(AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)]

Credit: AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson

"The kohl-eyed Hakimullah Mehsud probably is dead. He was the target for a missile fired last month from an unmanned aircraft hovering over the Afghan-Pakistani border – but launched by an operator in the US.

A predator drone. For the first time ever, a civilian intelligence agency is manipulating robots from halfway around the world in a program of extrajudicial executions in a country with which Washington is not at war."


Mars Rover Spirit Update

In an update of the Mars rover's situation, the flight controllers have indicated that the plans will switch to surviving the upcoming Martian winter rather than trying to extricate Spirit from the sand trap where it is stuck.  The story from Cosmic Log is linked to below.  Follow that link to read the post. 

    "Right now the rover is embedded … we do not believe it's extractable," Doug     McCuistion, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, said today during a     teleconference. "Right now the worry is about getting through the winter."


Robot From Castrol Can Kick Soccer Balls at 200 km/hr

This is for all FIRST robotics teams looking for ideas to design a kicker for this year’s competition:  Don’t try this one!  It probably won’t pass inspection.  Castrol has built (or in this case, over-built) a  robot to break the record set by a soccer legend.  Not only does it break the record, but it would probably break bones.  The human record by Cristiano Ronaldo is 130 km/hr.  Castrol’s robot blasts the ball at over 200 km/hr.  Watch the video at Engadget and Marca (Spanish) to see the pieces fly when the plywood players get in the way.  You can also read the story at that link or at the link below.

Castrol builds freakishly large robot to kick a soccer ball, break legs of silhouette defenders

Credit:  Engadget and Marca

Soccer players are generally such crybabies that we can understand why you'd want to replace them with robots, and sometimes that's done with great success. We don't think we'll be seeing this latest player on the pitch anytime soon, though. It's something of an exhibition robot, a creation sponsored by Castrol to beat the legendary leg of Cristiano Ronaldo, who can kick the ball at 130km/h.

Continue reading Castrol builds freakishly large robot to kick a soccer ball, break legs of silhouette defenders

Castrol builds freakishly large robot to kick a soccer ball, break legs of silhouette defenders originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 26 Jan 2010 10:46:00 EST.

Castrol builds freakishly large robot to kick a soccer ball, break legs of silhouette defenders
Tim Stevens
Tue, 26 Jan 2010 15:46:00 GMT

Robotic Insects Could DASH to the Rescue

The Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod (DASH) is being outfitted to locate victims that are trapped in rubble.  RobotNext posted a blog on this invention back in October 2009.  This is a cockroach-inspired robot that can move quickly and speedily like its model.  Also, like its insect model, it can fall great distances and survive to run again.  You can see the video on You Tube of this robo-roach in action.  Check out the story below for the complete story.

motorcrawler roachbot

Credit:  Biomimetic Millisystems Lab and UC Berkeley via ZDnet

Paul Birkmeyer, the graduate student who designed the robots, shows his creation. Researchers are trying to add cameras and detectors that can locate people's breath. DASH (Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod) is a resilient high-speed 16-gram …

Robotic Insects Could Help In Search, Rescue Efforts – Daily Californian
(author unknown)
Fri, 22 Jan 2010 09:05:00 GMT

Spherical Robots Practice Formation Flying in Space

NASA has this experiment onboard the International Space Space to test the concept of robot flying in formation and performing other manuevers in space. 

The NASA website explains, “Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) are bowling-ball sized spherical satellites.  Three free-flying spheres can fly within the cabin of the Space Station, performing flight formations. Each satellite is self-contained with power, propulsion, computers and navigation equipment. The results are important for satellite servicing, vehicle assembly and formation flying spacecraft configurations.”

It would seem that these little robots could be great assistants for the astronauts.  They could hold cameras, carry tools, or they could provide lighting for work situations.  I don’t know if they are being considered for that work, but they should.  Read the stories at the links below for more information.


Photo Credit:  NASA

“MIT has had a set of robots called SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites) on board the International Space Station since May of 2006 to test out algorithms for autonomous navigation and docking maneuvers. Each sphere is about 8″ in diameter and has 18 sides. They gets around with 12 thrusters powered by compressed CO2, while ultrasonic and infrared sensors and a wireless link tell them where they are. SPHERES are able to maneuver precisely enough to dance around in a circle on the ISS; watch as a third robot enters the pattern:

The idea behind SPHERES is that a bunch of small satellites working together is much cheaper, much more efficient, and much more robust than one single large satellite. It’s swarm robotics, up in space.”  From BotJunkie

The following sites provided source materials for this article



MIT Spheres

Danger Room

Spherical Robots Dance In Space
Evan Ackerman
Thu, 21 Jan 2010 11:55:49 GMT