Secret of brain control: Practice makes perfect

Illustration: Henry Wong

It turns out we learn to move a robotic arm or computer cursor with the same neurons we use to learn to ride a bicycle or catch a ball. On a neurobiological level, that deceptively simple truth could have profound effect on how future devices could help those who have suffered a stroke or paralysis.

Sunday, 16 June, 2013, 4:07am

Robots to drones, Australia eyes high-tech farm help to grow food

A scientist field tests a Hexi-copter air robot and two ground robots at an almond farm near Mildura in Australia. Photo: Reuters

Moving carefully along a row of apple trees, two of Australia’s newest agricultural workers check if the fruit is ripe or the soil needs water or fertiliser.

27 May 2013 - 1:56pm

Implant may allow patients to control artificial limbs with their thoughts

A prosthetic hand that can control grasp. Photo: Guardian

A brain implant that allows the animals to "feel" the presence of invisible infrared light could one day be used to provide paralysed people with feedback as they move artificial limbs with their thoughts, or it could even extend a person's normal range of senses.

19 Feb 2013 - 4:01am

Robot cars 'on road to future' in China

Wang Meiling's team with the Bot. Photo: SCMP

Professor Wang Meiling's team came sixth in an annual robotic-car race held on a 16-kilometre country road in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, last month.

23 Dec 2012 - 5:26am

China to become world's largest robotics consumer by 2014

A robot, invented by Zhejiang University, plays table tennis with visitors at the 2012 China International Industry Fair on November 6, 2012. Photo: AFP

Demand for industrial robots is predicted to hit 32,000 units by 2014 making China the world's largest robotics consumer.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, the sector's technology and production have gained momentum amid higher labour costs and China's efforts to restructure its economic growth pattern and improve energy efficiency.

12 Nov 2012 - 10:58am

Digital lifestyle: robots taking our jobs

Illustration: Oliver Raw

Most of us have had our job titles changed, been made redundant, or perhaps even fired. But imagine being replaced by a robot.

24 Aug 2012 - 12:21pm

Robotopia calling

For many years there was a convention in Hollywood that every film villain was either a European with a thick accent or a robot. Alas, these days it's all sexy vampires fighting sexy werewolves and unsexy zombies. Our declining fear of robots, androids and cyborgs - or our increasing acceptance of such machines - could be occurring just as the field of robotics comes of age.

6 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Ushering in the age of the robot

Last month, Foxconn, the world's largest electronics manufacturer, began building the future at a Taiwan factory: 300,000 robots.

18 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Turning mechanics into high culture

Engineering is a bit of a passion in the Lam family. Josh Lam Hiu-man, 27, is the youngest of three brothers who have all found inspiration in the subject.

'When we were young, we all liked playing with toy cars, like most children,' Lam says. 'But then we would do some modifications, take them apart, rebuild them.'

14 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

A place where great robots came alive

Last Saturday, several junior reporters spent the day at the Hong Kong Science Park making friends with robots. Here are their accounts.

Ken Cheung

At a booth set up by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, we found the amazing Treebot.

The robot is capable of climbing trees and moving from branch to branch.

9 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

Chance to test drive an electric car

Electric vehicles will be one of the highlights of InnoCarnival 2011.

Visitors will find out about the latest green car technology, and those with a valid driving licence can test drive the most up-to-date electric cars at the event.

About 50 organisations will showcase their new technology at the carnival at Hong Kong Science Park this weekend.

3 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

Robots star at science fair

Do you believe that robots will one day take over the world? Come and check this out before you reach your conclusion.

31 Oct 2011 - 12:00am

Robots boxing clever

You've heard of boxing. You've probably heard of robot wars. The next logical step in the evolution is surely bare-knuckle robot-boxing!

Real Steel takes these two elements and transports them into the future, to a time when boxing between men no longer has the same appeal as it does now. In this future, man-made, super-tall robots slug it out in the ring.

2 Oct 2011 - 12:00am

Taiwan pins hopes on robotic friends

Cheng Hsiang-ju limits her son to three sessions per week with Robii, which has become something of a brother to the Taipei child. The pint-sized, monkey-lookalike toy that comes with a stage and an interactive projector, holds the five-year-old's attention as it talks, responds to touch, plays music and teaches him to write.

11 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

Dancing bots

Ah, robots. Forget those machines of destruction in Terminator or The Transformers.

Instead, picture three dancing robots in baggy trousers as they wave their mechanical hands, slide down into a split and then do a handstand - all in sync to a funky hip hop tune.

26 May 2011 - 12:00am