• PRIMM, Nevada (Reuters) - A Stanford University team won a $2 million prize on Sunday for sending a modified Volkswagen across 132 miles of rugged desert, guided only by sensors and computers in a race the Pentagon hopes will lead to a technological breakthrough in warfare. Twenty-three driverless vehicles were sent into the Mojave Desert on Saturday in a race sponsored by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA. After extending the race a day to allow a slow-moving robotic vehicle to finish, the Stanford University vehicle, known as Stanley, was declared the winner of the Grand Challenge with the quickest race time of six hours and 54 minutes. Sebastian Thrun, leader of the Stanford team, said

  • SEOUL (Reuters) - Armed, six-legged robots may one day work alongside man's best friend on the southern side of the Korean DMZ. South Korea will spend 33.4 billion won over the next five years to develop the robots for the heavily fortified demilitarised zone that divides the peninsula, the Communications Ministry said in a statement Friday. South Korea envisages the robots performing roles on the battlefield now done by dogs, such as sniffing for explosives and catching intruders, the ministry said. The robots will stand knee-high to the average adult, mounted on wheels for road missions or on as many as eight legs to get them over uneven terrain, it said. Equipped with firearms, they will be able to carry

  • TOKYO (Reuters) - She may be a bit odd looking, what with a bright yellow face, silver arms and a positioning sensor on her head, but this tiny gal's got charm -- even if it is chip-induced. Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, say their new Internet-linked robot "Wakamaru," unveiled on Thursday, has a friendly personality that could make her a much-loved member of the family. "We have tried to create a robot you can have a relationship with, just like a human," said technical team leader Ken Onishi, who said that while none of her individual features are revolutionary, putting them together in one cute package was a mammoth task. Able to recognize up to 10 people and call them

  • SINGAPORE - Want more than just glossy paint on your nails? A new machine with a camera can paint a photographed image, whether a loved one or a pet, on your nails for just 2 Singapore dollars (US$1) each. A group of Singaporean entrepreneurs on Wednesday launched E-Manicure, a machine with a camera that paints full-color images on nails in just 30 seconds. They say the resolution is good, and they can add glitter and sparkles to jazz up the image. Surendren Apparoo, spokesman for E-manicure Pte. Ltd., acknowledged that similar machines already exist in other countries, including Japan and the United States. But he said they are mostly gimmicks, and that E-Manicure seeks to develop a regional franchise. He