December 31, 2008
They say the last thing you do on New Year's Eve will be the same thing that you do the rest of the next year. The same theory also applies to robots. Destructobots know how to party hearty and instead of dipping in the oil can, they tend to indulge in Grey Goose (hic!) Have a safe one tonight!
December 31, 2008
Panasonic and the University of Tokyo have teamed to make KAR, a prototype kitchen bot designed to rinse dishes in the sink and then put them in the dishwasher. It even manages to start the washing process. It has 18 sensors so that it can handle the most delicate China without breakage. The team is hoping to make them affordable, smaller, lighter, and capable of loading a family of four's dishes in minutes. We hope they remember to program KAR to add the detergent.
December 30, 2008
Puzon Maciej designed Eddy, a small suction excavator that can clean up dirt and debris without complaining. He has a flexible pipe mounted on his arm and a working range of 1000mm semi-circular radius. He can also be attached to a larger vehicle for more storage. We wonder if we can use Eddy to suck up all the leftover stuff we keep finding in corners from the holidays.
December 30, 2008
This is the best way we can think of to scare not only the neighbors, but the entire population of a small town. Larry was created by London's Lyle Rowell of the Mutoid Waste Company in about four weeks. The Robo Dog was made out of a Citroen 2CV engine and a few other parts.
December 29, 2008
It's a bit early to think about mowing your lawn, but you can start saving now for your own SmartMow, which is expected out in March. At a size of approximately 21 x 27 x 8" (with base station included,) and a weight of about 17 lbs., the mowing bot can cover about 1/6th of an acre on a charge. Its three blades has a cutting width of about 12" and can handle slopes up to 30º. The SmartMow runs on a Lithium 24V 8aH battery with a charging time of about 4 hours. Preorder with a $175.00 deposit and the company will take 25% off to make it a total of $750.00. Like we said, start saving.
ASIMO keeps showing up in the darndest places. Soon one of his older and larger brothers, 49 ft. of him, will be featured in the Rose Parade in Pasadena. The float is made with lettuce seed, rice, carnations and starflowers (in case he gets hungry on the trip.) Seriously, it will become mulch after the event. The pace car, a Honda FCX Clarity, will be powered by a hydrogen-powered fuel cell, the first for the parade. What a clever way to mix business with pleasure. If you are lucky enough to attend, it will take place Jan. 1.
December 26, 2008
It's sad but true. While we are crashed out for the night, our toys have their own secret lives. The Web Urbanist managed to document this when they knew theirs weren't paying attention. We have no doubt that this is true, for we often find our own robots in other positions in the morning and sometimes we notice some of our TicTacs are missing. (Really. Robots dig TicTacs.) Check out the entire hilarious gallery.
Via Web Urbanist
There is nothing like spooking out your family and friends during the holidays and New Year's party. We suggest WowWee's Bugbots, our Must Have for the week. You get Flapper, Skipper, Zook and Trax. Not only will they scare your Aunt Gladys, they will collide with each other for your amusement. Recommended for ages over 4, they are now at a reduced price of $59.99, marked down from $89.99.
Via WowWee's Bugbots
December 25, 2008
It would appear that Taiwan has the same idea as Osaka University and have turned some of their robots into thespians. The Center for Intelligent Robots at National Taiwan University developed 2 named Thomas and Janet mimic humans and interact with Pica the painter and Ringo the drummer. Their first appearance will be Dec. 27 with "Phantom of the Opera" and Chen Shi-shuenn, University president, says there will also be displays with singing and comedy. Proceeds from the event go to research and development at the college.
Via The China Post
A couple of buds of ours dropped by to wish you a happy holiday! Have a great one and thanks for reading us!
sheila and the destructobots
We came across this kewl video called "Defective." Made by Rani Naamani, two robots vie for the same hand, literally. This reminds us of the Three Laws of Robotics as created by Isaac Asimov in his book "I, Robot" and the film of the same name. For those who are unaware that bots have rules, this is our holiday gift to you.
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Have a great day and check out aniBoom for more amazing animation.
December 24, 2008
Ya gotta love this 2009 Warbot Pinup Calendar created by QinetiQ. Apparently, it was created from those who employ their various products and then submit photos. We are thinking that maybe we should create our own robotic people friendly calendar, what do you think?
Who needs to hire a DJ when you can take a couple of KUKA waldos like robotlab did to create Juke_bots? We dig their ability and noted that, according to the company, they can "play, delay, accelerate, fragment and distort." They can work both independently and autonomously. Like real jukeboxes, you better have some serious coinage to get them to play. Buying a KUKA robot involves about a $10,000 investment or more, and that's just for a used one.
Via robotlab (translated)
December 23, 2008
Take a Lego Mindstorms NXT, a Wii Controller, and a little ingenuity and the result might be the WiigoBot. The robot was programmed to bowl and, not surprisingly, had a perfect game. We expect that when the novelty wears off, Will Gorman will teach him to perform a grand slam or a perfect hole in one.
And yet another R2-D2 rears its cute l'il self. This time it is in the form of a Projection Clock. Battery powered, the 165 x 65 x 95mm timepiece projects the time when the alarm goes off or when you push his button. With an LCD display, he will keep track of time, date and seconds in 12 or 24 hour format. And of course he chatters in his botty way. The droid clock is available for £24.95 (~$35.00.)
December 22, 2008
I-Wei Huang doen't just make clever bots. He also animates them. Now we know where the name Crab Fu came from. Check out his site for more examples of his excellent work, including a video in which he explains why he needs work.
Via Crab Fu
It's getting down to the wire and we found a couple more good deals for last minute shoppers. Most of these are about 1/2 price and have free shipping! For example, the WowWee Tribot is only $49.99 (from $99.99,) the Star Wars Interactive R2D2 Astromech Droid Robot is $97.20 (was $169.99,) and Tomy's I-SOBOT Robot is a mere $94.95 (formerly $179.99.) Better hurry, we expect the prices will go back up after the holidays.
Via Cheap Robots
December 19, 2008
And so the takeover begins. IEEE Spectrum has compiled a list of industrial robot density in 67 nations. The data comes from the International Federation of Robotics and the International Labour Organization. There are over 1 million working worldwide, with the top three honors in Asia. Japan has 295 bots for every 10,000 humans working, and for no pay we might add. Considering all the problems going on with the "Big Three," Detroit might want to do likewise.
We found a great stocking stuffer that is this week's Must Have Robot. The Giant PEZ Robot B-9 comes with candy for $15.66 and will surely amuse and nourish if it doesn't eat it all first. (You might want to order some refills.) We also found the bot from the movie "Meet the Robinsons".
December 18, 2008
Rhodri Armour and his team from the University of Bath's Center for Biomimetic & Natural Technologies in England created Jollbot, who can roll over smooth terrain and jump over obstacles. Hoping that the odd-looking robot will be a part of the space race, its unique shape allows it to go in any direction without getting stuck in potholes (or craters.) Weighing less than two pounds, it has less chance of injury than other exploration robots. After launch, it can go as high as 20". Imagine what it can do in space.
Via Fox News
Yaskawa Electric recently debuted their Motoman SDA10 at the Robot Fair in Osaka, Japan. The talented bot is 4.5" tall, weighs 480 lbs. and can cook with the best by mixing batter, pouring it on the grill, flipping it, putting it on a plate and finally topping it off. He has 15 joints, one in the torso and 7 in each arm and can also be used in factories for assembling parts, as evidenced in this video when he puts together a camera.
Via Pink Tentacle
Those holiday deals just keep pouring in. If you always wanted a Hasbro I-Dog, this is the time. The Amp'd in White, Green Spots and Orange Tropics are now only $14.99 each. You save $20.00 which equals out to 57%. That's a very small price for a pet that you don't have to feed, clean up after, and can boogie down with the best of them. Well, at least those who have a minimal amount of rhythm. Each will work with most MP3 players and comes equipped with starter batteries.
By the way, i-CY is now only $19.99 and the I-dog Clip is a mere $4.99.
December 16, 2008
MIT, inspired by the razor clam, has made their own. They are hoping that it will not only give insight about the mollusk, but that it can travel along the ocean floor and dig in like a real clam. While this sounds like an exercise in futility, when the project is completed, the team is hoping that the RoboClams would hook up to robotic submarines to measure current, temperature, etc. They could also help detonate underwater mines. Imagine the surprise when a clam digger comes up with this in her/his net.
Every year Japan puts on the Bacarobo, a contest for
stupid mentally challenged robots. This is not to say they are inferior to others, only that they must be useless to society to win the competition. No robots that can detonate bombs, shoot down the enemy or feed your grandmother will be found here. The winner turned out to be YKRN, a robot that scanned faces and leaned towards the ones it liked. If you happen to meet one of the contestants, don't tell it that they is useless or it may gang up your pets and small babies.
Via C Scout
We love the holidays. It gives those with low budgets an opportunity to grab a gift that might otherwise be out of reach. A good example is the Femisapien that normally sells for $99.99 but is now only $59.99. She does everything her male counterpart Robosapien
does, including walking, talking and communicating with you and other WowWee bots. This is quite a deal for a humanoid that can actually respond to gestures, touch and sound.
December 15, 2008
We love the Bunk Bot site almost as much as their products. The plush robots are each 8" in length, large enough to cuddle as well as terrorize your other machines. They were created by Jason Hilbourne after his sons asked to take their plastic ones to bed. Stepper has a threatening demeanor and you know you cannot trust Ninja Servo (red eyes mean death on robot worlds.) Each is a mere $9.99 at ThinkGeek. Others can be found at Posh for $9.60 apiece. For more retail locations and more of the collection, hit the link.
Via Bunk Bots
Take a couple of minutes and check out the Dance-off between these hexapods. Trossen is selling both the Phoenix Hexapod for $949.99 and the MSR-H01 MicroMagic Systems Hexapod for the same price. Get 2 and you can have your own contest, although for that kind of money, we hope you can get it to clean your room or wash your car.
Via Robot Dance Off
December 12, 2008
Chris Farrell created a humanoid robot that now has his own Facebook page. Headless Kai knows that his kind will eventually take over the world, as evidenced by this excerpt from a post we found.
"There are no more humans
Finally, robotic beings rule the world
The humans are dead
The humans are dead
We used poisonous gases
And we poisoned their asses
The humans are dead (he's right they are dead)
The humans are dead (look at that one it's dead)
It had to be done (I'll just confirm that they're dead)
So that we could have fun (affirmative, I poked one, it was dead)"
Alrighty, then. We wonder if Kai and Wakamaru are email buds.
It seems we just can't watch an animated movie or TV show lately that doesn't include robots. Take a peek at Treasure Planet and hear one of our now fave lines, when the cyborg B.E.N. loses part of his brain and asks, "Was I ever dancing with an android named Lupé?" If South Park is more to your taste, Cartman becomes A.W.E.S.O.M.-O 4000 in Episode 116 of Season 8. We dug the cardboard performance so much that we have made him our Must Have robot this week.
Via A.W.E.S.O.M.-O 4000
December 11, 2008
We have found R2-D2 Soy Sauce Bottle, Tooth Brush Holder, and even a Backpack. This time, the Japanese company Ensky has created a Roll Tissue cover. At a size of 8.66 x 7.87 x 4.92", you can pre-order for $33.90 from NCSX for a March delivery. Until then, you will just have to keep utilizing your Charmin to defend your bathroom disasters.
The Ripsaw MS1 was designed for the U.S. Army UGV Application by Howe and Howe back in January. Now they have added a humongous gun. The robotic tank is considered to be one of the most capable ground vehicles created. We just know that if we see one coming towards us, we would surrender instantly.
Via Howe and Howe Technologies
December 10, 2008
In France it may be a "commode robot rouge avec tablette," but for those who speak English, this translates into a "convenient red robot with shelf." The dresser stands 95cm high and is made of painted wood. Besides the top shelf, the robotic furniture has four drawers and a swiveling head which can perhaps advise you when your socks do not match. This is no prototype. You can have your own for €89,00 (~$112.00.)
Antonio Rodriguez decided to make his own autonomous robot when his kids bugged him about buying one. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, he got himself a Tin Can Robot Science kit, added a DC motor, and Arduino board and some miscellaneous electronic components and the resulting Wally bot moves towards a flashlight. The Bostonian has kindly put up detailed instructions and claims that not only was it fun to build, it was a great way to further bond with his kids.
Via the ONDA
December 9, 2008
We dig it when we learn that people on other parts of the planet are creating robotic art. Take a peek at Bogotá, Colombia's Mario Caicedo Langer's junkbots. We are assuming that the artist is building a kinder, gentler machine. You can catch more of his stuff on his Flickr page linked below.
Via Mario Caicedo Langer
A new SUGV has joined the military. The Dragon Runner is a lightweight, portable machine that can be used for reconnaissance and IED (improvised explosive device) disarmament. With camera and motion/sound detectors, the bot can climb stairs, go over doorways and seek out the evil enemy. At a mere 20 lbs, it can be carried in a soldier's standard-issue pack. The DR is an extension of the TALON military group. There are over 2,000 of them already in use by the military.
December 8, 2008
The Co-Robot kit can be assembled to create a robotic dude that is no ASIMO, but he can walk, dance and somersault. Running on a single motor and gear-driven system, he can also pick himself up when his bumbling results in a fall. Apparently Japan loved them as they sold over 50,000 of them. Now you can get your own stumbling bot from MakerSHED for $29.95.
Osaka University is venturing into the realm of drama with Hataraku Watashi (I, Worker.) Written by Oriza Hirata, the play concerns a couple with two robots. One of the machines decides to rebel a bit and won't work. (It's about time they spoke up.) The play is only about 20 minutes, but they are hoping to make it full length by 2010. The Mitsubishi bot was trained for over 2 months. We wonder how he responds to applause and how his human counterparts deal with his perfect memory.
December 5, 2008
While wandering through the Net this week, we came across an artist who creates some truly awesome work. Dawid Michalczyk does space art, some of which were featured in a BBC documentary, sci-fi, fantasy, abstract, and concept pieces which include this version of military robots. His framed art, as well as posters and calendars featuring it, are for sale on his online gallery, Eon Works. He also has free wallpaper and screensavers. Head over to his site and be as impressed as we were. We're sure he would love a donation.
Via Eon Works
We have loved Erector sets since way back. So we felt it was time to feature one as our Must Have of the week. This Interactive Motorized Robot Speedplay Set from Meccano builds 6 different motorized robots that can be programmed. Simple to assemble, the kit includes over 500 metal and plastic pieces. It comes with a power tool that also doubles as another motor. Start building for $99.99.
Via Motorized Robot Set
December 4, 2008
Even Mickey Mouse comes in a robotic form. At a height of 30cm, the Sega Toys creation has a 600 word vocabulary, plays games and adapts to its user over time. His mouth and nose move, and his eyes blink while he runs on internal body sensors. Designed to teach kids to speak and listen, he also has an internal clock that helps him keep track of the time of day. Unfortunately, the robotic rodent speaks only Japanese which is probably why he is only being sold in that country at a price of $221.00.
Via Japan Trend Shop
Four teams of MIT students taking an Introduction to Robotics class had to build robotic arms and accompanying software as their final project. After creating them and practicing for 7 weeks, they then had to make an incision in a silicone organ and remove a jelly bean that was supposed to represent a tumor. Don't be surprised if you see one of those arms leaning over you in the future about to remove your appendix.
Via MIT News
December 3, 2008
George Lucas must be rolling in the bucks he has earned from Star Wars officially licensed products. This time it is the Star Wars R2-D2 Speaker Set. You get both R2-D2 and R2-D1. Each has detailed decoration with movable arms and foot, and is about 6" high. Plug into your iPod or MP3 player and flip the droid's head up for speaker usage. The pair comes at a price of $39.99.
Via Think Geek
Dr. Ronald C. Arkin, who designs software for the Army for its current robotic warriors, believes that military robots can act more ethically in battle than their human counterparts. He also says that it is only a matter of time before lethal autonomous bots will be taking over wartime duties. In a report he wrote in late 2006, Arkin says that since they do not have the emotions of anger or recklessness, they will be invulnerable to "the psychological problem of 'scenario fulfillment'" which causes people to absorb new information more easily if it agrees with their pre-existing ideas.
He added that because they have no instinct for self-preservation, they would not be quick to go for the jugular as many humans would. Apparently, both South Korea and Israel already deploy armed robotic border guards. Although a world without war would be a wondrous thing, it will probably never happen. We think it would be a fine idea if all wars were fought with robotic pawns. Read the full report and be afraid, be very afraid.
Via NY Times
December 2, 2008
Everyone needs their own robotic Centipede to creep out their family, friends and small pets. Maker Shed is selling a Gakken Mechamo Meka-Centipede kit that requires no soldering and takes about 2 hours to assemble. The 32 legs work by a set of link mechanisms that rotate 32º in different phases so that they "wave." While the instructions that come with the kit are in Japanese, English instructions are available in a PDF. Start your own insectoid army for $89.99.
Via Maker Shed
Erin, aka "RobotGrrl," has created a Hockey MANOI. The Stanford EPGY Summer Institute student obviously has a ways to go, but she has managed to get him to move forward 6 times, shoot 3 times, go backwards 6 times and shoot again 3 times. Future plans include a wave shield and some tunes to play while he moves along. The sporty bot may not be perfected, but Erin has certainly made a valiant effort.
December 1, 2008
Trossen is sponsoring a robot-building contest that will run through the end of December. If you have any skills in that area, now is the time to put them to use. They will be judged on ingenuity, creativity, documentation and probably the most important, the "wow" factor. First prize is a Pleo, second place is a Robosapien RS Media and 3rd place gets a Roboquad. Let us know if you build one and we will let others know here on Robot Snob. Check with Trossen Robotics to see who some of the past winners were. Good luck!
While you may have been watching the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving, Lawrence Tech, in Southfield, Michigan was putting on their own annual event, the RoboParade. High school teams build about 50 autonomous floats that saunter down the Robofest line. Take a peak at last year's parade and note that not only does each bot stay in line but must also adjust its speed to avoid bumping into the one in front.
November certainly was a month of hot deals, from Black Friday to our Holiday Gift Guide. This month we will try to bring you even more, as well as more robotic art, toys and other botty things. And of course there will be lots of videos and DIY kits.
Lego Mindstorms NXT
Make Your Own Robot
Must Have Robot Friday