The new Yotel in New York has employed a 20 ft. tall robotic arm to pick up luggage and place it in guest lockers. Each "cabin" is a mere 170 square feet with a desk that doubles as a nightstand and a communal kitchen that each floor shares. The Yotel is very affordable at about $200 per night and offers free WiFi, local calls, and morning muffins and coffee. By the way, tipping the Yobot is unnecessary.
It seems that a robot developed by Chiba Institute and a Honeywell T-Hawk drone helicopter have failed in their efforts at the still crippled nuclear power plant in Japan. The first bot was sent into Unit 2 to set up a gauge for measuring contamination, got stuck in a staircase landing and couldn't release the gauge properly. The drone sent to sample radiation suffered an engine malfunction and had to land on the roof. Hopefully, future efforts will be more successful.
The IASG at Technische Universität München in Germany have created TUM-James and TUM-Rosie, who can shop, then cook and serve. Utilizing PR2s, the bots even learn from their mistakes when preparing breakfast. Check out the video that shows them in action and try to ignore the somewhat silly background music.
At a speech made at Carnegie Mellon last week, Prez Obama applauded their efforts in advanced research and pledged for government assistance with AMP, an advanced manufacturing program between R&D and businesses. During his speech he commented, "One of my responsibilities as commander-in-chief is to keep an eye on robots. I'm pleased to report that the robots you manufacture here are peaceful, at least for now."
During his visit, he was shown some mini-bots that were used to explore pipes, and those that can mow lawns, scrape paint and defuse bombs. Seems almost an oxymoron to create robots who will eventually replace workers unless you consider that most will be doing those nasty jobs that are hazardous to humans. Hit the link to view his entire speech.
It didn't take long for the Google Android to appear in windup form. Now you can get a 3-pack in green, red and black to keep others at home or work annoyed. And if you prefer your Android in the dark, this Andrew Bell designed Key Chain will light up your nights (and help you find your keys.)
With partial support from a Leverhulme Trust, artist Patrick Tresset shows this robotic arm how to sketch. After "studying" the human, the artbot performs some of his own artwork. Working with Professor Frederic Fol Leymarie, the AIKON-II project (named Paul) will be working towards teaching it how to create its own style. While that idea seems a bit far-fetched, you just never know. We hope that style doesn't include sketching hordes of evil robot takeovers.
When The Atlantis makes its final flight July 8, it will be carrying a Robotic Refueling Mission along to determine the best way to refuel satellites in space. After Dextre attaches to the exterior of the ISS, the remote controlled filler-up-bot will practice by unsealing them, transferring fluid and resealing them for future use. They are hoping for it to be able to do repairs as well. If the 12 day RRM is successful, NASA is planning to literally seal the deal by 2013.
We don't know how we missed this one, but it seems that Tim Pryde's final project for the University of Dundee is Don-8r (Donator.) He was designed to panhandle to support the venture and help to provide funding to the Dundee Science Center. From the looks of the vidder, no one can resist the little beggar.
Joe Tucker, who lost part of his leg in a motorcycle accident in 1995, is the proud recipient of a $95,000 waterproof, bionic replacement. Although he has tried 6 other legs, he claims that this is the first one to make him feel "able-bodied" again. The battery powered prosthetic, known as a Genium, contains a sensory system to help the human walk easily, avoid obstacles and climb stairs. Unsurprisingly, the German firm Otto Bock built the leg in cooperation with the US military and Joe is one of the first civilians to receive one.
Bubbles can be much more fun when they come in robots! This gift pack of Robot Bubbles contains 24 plastic bottles with .7 oz of liquid and wands, enough to make any botty party gleeful. And if the party moves to the tub or pool, there are a dozen rubber Robot Duckies. Each is 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 x 2" and can squirt water in a liquid free-for-all.
We told you some time ago about the FitBot that was designed for men to shop online at Fits.me. Now there is a female version as well. Shoppers enter their measurements and see photos of mannequins in their own shapes and sizes. Hoping to make up for the lack of dressing rooms at online stores, the FitBot can adjust to about 85% of all women. It was created with scientific algorithms based on 3D body scans.
Steven Hall and Randy Price of the LSU AgCenter have found an answer to the question, how do you keep predator birds away from growing catfish and crawfish in ponds? The answer is Scarebot, a robotic boat that is solar powered and tools around about 5 - 7 mph. When its IR sensor knows a bird is nearing, it triggers a water canon to chase it away.
The bot recently gained attention from John Cole of Tennessee's Mt. Pelia Innovative Solutions who sees the Scarebot as a good thing and will help fund its production.
Taptic Toy developed and displayed their Xachi at last year's American International Toy Fair and are finally getting around to sending it out to play. Soon you will be able to download the app on your iPhone and meter the little guy's hunger, thirst, health and happiness. You can interact with him and play games, and if you pet him, he purrs, sort of. With glowing eyes and a squeaking voice box, the modernized Furby can dance up a storm. Sign up to be notified of his arrival.
The Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense has created a spherical flying bot that can fly at a speed of up to 40 mph and hover if need be. Not only is the spybot multi-talented, should it run into a wall, obstacle or human, it will roll to prevent damage. About the size of a soccer ball, it navigates via a single propeller and can be adapted to carry a camera. Each goes for about $1,000 and is only available in Japan for now.
Robot Snob continues to seek out the most obscure trinkets for lovers of all things robotic and this week we found some frosted
Robot Suckers. You get one dozen 4" lollies that come in various fruit flavors and designs. All are fat free.
And if you need something to keep them in, what could be better than the Rosie Cookie Jar? Fully licensed, the ceramic Jetson maid doesn't beep but will certainly cheer up your kitchen counter.
Tomotaka Takahashi of Robo-Garage is helping to design a 30 - 40cm humanoid to be unveiled February 2012 and sent into space in 2014. To get things started, the Kibo (which means hope in Japanese) Robot Project has its own website where ordinary humans can submit audio recordings and Tweets with ideas for what he should be named and what he should say once he has been sent to the ISS.
We've come a long ways since the days of the iDog. Wappy Dog is controlled via a Nintendo DS game with its purpose being that you actually raise a puppy to a grown dog. After naming, you teach it with games and tricks and speak to it through the game. He responds by barking and moving.
Here comes the hitch. The owner/trainer must pet the dog to accumulate points and must keep at it to develop it fully. So kids/adults who ignore their pet will end up with a very unhappy and underdeveloped Wappy. A Travel Mode is included so that you can keep training on the fly. Look for this to be a hot one this holiday season if the price is right.
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" arrives June 29 and although the silly plot concerns the past space race between the US and Russia, those who go for the action will love the effects when Shockwave joins up with the Decepticons to fight the usual Autobots. This one is in 3D and Shia LaBeof returns as Sam, while Rosie Huntington-Whitely plays love interest Carly.
Recently the Dance Liberation Front was arrested at Washington D.C.'s Jefferson Memorial after they were protesting a judge's ruling that said that dance was not considered freedom of speech. As a response, the DLF has called for this Saturday in NYC to be "Do the Robot" Day.
Imitate a robot, dress like one or bring one with you to show your support for the troop who is only trying to prove, in their words, "It is an affront to the very core of America's right to free expression. Not only that, we believe that dancing people are happy people and happy people are part of the solution, not part of the problem. We believe in the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And what is happiness if not dancing?"
While details have yet to be finalized, the DLF is trying to secure permits for the 3:00 p.m. event. Should you want to get in on the action, feel free to stage your own event.
With Father's Day coming this month, why not give the man in your life a Return of Frankenbot Gift Basket. Inside is a Perkins Designs 15 oz mug, 4 coasters, some biscotti and 5 types of gourmet coffee. The set comes boxed in their signature Black Planet box.
Janna Salak designed this Robot Gift Basket that contains the same, a 15 oz. mug,, biscotti, coasters and gourmet coffee. Both contain French Vanilla, Kenya AA, Decaf Colombian Supremo, Chocolate and Italian Roast Espresso.
A team from Cornell led by Ashutosh Saxena managed to program a robot to find shoes. The software contains an FECCM algorithm and data with characteristics of the footwear and the searchbot is trained to look for places, such as under a bed or sofa, that they might be hidden. The bot can also grasp the object without damaging it. It can be retrained to find other objects, so maybe it can discover socks that get eaten in the washing machine.
The University of Chicago recently completed work on an $81 million Joe and Rita Mansueto Library. The five story underground building houses all their books and keeps them preserved. A human opens one of 35,000 metal bins, then one of five robot cranes takes the tome chosen by bar code to the surface to be read in the Grand Reading Room.