Cover your iPhone 4 with this Robotic Skin Case and screen protector. Take your pick of one of 8 designs. Made of silicone, it has a textured surface and is easy to put on. Access to all ports is still available and the cover is washable.
If you prefer a friendlier bot, the Wall-e Case is made of hard plastic, fits the iPhone 4/4S and is both light and durable. You still have access to buttons, controls and ports and the hard cover protects against chipping, dirt and scratches.
Virginia Tech researchers, in conjunction with other universities, created a robotic jellyfish that can be powered by sea water. Commissioned by the U.S. Navy, the robojelly mimics movements of its living counterpart by allowing water in, closing up to push it back out, resulting in a jet that propels it. Made mostly of silicon, its artificial muscles have a shape-memory alloy that helps it return to its original form. Environmentally friendly, possible usage could be in surveillance and environmental monitoring.
Meet Doug, the latest creation from Ben Heck. He will cheerfully (if you can call a bot cheerful) carry your luggage and follow at your pace within 20 ft. He disables upon being picked up. Learn how to make your own on Ben's site.
Tek RMD has developed a device for those who cannot walk on their own. The Tek carries an individual around upright or in a sitting position. It can be called via remote and the user can strap him/herself in. A joystick is then used for navigation. It will go for about 3 days before needing a charge. Yusuf Akturkoglu, who was paralyzed after a fall 5 years ago, uses the Tek and it made him mobile again. Available in 5 sizes, the Turkish company custom makes them at a cost of ~$15,000.
Check out Harry's Law latest airing as it featured the use of mini-drones to spy on people in the U.S., a topic that we wrote about last month. Anyone who watches primetime knows that writers like to pepper episodes with a smattering of facts tossed in for effect. Catch last nite's episode on NBC's site.
Know someone who is having a baby soon? Start him/her off right with this robotic Security Blanket. Made of Angel Dear's super soft material, the blankie is 13 x 18" and machine washable. And for toddlers, the P'kolino geared Shape Sorter has blocks that drop inside the 3.5 x 7 x 11" jet pack, make a fun clunky noise and slide out the side. Made of wood and acrylic, it is recommended for ages 12 months and up.
It seems that Canon plans to cut production costs by about ¥400 billion (~$4.8 billion) by using robotics. The company will be utilizing them in both their toner department and the assembly line for SLR cameras' lenses. They hope that the move will increase their profit margin over the next few years. Considering that the company is already in the robot building business, it certainly sounds logical. So if you admire and/or purchase one of their cams you can thank the robots for a job well done.
NASA's Mars Rover is en route to the planet and since it hasn't much to do, it has taken up Tweeting. Beginning last November, Curiosity has been sending out a mixture of silliness and relevant facts about itself and the program. Visit its Twitter page if you would like to ask any questions or simply hang out with it as 352 million miles means a lot of spare time.
Piccolo is a mini, open source CNC platform for the masses that will become available later this year at an affordable price. Once assembled, it could become a platform for a regular 2 or 3D printer and several could create a large mural. A prototype is being made that is that is composed of digitally manufactured parts and off-the-shelf hardware. Sign up if you would like to know when the kit becomes available.
Here's a thought. Suppose a wireless network could be set up in areas where the internet and social network access is not allowed so that activists and rebels could let the outside in? Suppose no more. Electronic Countermeasures was created by Liam Young and London based Tomorrow's Thoughts Today.
The idea is that UAVs establish temporary networks literally on the fly. The best part of it all is that they could be utilized wirelessly with mobile devices so that no connection is needed. This pirate interweb could be moved around with autonomous drones wherever and whenever needed. Kudos to the group and others like it that seek the truth and a way to make it public.
Take a robot to lunch with this Stephen Joseph Snack Sac. It is easily cleanable, has a front pocket for extra munchies and an adjustable strap. And for those liquid lunches, this stainless steel Water Bottle is lined and insulated. The thermos is bpv, pvc and phthlate free and has a kid-friendly lid.
The U. S. Navy has been developing a firefighter for its fleet based on Virginia Tech's CHARLI-L1. NRL is in charge of the project that also involves the University of Penn. The Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot will be able to sense a fire with the use of sensors and an IR camera can shoot through smoke. Made autonomous with the assistance of algorithms, it will work in small spaces or on ladderways and be capable of throwing extinguishing grenades at its target. SAFFiR can work for up to 30 minutes per charge and can move in all directions while balancing even in rough seas. Testing should occur onboard the ex-USS Shadwell in September 2013.
Not content to merely be a Jeopardy champ and work with Wellpoint in the heathcare industry, IBM's Watson has now teamed with Citi to tackle banking. They are hoping to use it to improve both the overall business and customers' experiences. This is not the first time the two companies collaborated. In 1954, they used an Electronic Data Processing Machine to cut the time of a cost-benefit analysis from 1,000 to 9 ½ human hours.
Boston Dynamics has come a long ways since Big Dog. Their latest accomplishment is Cheetah, a robotic creature that just broke a speed record at 18 mph, beating out MIT's 13.1 mph made in 1989. Running on a treadmill and powered by a hydraulic pump, the feline bot's movements are based on the real thing and it increases its pace by flexing and unflexing its back with each step. Funded by DARPA and geared eventually for the military, BD is planning on making it free-running and taking it into the real world later this year.
The University of Penn's GRASP Lab continues to make strides with its quadrotors. Presented at the TED2012 Conference, Vijay Kumar and team demonstrated their swarming ability by playing the James Bond theme song. Moving in unison, the nano quads receive a series of waypoints, this time specific keyboard notes or guitar strings. Each autonomously figures how to attend its task without interfering with the others.
Cheer up someone you love with one of these fun botty necklaces. The silver Zad Robot Pendant comes on a 16" chain and can move its arms. On the other hand, Mr. Rusty is made of alloy and rhinestones, can move his limbs and comes on a beaded chain. Either will protect you in your hour of need.
We previously told you about Cornell's
self-replicating robot and now a team headed by Hod Lipson created one that becomes self-aware and teaches itself to move forward. At one point it becomes agitated enough to unplug itself. We cannot begin to fathom all the technology that has gone into this process but if that self-awareness continues, we should all be very, very afraid...
IRobot has plans to reorganize its company into 3 units, home , military and emerging technology robots. The latter includes Ava, which may be closer to the real world than we think. The company finds the telepresence bot that operates with the aid of an iPad can be used in the areas of healthcare, retail and security. Hmmm. We bet it would make a helluva Walmart Greeter.
We find some of the most fascinating projects on Kickstarter. This time it is the Trisolate Society's 3 ft. tall, Armed Spider Robots designed for fighting. Think of it as a cross between laser tag and nerf. An open source program allows them to track, target and attack each other, or you, and when hit, temporarily becomes disabled.
We dig the idea but so far there is no evidence of the project beyond the funding plea (including this clip art.) Development of said program is open to others and if you pledge $3,000, you can get one of your own. If that is too pricey, donate what you can by the end of March.
Ten million viewers have rewatched the trailer for Jimmy Kimmel Live's "Movie the Movie," noteworthy because so many actors were willing to participate, no matter how silly the role. We thought you might like Tom Hanks' Robot Lawyer and Gabby Sidibe's Black Hitler, and hey, our apologies if we don't have enough time to include Matt Damon.
Make recyclable Autobots with the Play-Doh Workshop. Create them as either robots or vehicles to take over the planet. The kit comes with four 2 oz. cans of the compound with several molds, shapers and accessories.
Older builders that like a bit of glitz will enjoy Laser Ventures Robot Laser Pegs. Each one feeds the next piece with a low voltage current so that when an entire bot is fully erected it will light up. There are 6 designs included or create your own and remember to get 3 AA batteries (not included.)
Stefano Marras and Maurizio Porfiri of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University created a robotic fish to study the dynamics of fish schooling. Although the robofish was twice the size of a real Golden shiner, it nonetheless mimicked its movements.
Their work was published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface Feb. 22. They found that the advantages to a new leader were making it easier to access mates while avoiding predators. They also found that the technology could increase competition for mates and food, and perhaps spread disease more often.