May 31, 2012

Roboat AttemptsTo Break Record

The ASV Roboat will be setting sail on July 9. The robotic sailboat created in 2006 will go to the Baltic Sea and have to travel for about 100 hours over 150 nautical miles, breaking the previous record of 78.9 miles. Solar panels control most of the power along with a backup methanol fuel cell. It features multiple sensors, runs by WLAN, UMTS/GPRS and communicates via an IRIDIUM satellite communication system. Roboats builders INNOC sees their vessel being used as an early warning systems for tsunamis, oil spill clean-up and oceanographic measurements.

Via Roboat

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May 30, 2012

DIY iCraft Robotic Arm For Feeding

A Northeastern University team has developed an Eye-Controlled Robotic Arm Feeding Technology that can be manipulated by looking. The iCraft was designed for the disabled or elderly. By looking towards the food desired, the robotic arm will take over. Their prototype was built with about $900 and they have released open source software for those who would like to build their own.

Via Northeastern University

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May 29, 2012

NOA Bots Perform in Sync

It is not enough to see the tune Thriller recreated by Filipino inmates or the occasional flash mob. These NAO robots, built by Aldebaran Robotics and programmed by MIT, use a quorum sensoring system and couple oscillators to synchronize the group. The video is especially eerie when the one out of sync rejoins the others. Imagine the technology being adapted in large factories or forming a robo-army for the eventual takeover.

Via arXiv Blog

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May 28, 2012

Honda UNI-CUB Goes For a Ride

Honda has one-upped themselves with the UNI-CUB, an advanced version of their 2009 U3-X. The battery-powered personal mobility device can move in all directions and is meant to carry one where perhaps Segways cannot. The third wheel aids in better steering and this new version has a soft seat. Starting next month, the UNI-CUB will be taken to Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation for display and testing before unleashing it on the public. We wonder if ASIMO could hitch a ride.

Via Honda

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May 25, 2012

Must Have: DIY Robot Party

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Make your own special occasion with the Robot Party 4M Kit. There are 20 invitations, crafts, games and instructions on building balloon-based robot racers. Thank you cards, cookie cutters and 3D glasses are also included.

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If you prefer to make cupcakes instead of a cake, Meri Meri's Space Cadets Kit comes with 24 liners and toppers in 4 different designs including robots, aliens and space crafts.

Via Robot Parties

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May 24, 2012

Go-Go Dog Pal For Lazy Owners

When a Frisbee or real gopher just won't do, get a Go-Go Dog Pal. This remote control toy lets your dog chase it around the yard until it gets exhausted or so frustrated that it chomps it into pieces. The maker insists that it will keep your pooch active and healthier as it frantically tries to keep up. The Solana Beach, CA based company will send you one for $299.99.

Viia Go-Go Dog Pal

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May 23, 2012

GIA Reflects Human Interaction

Not since the first time we saw the crystal ball image at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland have we seen an image that creeped us out fascinated us this much. Daniel Jay Bertner created this Gestural Interactive Automaton, a projection sphere with a webcam that captures and displays the user's face. It also has three servo-controlled articulating arms. The purpose of the G.I.A. sculpture is to demonstrate the interactions with humans and nons-.

Via Dan Bertner

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May 22, 2012

One-Armed Robotic Juggler

A team at Japan's Chiba University has built a robot arm that can juggle 2 balls. Because it has no shoulder it can only do about 5 repetitions at a time but anyone who has learned the skill will know that the balls have to be watched in the air like this bot does. Then calculations are made with each cycle. The purpose of their experiment is to display "skillful and dynamic human-like motion."

Via ieee Spectrum

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May 21, 2012

Russia 2045 Final Robotic Takeover?

You may not understand the language but it is clear that the team of Russia-2045 is working on an Android torso that can capture the essence of a human. Only in the working stage for now, perhaps it will become a reality by its target 2045 date. The group is also working on a bionic arm that appears to be really natural in its movements. Note that the words "robot" and "android" are the same in both Russian and English.

This second video (in English) shows that the researchers are busily into Nano Bio Info Cogno Genetics Technology and they sure do a mean promotional glimpse of the future. Their civilization paradigm sees humans morphing into the next generation of avatars and cybernetic immortality, aka neo humanity. Yeah, okay.

Via Russia-2045

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May 18, 2012

Must Have: How To Fight Robotic Takeover

Best selling author Daniel H. Wilson is a robotics expert, so who better to let us know how humans can defend themselves against a robotic takeover? The eye-catching video is by Epipheo and the author of Robopocalypse: A Novel adds his expertise on the subject. It is certainly never too soon to plan ahead and keep an eye out for those glowing red eyes.

Via Daniel H. Wilson

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May 17, 2012

First Autonomous Vehicle Goes to Google

Somehow is seems only fitting that a techno-rich company receive the first self-driving car in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company says that it has already completed over 200,000 hours of computer led-driving with its Prius. In the video, Santa Clara Valley Blind Center head Steve Mahan takes it through its paces.

The license plate itself is red, features AU (for autonomous) and the infinity symbol. The cars are still in the testing stage, however we expect that as other car companies get involved it won't be long before the streets are filled with automated road rage.

Via Nevada DMV

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May 16, 2012

COCOROBO Responds to Voices

Sharp has finally jumped on the robotic vacuum cleaner bandwagon with its state of the art COCOROBO RX-V100 and RX-V80. Available in June at prices of $1,600 and $1,100 respectively, both models feature ION technology as well as their artificially intelligent Cocoro engine. Good on both hard floor and carpet, the device can connect to a WiFi network and software will become available for remote instructions. Best of all, the RX-V100 is voice controlled. Run, COCO, run.

Via Robot Buying Guide

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May 15, 2012

Japanese Scientists Manipulate Shiri

Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications built Shiri, which literally means buttocks in Japanese. It difficult not to make wise cracks here so we will let them explain it:

"Shiri" is a buttocks humanoid robot that expresses various emotions with organic movement of the artificial muscles.

Example emotions such as "Tension", "Twitch" and "Protrusion" in attempt to express emotions on buttocks were added to SHIRI.

This project has two main points, one is the innovative use of robotics technology and its purpose. And second is to raise the argument as to what perceptions will be manifested in the minds of people who communicate with SHIRI.

Hmm. If you can make it through all 3 minutes and 51 seconds of the video, then you are surely one of those that agrees with New Zealand researchers Ian Yeoman and Michelle Mars that robot hookers will arrive by 2050.

Via Blame it on the Voices

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May 14, 2012

Lomas Finishes London Marathon With ReWalk

The amazing Claire Lomas finished the London Marathon in 16 days with the aid of a bionic suit made by ReWalk. The $69,000 FDA-approved motorized skeleton helped her by correcting shifts in her balance.

In 2007, Lomas broke her neck, back and ribs and punctured a lung after being thrown from a horse. She will receive a special cup for her participation because she didn't qualify for a medal since she didn't finish the walk in one day.

The courageous marathoner has already raised about £80,000 (~$128,000) for Spinal Research, an organization that funds research and treatments for back and neck paralysis. Although she says she is just glad to have earned the money, a campaign is already underway to see that she is properly awarded for her performance and several other runners donated their medals to her.

Via Telegraph

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May 11, 2012

Must Have: Robot Accessories

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The Whimsical Ceiling Fan Light Pull is 2" in length and attached to a 16", 18k-gold plated chain and connector. It can be used with an indoor fan or hanging lamp.

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The One Hundred 80 Degrees Robot Alarm Clock comes in 6 assorted styles and is made of plastic. Each is 5.75", is LED lit and runs on batteries (not included.) A great gift for robot fans who are reticent to rise in the morning.

Via Robot Accessories

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May 10, 2012

Ecobot Decomposes After Gig Ends

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Imagine having a robot that would decompose once it finishes its task. The University of Bristol, UK is working on a £200,000 research grant to do just that. While most outdated or overused bots will tend to resemble Wall-E.
Ecobot will be made of plant textiles and bioplastics that can be digested by organisms. Dr. Jonathan Rossiter, head of the team, claims that, "Once a biodegradable robot has reached the end of its mission, for example having performed some environmental cleanup activity following an oil spill, it will decompose into harmless material."

We could see these environmentally friendly robots hanging out in disaster areas or getting a one-way ticket to a planet far, far away.

Via University of Bristol

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May 9, 2012

The Smartest Machine on Earth

We happily brag about the exploits of Watson, IBM's super computer, when he won on Jeopardy and was loaned to the University of Maryland to attend Med School. Now we found a Nova Episode called "The Smartest Machine on Earth" recently run on PBS. Featured prominently is Watson, with a behind-the-scenes look at how the 'puter became a champ. Hit the link to see the entire episode. Pay special attention to the scenes that show comedian Todd Crain prepping Watson for the big event and actually harassing him.

Via PBS

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May 8, 2012

Micro Air Vehicle Perfects Landing

A group from the University of Illinois developed an avian MAV that can land on a human's hand. The autonomous bot has undergone test flights that demonstrates its two phases. First it flies while maneuvering with articulated wings then it pitches up and slows down before landing. Still in the early stages, the team plans to continue to fine tune their project in the future.

Via Spectrum ieee

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May 7, 2012

Titan The Robot May Carry Olympic Torch

Titan the Robot has been around for several years singing, dancing and performing assorted schtik. Created by Cyberstein Robots in 2004, Titan stands 7' 3" and has gone through 5 different metamorphoses. The company's long term goal is to create a fully autonomous version.

We have to give Cyberstein credit for being able pique everyone's interest enough to get him booked at such events as the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, the UK premiere of both iRobot and Real Steel, and on the UK version of Big Brother. Look for the possibility of Titan being one of the Torch bearers at the 2012 Olympics this summer in London.

While we were searching for appropriate video, we also came across the pseudo King Robota, an extreme disc jockey also available for parties who seems to do his best work at car shows. Maybe we can get them to participate in a Real Steel Match!

(Thanks, Mark)

Via Titan The Robot

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May 4, 2012

Must Have: Star Wars Xbox 360 Bundle

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If you could take a much-beloved movie robot and commercialize the heck out of it, how would you do it? Well, you could turn it into a Limited Edition Star Wars Xbox 360 Bundle. Add to it custom R2-D2 sounds and the game Star Wars with C-3PO as an unlockable character in Dance mode. Also included is the Adventures game, 320GB hard drive, a wired headset, controller and the first white sensor. May the gaming force be with you.

Via Xbox 360 Bundles

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May 3, 2012

Maker Faire to Feature Robot Petting Zoo

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Those who attend the Maker Faire next month in San Mateo, CA or Queens, New York in September will be treated to a Robot Petting Zoo. The brains behind the attraction are those from Makerbot Industries who created the Replicator 3D printer. They even utilized one to help build parts for the zoo with the results being a collection of bots that perform different actions.

For example, push Button Bot in one of several areas and he may amuse both kids and adults. Tickets for the events can be purchased online for $40.00 per adult, $20.00 for students.

Via CNET

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May 2, 2012

Compass Controls Human's Movements

Liverpool recently hosted the Robots and Avatars Exhibition that featured various ideas including Compass, a robotic device that controls where a person can walk. Guided by a magnetic field and torque controlled by heavy weights that can pull the user in alternate directions, BBC Reporter Spencer Kelly seems a bit intimidated by the device. The exhibit is now touring Romania, Slovania, France and the Asian Pacific for the next two years. Here's hoping that they can be persuaded to bring it U.S. as well.

Via BBC

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May 1, 2012

Robot Snob Monthly Roundup - April 2012

robotflower.pngApril showers brought May flowers that even robots appreciate. Check out our monthly roundup for last month.

Autonomous Robots

Humanoid Robots

Make Your Own Robot

Military Robots

Miscellaneous Robots

Monthly Roundup

Must Have Robot Friday

Robot Art

Robot Music

Robot Science/Medicine

Robot Toys

Robot Vehicles

Robot Videos

Service Robots

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Planetary's Asteroid Mining Plan

Planetary Resources has great plans to mine asteroids for both precious metals and water and we are not surprised that filmmaker James Cameron is getting involved. The group of celestial miners include engineers, former NASA astronauts and other techies. They plan to send unmanned spacecrafts with telescopes to start. Smaller ones can be dragged closer to earth and robot miners will be dispatched to the larger ones.

While this will undoubtedly be a pricey project, Planetary plans to make some of that telescope observation time accessible to the little people. Another plus is helping to save Earth's environment and if we go in search of asteroids, there should be a lot less odds of them damaging us. The first phase involves sending an Arkyd Series 100 Leo space telescope up within the next two years for observation. Mining may be reachable within the next decade.

Via Planetary Resources


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