Engineers from the University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Lab have begun a rush job on a service robot designed to look like a humanoid boy that will be unveiled March 2013. To be named Roboy, the 1.2m tall bot will have artificial tendons for smoother actions. He will also have soft skin and his face will be designed after taking a poll helping decide what it should look like. While the project has 15 partners and 40 engineers, the creators are hoping that it can find other backers. A donation of $55,000 means adoption and a logo on Pinocchiobot.
While we understand their zeal in wanting to help the planet with helpers for the infirm and elderly, we have a silly notion that Roboy morally represents a victim of robotic child labor.
You would wonder if this could be successful but it is worth viewing just to see how they pulled it off. A battleship/museum is the hero, saving the planet from evil aliens. Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Rhianna operating the big guns and David Schwimmer for comic relief. CGI runs amok throughout the film where there are plenty of robot weapons and vehicles. The best part, however, is that most of the ammo used to attack are giant pegs and you can play along yelling, "Hit!" every time one meets its mark.
For the past 3 years, 10 teams have been competing in a Robot Rodeo to perform bomb squad chores. Orlando's $250,000 entry into the competition managed to move through a dark building, go over a curb and stairs, shoot water at a targe,t then remove a faux hand grenade. Each team is required to complete the task in less than 35 minutes. The prize for all of this is the honor of hosting the next year's event. Volusia county won this year.
A team at Darwin Aerospace must have been too busy to stop working when they came up with the idea of the Burrito Bomber. The idea here is to order a burrito via an app while your phone sends your location. A burrito is loaded into a Delivery Tube which is flown and dropped to you.
They used a SkyWalker X8 Flying Wing with Ardupilot to navigate. The Burrito gets dropped with the help of a Quantum RTR Bomb System, a 3" diameter mailing tube, and 3D printed parts.The plane works either manually or autonomously. They utilize a Futaba 9C controller and EzUHF transmitter. Full instructions on their site means that you can make your own Burrito Bomber.
Before this, the team concentrated on air and space exploration projects so perhaps this latest one with bring them enough PR to garner them some backing for future ideas. Imagine a fleet of pizza delivery saucers!
Snow has finally arrived here in the Midwest so it is time to drag out your winter duds, including your very own Robot Cap. A one-size-fits-all, it has an Acrylic exterior and a warm, fleece liner in its interior.
For kids, there is also a Robot Cap that includes 3" antennas. It is made of Acrylic, is jacquard knit and needs to be hand washed.
MIT keeps cranking out those robots. This time they have one that can actually fold itself into almost any shape. The Milli-motein is the planet's smallest chain robot that operates under the assumption that a 3D shape can be formed by folding a long chain from subunits. The team does not yet have a perfect set of steps for the bot to follow, but because the experiment has so far proven that they can make an autonomously folding universal device, that certainly gives it merit.
Think of it as a kind of Swiss Army robot. Team member Ara Knaian is much better at describing this than we are.
It seems that even NASA is now hooked on Gangnam and has its own video. Called NASA Johnson Style (named after the Space Center, you pervs.) We don't know where in their budget they got funding to afford it but not only is it worth a viewing, it will certainly give them some well deserved extra PR. While some astronauts and techies have cameos, we are sad to say that although a couple of dummies made the cut to appear, Robonaut 2 did not.
By the way, NASA has also released a video concerning that end of the world that they say will not occur, appropriately titled "Why the World Didn't End Yesterday." If you are one of those that is fretting over it to the point of mania, hunker down with someone you love Friday.
Under the leadership of Ron Arkin, Georgia Tech has been borrowing from the habits of squirrels who seem to be masters at stashing food and keeping other ones from finding their caches. They taught deception to a robot that will give false clues to another one so that it will be unsuccessful when it goes hunting for the first. Future application may be in the military for storage of weapons or in health care with a bot having a calming effect in the face of disaster.
Klarstein's silver Cleanfriend is the UK's entry into the world of domestic vacuums. With a 34cm diameter and a weight of 3kgs, it has five cleaning modes and Intelligent space recognition (that translates into it not falling down stairs or running into walls.) It comes with its own charging base and remote control. It will not do shag carpeting but it will clean your regular carpet, hard wood, and tile. The vacuum is available for £149.90 (~$240.372.)
Last November, Liquid Robotics launched 4 Wave Gliders from San Francisco, CA. After a 9,000 mile trek, two arrived in Japan and two in Australia. One of them, Papa Mua, broke a Guinness World Record for the longest distance traveled by a robot. The project was designed to show how these water bots can gather data and travel at the same time.
A second purpose for the trek is to draw attention to a $50,000 research grant for the roboticist that can come up with the best way to utilize that knowledge. Head over to their site to see what the five finalists have to offer.
A team from the Australian National University is studying the courtship of fiddler crabs and found that a female will select her mate by the movement of the male's enlarged claw. So they set up a series Roboclaws attached to motors of differing sizes and movement speed to study the female crustacean. Because the crabs have very poor eyesight, the claws fooled the females.
The end result? Not only does size matter to the female, she also prefers the claws that move the fastest. Their experiments also give superlative insight into other aspects of the fiddler crabs' life, such as why a larger home makes for a happy bride and why larger crabs will often protect their smaller neighbors.
Provide your kidlet with a Robot Flashlight that is not only safe for those aged 3 years and up, it has bendable limbs to encourage interaction. Made by the good folks at Little Tikes who are famous for their safe and child-friendly products, it has both straight light and blinking mode. An auto shut-off sensor helps conserve the 2 AAA batteries (included.)
If you want a slightly more macho flashlight that saves even more energy, the Lego Dynamo Flashlight is 7.5" tall and has a hand crank that should give you about 5 hours of light. Also poseable, it features 2 white LED lights and rechargeable NiMH batteries.
Germany based ETH Zurich is currently working on its second generations naro-tartaruga, a robotic sea turtle. They have chosen to use this as a model because its rigidity is simpler than a fish. The largeness of the body houses sensors and batteries used to make it autonomous. Its fin actuators work independently of each other and of course the turtle is waterproof. We don't know much about the science but we do know this robotic creature can certainly swim in a very kewl way.
Want to know what Tomotaka Takahashi has been up to for the past year? He has designed a humanoid bot that will be sent to the Kibo Experiment Module in the International Space Station this summer. He stands 13.4" tall and weighs about 2.2 lbs., and comes equipped with a camera and software. While hanging around with human astronauts, he will send back images and deliver Twitter and voice messages to Earth to astronaut Koichi Wakata.
Still awaiting a clever nickname (not to mention something more than a sketch,) the astrobot is also meant to relieve stress and combat the isolation that the those in space sometimes feel. A second model will be kept on our planet for demonstartion purposes.
The Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Tokyo has created the BFS-Auto book scanner. The bot is so fast that it can digitize 250 pages/minute by combining page flipping, 3D recognition of those already flipped with the usage of three cameras and high-accuracy restoration. Book Flipping Scanning can be used by libraries to preserve old tomes as well as saving those that have been damaged.
Disney was one of the first to use automatons, including Country Bears and Presidents of the United States. So, it is not surprising that they are becoming more advanced in their technology. One of their latest is a humanoid bot that can play catch, juggle and look disappointed when there is no one to play with. What started as a project with a Kinect morphed into the robot with an Asus Xtion Pro Live camera for tracking. They took it as far as getting him to turn his head when participating with a human. They also programmed the catchbot to react at a dropped ball. Future plans include supplying one to each Disney park location.