June 3, 2009
Waseda University researchers have created Kobian, a Kyushu based robot that can express emotions. The bot can walk around, is aware of its environment and can perform tasks. He can show seven different feelings such as surprise, sadness and dislike and poses to match the mood as well as moving his facial features. The team claims that its expressiveness makes for better interaction and they may put him to work in nursing.
Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author and computer scientist, considers himself a futurist. He says that computer intelligence is progressing at such a rapid rate that soon they will be as intelligent as we are.
Kurzweil also is into what he refers to as "The Singularity," the next leap to humankind. He believes that people will merge with technology somewhere around 2045 and is trying to "reprogram" his body with a strict diet and 150 supplements so that he will be ready to accept microscopic nanobots. We are not sure we would agree with all that he says, still it might be worthwhile to check out some of his books to be on the safe side.
Via Newsweek and Ray Kurzweil books
April 20, 2009
By the year 2020, Japan plans to send astronauts and a two-legged robot to walk on the moon. Specifics will be project should become finalized within the next 2 years. We wouldn't be surprised if they sent an entire group up there to build a botty colony. The country also wants to promote research that involves military satellites, such as a ballistic missile warning system.
Via The Raw Feed
April 15, 2009
Why is it that every time we see a sub-adult humanoid robot it creeps us out? Is it unnatural? Or do those who are making them have a different point of view? Either way, this CB2, a 4' 4" toddler is being programmed to think like a baby and takes note of its mother's facial expressions and categorizes them. Made with rubbery skin, it has 197 pressure sensors to recognize human touch. After 2 years, it taught itself to walk with human aid and 51 "muscles." Eventually, the Japanese Society of Baby Science believes that a "robo species" will be developed with learning abilities somewhere between humans and primates. Our guess is that it will still creep us out.
April 8, 2009
Honda Research Institute has developed a BMI for robots. This particular interface allows researchers to control ASIMO via a sensor cap and his brain. The company worked in conjunction with Advanced Telecommunications Research (ATR) and Shimadzu Corporation to make the technology possible. Honda claims that it has 90% accuracy without any specialized training. This will certainly come in handy should all the evil scientists in the world finally decide it's time to take over the planet.
Via Akihabara News
April 2, 2009
Now you can have an ASIMO for your very own. The 6", 1/8 scale action figure performs nearly all of the feats of his larger humanoid counterpart with 26 - 34º of joint freedom. Although he retails for about $20.00 in a Science Museum Gift Shop in Japan, we notice that by the time he makes it to eBay, he costs considerably more than that.
Via Robot Watch (translated)
March 30, 2009
When Japan's Fashion Week opened last week, the first model to make it to the catwalk was a nude robot. Used to demonstrate the economic crisis in that country, designers have chosen to make clothes for "real people" as opposed to haute couture. We were thinking that they should skip the high-priced models altogether. You certainly wouldn't have to worry about a robot suffering from bulimia.
March 19, 2009
Saya was originally created by Hiroshi Kobayashi at the University of Tokyo as a service bot that could replace workers such as secretaries. It took about 15 years for him and his team to develop the humanoid bot that is now being tested as a teacher. Saya can speak different languages, perform roll call, set tasks and makes facial expressions, including anger, while doing so. We wonder how long she can perform before some nasty kid shoots a spit wad at her.
March 5, 2009
With all the advanced bots out there, we were pleased to find a simple kit that can make some retro ones, including two humanoids that can pull sentry duty, a truck and a spider. The kit comes with a circuit board, lights, battery holder and connector, buzzer, and 32 page guide. You (or your kids) provide the energy and batteries. Recommended for ages 9 - 12.
Via The Robot Kit
March 2, 2009
Oboe doesn't play music, but instead was designed to absorb knowledge from the elderly before they literally leave the planet. With their stories intact, designer Arnaud Deloustal claims that their "essence" lives on. We could see this becoming a viable product, a sort of robotic family tree, as long as the Oboes don't use the information to take over humans.