If you need someone to nag you to get back into shape, Autom is now available for the masses. A $195.00 down payment gets you the personal coach for 10% off the annual price and 6 free months of subscription service. That may seem pricey but think of it as a replacement for that third daily Big Mac. A companion book with special diet tips is also available to get you started.
Check out where Evolta's Spokesbot has come from and where he is going in the World Challenge IV 2011. October 23, the little green guy will take place in a week long Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. The humans only get a day but the trio of competitiors will swim for 2.4 miles, ride a bike 112 miles, then run 26.2 miles. During that time, they will only stop for feeding recharging their nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable batteries.
The IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems takes place in San Francisco from September 25th - 30th. Tickets are still being sold for the 50th anniversary event that will feature robots from all over the planet and includes workshops, tours, and forums. Look for exhibits from Willow Garage, DARPA, iCub and many other robotics companies. Registration for the IROS includes almost everything, from the conference attendance to receptions to the special events.
Chyi-Yeu Lin and team from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei created an eerie head that photographs a musical score with her camera/eyes, interprets the pitch, rhythm and lyrics from an algorithm, then turns it into her version of music via synthesizer. Designed to someday be a restaurant receptionist, they need to perfect a creepy body to go with that head.
Watch out sports fans, there's some new competition in town. DARwin-OP (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence--Open Platform) stands a mere 18" and weighs only 2.9kg, but is truly endearing. He performs a kick the can routine with some Takate beer that shows he may have a future in soccer, even at a cost of $12,000.
Mex-One is entering its final phase of its metamorphosis. It is a humanoid that not only can walk and memorize information, it is considered a social robot and can learn by experience. Head of its team Eduardo Bayro, claiims that they will have "sub-products with practical ends in such fields as medicine and culture." This means that it has open architecture for developing new algorithms, ideas and applications such as intelligent limbs for the disabled. The total cost is about $100,000 with that price halved by ordering a replica that can be used as a hospital assistant or museum guide.
Showa University, home to the dental assistant Hanako, has improved on its original in order to make it more realistic and simpler to use. Number 2 has a silicone skin and mouth lining by doll manufacturer Orient Industry, tongue and arms with 2º of freedom and more natural movements.
Hanako 2 can blink, roll her eyes, cough, choke and complain when her mouth is open too long. Showa feels that making Hanako 2 more human friendly makes the dental student more aware of treatment and will make him/her more cautious.
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.
Sarcos, unlike most humanoid robots, has two legs that can freely move and will remain upright even with interference because of hydraulic actuators. Ben Stephens of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute is in charge of the team that taught the bot to dance by human motion capture programmed into it. Sarcos constantly adjusts his balance even when Stephens gives it a friendly shove.
We have to admit that the French Reeti is more face-friendly than most of the humanistic bots around today and probably more utile. He talks, moves his face features, houses a media center PC and reacts to your touch with sensors. The quirky bot was built for teaching and/or amusement and can be run on an iPad/iPod app.