How cool is it that finally Jamie Mantzel is a father? We say extremely as Wow!stuff has launched a toy line of Combat Creatures, based on Mantzel's original giant robot. The 10", 6-legged battlebot Attacknid has a 360º rotating head and comes with weapons that can fire up to 30 ft. away. Included is both Bolt 'N' Battle Combat Armor and a Battle Brain. Hit the brain of a contender three times and you win. While the first batch seems to have sold out you can still pre-order and with luck you can get one for £69.99 (~$112.00) soon, even if you are not a boy.
We haven't heard from Jim Quinlan for a couple of years but it seems he is back at work and recently created Roger, a battle droid garden art sculpture. His body is in a fixed sitting positing but his elbows, wrists, head and shoulders are movable. You can adopt him for $5,500.00, trumpet and butterfly included.
Dr. Guero's Primer-V2 has already learned to ride a bike and walk on stilts, so it's really no surprise that the robotocist taught programmed him to walk a tightrope. His feet have a slit in them for the cord and keeping his balance was a special challenge. The humanoid was built out of a Kondo KHR-3HV hobby kit and while the clever bot may not make it across Niagara Falls, it's still fun to watch him maneuver on that 4mm wire suspended a meter above the floor.
For the last eleven years, kids from the Philippines have competed in the World Robot Olympiad, with this year's occurring November 9 - 11 in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia. One of the stars of the show will undoubtedly be one of their finalists in the Open Category. Hero, based on CNN 2009's Hero of the year Efren Peñaflorida, was built of aluminum and peanut butter jar caps. Over 400 public and private elementary and high schools participate in the yearly event which encourages creativity, critical thinking and ingenuity.
During a trip to Ghana, UC Berkeley Professor Ken Goldberg noticed that students were playing with a Mindstorms NXT for a limited time only as the robot kit was sent from school to school. So he and Ayorkor Korsah organized the AFRON 10 Dollar Robot Challenge, hoping that someone could come up with a less expensive kit.
Although they realize that it may not be feasible to build one at that price, designers are encouraged to try in one of three categories, tethered, traditional and all-in-one. The winners will get a monetary prize as well as one of their $35.00 Raspberry Pi Micro-Computers. The contest ends September 15 so head over to the site for more details.
Robotics used in home maintenance, education, healthcare, entertainment and transportation has just been given a boost by Dmitry Grishin, the cofounder of Russia's internet company Mail.ru. He believes that the current state of the industry is where computers were in the early 80's and has formed Grishin Robotics to encourage the science with a $25 million fund.
With headquarters in New York but funding available internationally, Grishin is planning to donate $500,000 to 10 - 20 companies per year to those with feasible ideas, so devise a business plan and other information to illustrate your project and maybe you can build your own Rosie Robot!
Anthromod wants humanoids to fit into the grand scheme of things by making robotics accessible to all. The first step to get there is the Mark2 Hand, a one piece 3D-printed device that is fully articulated and that works via an arduino, ATX PSU, a polymorph base and several servos. You can purchase one for €100 (~$124.00) or both left and right for €190 (~$236.00.) We don't see overall domination here but we applaud Chris C's effort.
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.
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.
Great news for roboticists who want to help save the planet. DARPA is sponsoring a massive competition with a prize of $2 million going to the winner. Beginning in October, the Robotic Challenge will be looking for autonomous emergency response robots. Entries will compete in physical challenges that involve perception, decision making, use of tools, endurance and other capabilities.
The winner must be able to drive a vehicle across dense terrain, remove debris, climb a ladder and replace a component. It can be humanoid with two arms and legs, a torso and head but non- can be entered as well. An online workshop is being held today for those who want specifics or check here for more information.
It's a bit hard to see (and note the cheesy Benny Hill soundtrack,) but the gist of this video is Kurt Grandis making war with squirrels who kept sneaking onto his bird feeder. Using a Super Soaker, he rigged it to shoot at non-birds or "squirrelness." Guess who wins. Check the link for the entire presentation.
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.
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.
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.