Joey Daoud, director of the film Bots High, has announced that there will be a free screening day, so although it is not until October 6, mark your calendar now to attend. As we previously mentioned, the story concerns 3 teams of students who are heading to a national robotics competition. There are 22 screenings planned so far and you can suggest a location or hold your own by gathering a group of 25 and then contacting Daoud.
Microsoft released Kinect SDK a while back and now they are giving the free gift of Kinect Service for RDS to developers. They are hoping that robots will make veritable leaps and bounds, so put your skills to work and do some bottin'! Look for updates in the fall and contact them when you have the next best bot.
We always like finding stuff from OWI as their kits make it simple for kids of all ages to build their products. This time we found a 3-in-1 ATR that can act as a forklift, rover and gripper. A wired controller allows the All Terrain Robot to go forward, backwards, turn and operate with a maximum lift of 200 gm. The ATR needs 4 AA batteries, not included.
The Lego Pancake Bot is a work in progress, designed to make pancakes in shapes. Two empty ketchup bottles serve as dispensers on an aluminum protected track and a three axis Computer Numerical Control handles the movement with Python NXT, a scripting language for Lego projects. (He needs a Barrett WAM robotic arm to turn it over!) Mexican Viking (Miguel Valenzuela) has kindly provided his instructions for wannabe robot chefs.
Cornell has set a new record with their Ranger robot. The walker, built and programmed in the Biorobotics and Locomotion lab headed by Andy Ruina, walked 40.5 miles on a single battery charge. The entire trek took 30 hours, 49 minutes and 2 seconds as it managed 307.75 laps at a shuffling 1.3 mph. While Ranger never complained, we bet the team behind him were certainly exhausted after the walk.
Carnegie Mellon University developed a robot to keep tech-savvy students constantly interested and came up with Finch, a white, plastic 2-wheeled bot that resembles a bird. At a price of only $99.00 (with discounts for ordering in quantity,) young scientists can program it to speak, dance and even draw pictures. He has a 3-axis accelerometer, temperature, bump and light sensors, LED lights and speakers.
The eventual goal is to allow every student to adopt one and take it home for assignments. The company BirdBrain Technologies produces and sells Finch and has developed lesson plans for teachers as well as giving them the option of uploading their own ideas. Classroom testing has been tried in high school, university and after school programs.
Create your own magnetic action robots with Mudpuppy's Robot Kit. There are three sheets with body parts, clothing, accessories and 2-sided cards for backgrounds that come from the creative Pablo Bernasconi. This kit is not for small children, more for those who like decorating their fridges or water coolers at work.
If you are old enough to remember Peggy Lee's "I'm a woman, W-O-M-A-N" it looks like Rollin' Justin is in competition as he can catch up to 2 random balls in the a.m. and whip up some coffee in the p.m. Controlled with an iPad, his catch rate is about 80% as he notes the ball's direction and trajectory with cameras and software. The Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics has precision grasping that ensures that his hand is in the right place at the right time. Justin can handle a hardball as well as a lightweight paper cup when making coffee with a pre-packaged machine.
Anyone who has ever seen a Black Eyed Peas performance knows that will.i.am. is into robotics and he took on Dean Kamen, creator of the Segway, last week during the F.I.R.S.T. 2011 competition. The organization (which stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology") was founded by Kamen in 1989.
Acting as honorary coaches, Kamen backed team 2859 from McLean, VA, and will.i.am was behind team 3509 from Folsom, Calif. (nicknamed "The Dirty Bots" in his honor.) The singer's team beat the inventor's with a score of 73 - 9.
The Boy Scouts of America has about 120 badges in its catalogue and over time removes some that are no longer current (not much need for blacksmithing these days.) One released this week is an award for robotics that requires the scout to design and build a bot and conquer the areas of movement, programming and sensors. The optimistic officials expect about 10,000 Scouts to earn the new badge this year that features NASA's Mars rover.