I remember being jealous as a kid that my brother had an Erector set and I didn't because my father decided girls shouldn't play with them. So not only is it kewl to see them still around, it is really fine that there is a kit that does robots. The Erector Robot's included power tool becomes a motor to run each and pre-programmed sounds and movements are included. The company promises that their Speed Play construction makes for a simpler, quicker assembly.
Take a look at an up and coming robot artist Meg (aka Gee) and her customizable Gee-bot Pendants. The images are a bit fuzzy but the heart is in the right place, so special order one for yourself or a loved one. Visit them at Etsy or on Facebook. By the way, the profits go to her chinchilla/wildlife rescue center so she is more than alright to us.
You have to love Robotime's latest wooden Dinosaur Kit. You put it together and when it is complete it moves by RC and roars, leaving any small pet quaking in its path. The triceratops snaps together so no gluing or solder is needed. Other dinosaur kits are also available.
Students at the Olin College of engineering came up with a robot that can pick a lock. Designed to break Master Locks, the user puts in as much of the combination as it can (or none of it) and LockCracker does the rest. It also displays the number, further humiliating the human. Built as a class project, Team JARJ has no future plans for the bot but we can see them creating something that can open locked cars or find safe combinations.
Last Thursday, February 24, the first robot marathon began in Western Japan. Organized by robot technology firm Vstone Co., in cooperation with Osaka, five 2-legged bots had to complete 422 laps around a 110-yard indoor track. That equals out to 26 miles. The "Robo Mara Full" race found the winner to be Vstone's "Robovie-PC" on the 27th, the first day of the human Tokyo marathon. He completed his walk in 54 hours, 57 minutes and 50.26 seconds. The group is hoping that the event will go worldwide yearly, but we think it might be a good idea to get them outside first.
Invest in an iRobot Create and a netbook that can Skype and you can get a telepresence robot for about $500.00. Google employee Johnny Chung Lee has previously worked on the Kinect so the dude knows what he is doing. He has posted instructions as well as VideoChatRobot software for downloading, so maybe you can get your own bot for fetching scones.
Lego has entered the realm of Ninjago with its new Ice Dragon Attack Set. With a Krazi skeleton figure, the 11" long Dragon can spit iceballs, move its legs and tail and has bendable/folding wings. A total of 158 pieces includes 2 minifigures, ice shurikens and two weapons.
We spotted another Kinect controlled humanoid. Asura Engineering's Wataru Yoshizaki has designed software so that a HPI GR-001 is controlled by its human. This guy works by click and drag control of a 3D model and a camera can be added for a first person perspective. It keeps its balance by finding the bot's center of gravity
What do bored MIT students do when a HFCS craving strikes? They create a robot that sprays ketchup. Here's hoping that Bill Fienup and Barry Kudrowitz can teach the Heinz Automato to actually hit the area of the bun that counts.
This is the last week to make a name for yourself and some cash from Willow
Garage. Combine 3D sensor technology and their open source ROS system and make a video to show your stuff. You can send in as many entries as you like and the judging will be based on "taste," originality and documentation. Hit the link for more rules and ideas. Good luck!