October 21, 2008

Yorgoroza-V Emulates Michael Jackson

At the recent ROBO-ONE 14 competition in Japan, Yorgoroza-V demonstrated his dancing skill. Described as a Michael Jackson clone, the bot stands 40cm tall and weighs 2.9kg. The bot can not only dance, he participates in robotic fighting events. We are impressed with his skills, but we think the real Jackson would have been able to stay on the stage a little better.

Via Robot-Dreams

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 15, 2008

Flyborgs Direct RC Cars

Roboticists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have developed a system that allows a fruit fly to almost drive a remote controlled car. We didn't believe it a first either but it seems that the little bugger is tethered to a rod with an LED display around it. Images from a camera mounted on the car are transmitted to the screen. Although it cannot actually move, the flyborg thinks that it can while in the simulator.

Via New Scientist

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October 9, 2008

Carnegie Mellon Robot Improv


Robotics has come a long way. The Toy Robots Initiative was established in January 1999. While it is no longer active, it was meant to make a closer relationship between robots and humans via education, toys, entertainment and art. Located at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, one of its projects was Robot Improv.

This involved two bots in a short skit, with one trying to leave the room and the other trying to get it to stay. Each of them had a goal, location knowledge, and an internal emotional model. There was no pre-determined script! They only worked with sets of actions and dialog that the robotic actors, named after Sesame St. characters, chose from. We know it sounds a tad far-fetched, but you can see samples of their scripts that include lines like:

"With my sonars, I can almost see this painting. or window. or whatever it is. Curse these sensors." and "But you have to stay! I'm pregnant. Again!"

Via Robot Improv

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October 6, 2008

BR23C Based on Bee Behavior


Nissan has been working with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at Japan's University of Tokyo and the two have come up with the BR23C (Biomimetic Car Robot Drive) as a way of developing crash prevention technology. Based on the movements of bees, the vehicle works on a "safety shield" concept.

According to engineer Toshiyuki Andou, "The split second it detects an obstacle, the car robot will mimic the movements of a bee and instantly change direction by turning its wheels at right angles or greater to avoid a collision."

Nissan is hoping to incorporate the tech into its cars by 2015.

Via Nissan

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September 29, 2008

Autonomous Wheelchair Works by Voice Command

autonomous wheelchair.jpg

MIT is working on an autonomous wheelchair that will memorize locations by WiFi in a building, then go to it by verbal command. Funded by Nokia and Microsoft, the system learns and adapts to the user so that each wheelchair is personalized. The chair is first taken on a "guided tour" of the facility for the first time with certain sites, such as "my room," "cafeteria," etc. The user need only say, "Take me to my room" and it will do so. Already being tested in the Boston Home in Dorchester, the team would like to add such features in the future as collision avoidance and mechanical arms to assist the users.


Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 25, 2008

Aquaman Not So Far Away


Peter Neuhaus and Jerry Pratt have gotten a team together at the University of West Florida's Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. They came up with PISCES (Performance Improving Self Contained Exoskeleton) that should put even Michael Phelps to shame. They borrowed swimming movements of sea turtles, dolphins, and penguins to create the lower body concept that can be operated hands-free at a speed of 1m/sec. using silver-zinc batteries.

Via Wired

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September 22, 2008

e-Juba Delivers in Africa

The south African National Health Laboratory Service is testing the e-Juba, a prototype UAV that can be used for specimen transport or drop in rural areas of the country. The device is made up of sensors and gyroscopes and can be programmed with specific routes. The largest can carry 12 jars for a load of up to 500g as far as 40km. So far, two have been tested with positive results. The NHLS feels that the aircrafts could also carry medicine, anti venom, or blood.


Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 16, 2008

HC Gilje's Wind-Up Birdbots

HC Gilje and team have created Wind-Up Birds, as part of the UT-21 project in a Lillehammer, Norway forest. The automated avians tap like woodpeckers every 5 minutes. We have included some of what the experiment was meant to do, because we certainly can't convey it as well as they do.

"How will nature treat them, with hostillity or acceptance? How will the wind-up birds adapt to heat/cold wet/dry conditions? Will small insects creep inside the circuitry creating possible short circuits, beetles eat the wood, squirrels use the wood slit as nut storage (or the roof as a slide?), birds use it as a shelter, etc.? Will they be treated as foreign objects or accepted into the local eco-system? How do real woodpeckers react? Are they threatened, attracted, or not bothered? Will they use the roof as a pecking drum?"

After 15 minutes, an authentic woodpecker joined in, but perhaps he simply wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Via Wind-Up Birds Project

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 2, 2008

UC Davis Scientists Teach Bots to Follow


UC Davis researchers have been working on robots picking up cues to follow one another. While humans unconsciously move their heads a fraction of a second before turning, Sanjay Joshi and his team have developed a control system that takes those cues into account. Although the bots shown here are not the ones used by UCD, we looked at them and thought, "Aha, this is the first step in robots taking over the planet." Our thanks to Spaceboyjordo, etsy and his robotic pals.

Via UC Davis

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August 26, 2008

eyeRobot Aids the Visually Impaired


"shrimpy" has created the eyeRobot, a prototype that guides visually impaired and blind users. The owner pushes and/or twists the handle to show it its preferred path, and the bot finds the way using sonar. It was made with an iRobot Create, sensors, potentiometers, and miscellaneous hardware. A winner from Instructable's iRobot Create Challenge, he built the robot for less than $400.00, lots cheaper than a $12,000 guide dog and costs much less to feed.

Via eyeRobot

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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