The Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Tokyo has created the BFS-Auto book scanner. The bot is so fast that it can digitize 250 pages/minute by combining page flipping, 3D recognition of those already flipped with the usage of three cameras and high-accuracy restoration. Book Flipping Scanning can be used by libraries to preserve old tomes as well as saving those that have been damaged.
Disney was one of the first to use automatons, including Country Bears and Presidents of the United States. So, it is not surprising that they are becoming more advanced in their technology. One of their latest is a humanoid bot that can play catch, juggle and look disappointed when there is no one to play with. What started as a project with a Kinect morphed into the robot with an Asus Xtion Pro Live camera for tracking. They took it as far as getting him to turn his head when participating with a human. They also programmed the catchbot to react at a dropped ball. Future plans include supplying one to each Disney park location.
Hubo II is Korea's Advanced Institute of Science and Technology robot that they are preparing for the next DARPA Challenge. He has been taught to do some basic dance moves, walk, run and other practical tasks like valve turning. And since KAIST is located in Korea, you know that they have taught him Gangnam Style, a more advanced routine than the one executed by Charli 2. By the way, you can get your own Hubo for a cool $400,000.
HEARBO (the HEAR-ing roBOt) has the unique capability of being able to distinguish all kinds of sounds from voices to sound effects. Utilizing HARK technology, it can distinguish those sound by localizing, separating and recognizing them. The bot is so talented that it can already identify 4 different sounds within 1º of accuracy. This gives HEARBO an advantage as a service bot since it can will when to answer a doorbell or feed a whining child. The video also shows his ability to turn on and off music, adjust the volume and wave his arms a bit to keep time.
Japanese researchers discovered and published images taken by one of their satellites orbiting the Moon about 3 years ago. It depicted a large hole below the surface. Enter William 'Red' Whittaker, a robotics expert that has been testing a bot in a defunct coal mine near his home in Pennsylvania. His 4-wheeled Cave Crawler is still a prototype at this point but NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is funding the project to turn it into a reality by 2015.
Leave it to Takara Tomy to come up with yet another robotic toy that does not need tending. The Robo Fish depends on two watch batteries that propel it up and down. That movement makes it appear that it is randomly rooting around for food. So far only available in Japan, the fishbots come in 4 different models and carry a MSRP of ￥2,980 (~$38.00)
On the other hand, if you don't want to wait for it to be imported, Fincredibles put out a Fish Bowl with a pseudo clown fish that will annoy swim endlessly with an additional benefit of changing LED lighting. The electronic bowl needs 3AA batteries (included.)
CIROS is a kitchenbot created by the Korean Institute of Science and Technology. He chops, he dices, he slices. Okay we embellish, but we hear he can grab some ingredients from the fridge, slice the veggies, add dressing, serve the salad and tea, and scrub up afterwards. Stereoscopic cameras and sensors help him recognize objects. From the video it looks like he could use a bit of quality control but hey, he is the one wielding the knife.
Researchers from Georgia Tech have used a dragonfly as a basis for a micro UAV. The four-winged TechJect is small enough to fit in a palm but has the capability to be used as a quadricopter, helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. Four years of research and development went into the project with $1 million dollars worth of funding from the Air Force and some from Indiegogo. The 6" long insectbot weighs 0.88 oz. it can be flown by RC or an iPad, smartphone or computer.
Last month we told you about Charlie, the robot that was gaga for Gangnam. It seems that he was recently entered in a dance contest in China and the little bot won first place. We guess that they are not as saturated as we are with the dance but we definitely think it's time to move on, dude, at least as far as changing it to Mokiki's Sloppy Swish.
Vtech's Cogsley is a clever learning bot for kids aged 3 to 6 years old. He comes with 30 computer chips that trigger responses, including sounds, images, movement and LCD animation. When the kidlet claps her/his hands, sings or talks, the toybot responds by moving various body parts like his nose and eyes. And when ignored, Cogsley makes a funny comment to get some attention. He needs 4 AA batteries (included.)