The teaming of the University of Tokyo's Rekimoto Lab and Sony Computer Science Laboratories has produced the appropriately named PossessedHand. After connection, 28 electrodes produce joint actions on your digits without your participation. First created to teach would-be musicians fingering technique, its creators are hoping that it will aid stroke victims. Although the jolts given are supposedly not painful, still we bet that they had to pay the first testees to participate.
You have to love Concept Shed's AutoWed, instant matrimony. Put in your dollar, and it talks you through the ceremony after you input names, music included. The robopreacher gives you a certificate/receipt and a couple of rings that look like they should have come out of a Cracker Jack box. We're not sure how legal it is, but it has at least as much charm as an Elvis impersonator. If you happen to live close to Detroit, you can see one at Marvin's Marvellous Mechanical Museum.
The IASG at Technische Universität München in Germany have created TUM-James and TUM-Rosie, who can shop, then cook and serve. Utilizing PR2s, the bots even learn from their mistakes when preparing breakfast. Check out the video that shows them in action and try to ignore the somewhat silly background music.
With partial support from a Leverhulme Trust, artist Patrick Tresset shows this robotic arm how to sketch. After "studying" the human, the artbot performs some of his own artwork. Working with Professor Frederic Fol Leymarie, the AIKON-II project (named Paul) will be working towards teaching it how to create its own style. While that idea seems a bit far-fetched, you just never know. We hope that style doesn't include sketching hordes of evil robot takeovers.
We told you some time ago about the FitBot that was designed for men to shop online at Fits.me. Now there is a female version as well. Shoppers enter their measurements and see photos of mannequins in their own shapes and sizes. Hoping to make up for the lack of dressing rooms at online stores, the FitBot can adjust to about 85% of all women. It was created with scientific algorithms based on 3D body scans.
The Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense has created a spherical flying bot that can fly at a speed of up to 40 mph and hover if need be. Not only is the spybot multi-talented, should it run into a wall, obstacle or human, it will roll to prevent damage. About the size of a soccer ball, it navigates via a single propeller and can be adapted to carry a camera. Each goes for about $1,000 and is only available in Japan for now.
The University of Chicago recently completed work on an $81 million Joe and Rita Mansueto Library. The five story underground building houses all their books and keeps them preserved. A human opens one of 35,000 metal bins, then one of five robot cranes takes the tome chosen by bar code to the surface to be read in the Grand Reading Room.
The team from the University of Penn.'s GRASP Lab have taken their PR2 and taught it to read the same way a human child learns. Graspy looks at the shapes of words then sounds them out. New ones are matched with known words as his vocabulary becomes more advanced. At this point, the bot has basic reading skills and is still working on different fonts, but we cannot wait to see what he can do in the near future. If you would like to download their ROS platform software you can get it free on their website.
Austin Whitney recently received his degree from UCB. That in itself may not seem a huge deal, but Austin, after being in an accident that left him a paraplegic, managed to pick up his diploma by walking across the stage. He did so with the help of an Exoskeleton developed by a professor and fellow students. Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the device was originally intended for soldiers carrying heavy weights in battle.
Students from the California Institute of the Arts in CA took some junkyard salvage and regular instruments and built the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra. They are so proud of their work that they recently put on a concert with the robotic instruments onstage and lighting and animation on the ceiling. The team came up with 3 new instruments, including a dual-head drum called the NotomotoN.