The third annual Barbot took place April 1 - 2 in San Francisco, CA. The celebration included iLush2, the weightless Cosmobot 2.0 and the White Russian Hippie Maker. Partially tongue in cheek, it would seem all participants had a good time and doubtless there were some taxi bots to take them home after the festivities.
Emerald has adopted a robot named Carl to hype their Breakfast on the Go granola snacks. This commercial manages to take the bot and a nerdy looking worker and reverse the roles to make Carl the buffoon. Whatever works for ya.
Disney World has come a long ways in the art of animatronics since its Country Bear Jamboree and one of their latest "creations" is the addition of Barack Obama in the Hall of Presidents. The program has all of them with new digital audio, video and lighting. When the prez came in to record his speech for the project, he asked if the figures were statues and was told they were animatronics. His response, "That's kinda cool." You betcha.
Just when you thought you were safe from a futuristic horde of creatures in evil robot suits in the Australian desert, The Time Guardian appears. The 1987 film features Dean Stockwell and a very young and fresh Carrie Fisher. "It is not just our fate that lies in peril but that of all humanity."Star Wars" it ain't but if you like your sci-fi with a touch of morality, this is a good rainy day flick.
On the other hand, if you like your movies current and animated, Megamind is finally out on DVD. Lots of evil pet robots running around, robotic suits and a very cutesy Minion. Not the best of its kind over the last few years (with movie references intended for adults) but still, Will Farrel is in his element. (We love the way he pronounces "Metrocity" with an accent on the second syllable.)
To better demonstrate the skills of the Swedish Medical Center's da Vinci robot, surgeon Jim Porter made a video of it making and flying a paper airplane. It was part of an effort from the Swedish Orthopedic Institute to promote the advanced technology that they use and included a knee replacement surgery with a live chat on the Net.
Robot Chicken: Star Wars III will be released on July 12 on Blu-ray. This is the final part of Seth Green and Matthew Senreich's stop-motion comedy and includes audio commentary, deleted scenes, a making of and behind the scenes material. While you are awaiting its release, the first and second seasons are available now.
Shades of "Silent Running." The 5-legged Prospero is a clever bot that is being used as an Autonomous Micro Planter. It joins with others to make a swarm that can plant seeds, tend them and harvest the finished product. Controlled by a Parallax Propeller chip mounted on a Schmart Board, it can walk autonomously while avoiding objects. Prospero can also communicate with other robots and can carry fertilizer and herbicides in its tummy.
If you watch "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" regularly, then you already know he is the timidest of hosts. He cringes at wild animals brought on his show and turned down an offer from Jeff Probst to be a celeb Survivor. So watch how he reacts when Mike Tyson takes him on with the game Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots.
Cars 2 will soon be coming out with a new character (voiced by Michael Caine) named Zero Gravity Finn McMissile. Debuting at the recent Toy Fair in NY, a copy of the real thing will soon be available to kids everywhere to drive up the wall and drive their parents crazy. Look for the RC car to debut in May for about $35.00. In the meantime, you can let your kidlets watch the original "Cars" out now on Blu-ray and DVD.
DARPA's latest funding has gone to a hummingbird drone, a tiny spybot that can fly forward, backwards and sideways, and rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise. And like its real counterpart, with a wingspan of 6.5" and a weight of only 19 grams, the Nano Air Vehicle can hover and spend up to 8 minutes in the air. Built by AeroVironment, it may be awhile before the NAV appears on a battleground near you.