Prof. Chris D. Shaw and PhD student Ji-Dong Yim of Simon Fraser University, Canada took a Nokia phone and some Bioloid parts, and created CALLO and CALLY. As you can see in the video, the cell phone bot features various facial expressions when a call comes in. The phone's cam uses OpenCV for face detection and hand tracking to mimic arm movement. Partially funded by Nokia, the program was designed to improve consumer/product bonds. Boogie on.
The Advanced Control Lab at National Taiwan University is working on JULIA, an interactive humanoid that works with touch screen or voice commands and has a display for home media information. She can be used as a security guard when you are at work and, when you get home, entertain you by singing and dancing.
At the recent 2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, the German Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics programmed a robotic arm to stab a silicone lump, a dead pig's leg and human volunteers. It was armed with steak and kitchen knives, a screwdriver and scissors. When the safety was off, the bot inflicted cuts on the lump and leg that were deemed potentially lethal. Fortunately, the humans only were used when the safety system was turned on, teaching us what we already knew. You never know when your robot will turn on you.
Willow Garage is offering 11 research teams its PR2 robots in a free, 2 year Beta Program. Because the bots are built with an open-source software platform, they can be programmed for many different roles in areas of perception, navigation, and manipulation. Worth more than $4 million, the recipients will be 10 universities in Japan Belgium, Germany and the US, and the tool and parts company Bosch.
By the way, one of those chosen is located at UC Berkely. This is the same team that taught a PR2 to fold towels. Now they will try to teach it how to do an entire load of laundry.
David Gilday took some Mindstorms components and came up with MultiCuber, a creation that can solve 2×2, 3×3, 4×4, and 5×5 Rubik's cubes with the same build. A larger one can handle the 6 x 6 version. Good show, David!
What's missing in this video? The remotest presence of humans. What is here is a very efficient ABB Robotic System packing Peperami Salami Sticks that knows to leave the inferior pieces behind. Mmmm, salami. Check out ABB's YouTube site for more foody friendly examples, including packing pancakes and sausage, and cake decorating.
Puck, Gilda and Rosie are robotic arms that work for SF's Autofuss as camera bots. The three Fanuc s430iL waldos were designed as car assemblers, but seem to have their new craft down. Although they are not mobile, they can also deal with props and rigging. Here's a peek at their video for Louis Vuitton. (You just can't go anywhere anymore without seeing Buzz Aldrin.)
BallP (Ball Inverted Pendulum) is a 20", 16.5 lb. robot that is a combination of gyroscopes, motors, controllers and accelerometers that can move in any direction on its plastic covered bowling ball. Developed by Dr. Masaaki Kumagai, director of Tohoku Gakuin University's Robot Development Engineering Laboratory, there are plans to make the bot more user friendly and able to tote items back and forth.
Controlling your Rovio may have just gotten easier. The EEG, made by Emotive Systems, utilizes facial gestures and brainwaves to control the securitybot. Signals are picked up by a PC, sent to a second one via Skype after interpretation by the Robodance 5 app, then sent to Rovio. Woot Woof.
We expect by now that everyone has seen the Dr. Pepper commercial that featured cartoonist Stan Lee and featured a robot that was assisting an actor to dress up "Iron Man" style. But for those who don't live in the States, here is the ad/promo.