January 21, 2010

AR.Drone Controlled by iPhone/iPod touch

The French Company Parrot debuted their AR.Drone at the CES 2010. The quadrocopter is controlled via iPhone or iPod touch via a WiFi connection. The robotic flyer has two cameras, an ultrasonic altimeter and a gyro/accelerometer based stabilization system. It also features an "augmented reality" system that allows users to game on the video feed or compete against other drones. While the company claims that the AR.D is "intuitive and user friendly," we expect it to move to military status sometime soon.

Via Parrot

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January 14, 2010

Micromouse Captured on Video

Micromouse robots get faster each generation to the extent that it is difficult to capture them on video. Peter Harrison used a Casio FC100 camera set for 640x480 at 210 fps to slow the action down by 7x. Note that not only is the entry from the 30th All Japan Micromouse Competition still chugging along, there is a flicker caused by frequency between the frame rate and 50hz lighting.

Via Robots Dreams

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January 13, 2010

Bari-Bari-IV Rescues

Tokyo Institute of Technology's Kitagawa Tsukakoshi Laboratory developed the Bari-Bari-IV to aid in rescues while minimizing risk of hurting humans trapped in the wreckage. Built with 2 plates, it burrows into the site and jacks itself up slowly so that there is less disturbance while removing debris. The bot is also equipped with a camera and speaker to aid in its efforts.

Via TI Tech

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January 11, 2010

Platform Robot Produces Light Art

German designer Nils Voelker designed a 3-wheeled platform robot that can create art by moving colored LED lights while a camera shoots in long exposure. The images are made with graphic editing software and because the bot has several small wheels beneath it, it can be guided in any direction. Voelker says that the robot is part of another project by making a series of "paintings" for magazine publication. We are thinking it might be best used live to appreciate the artsy side of his creation.

Via Nils Voelker

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January 7, 2010

PR2 Demonstrates DMP

Peter Pastor, a PhD student at USC, used DMPs (Dynamic Movement Primitives) to teach PR2 new movements from only one demonstration. This is a huge concept in robotics when you think about it because it means that a bot can perform the same action even when not the objects are not in the same position. Kudos to Peter and Willow Garage and here's to their continued success.

Via Willow Garage

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January 5, 2010

Fiji Soft Intros Sakura-Chan

Fiji Soft's latest entry in the world of humanoids is Sakura-Chan. Debuting at the All Japan Robot Tournament, it has an LED display for facial recognition, a cam for seeing and speech recognition. The bot runs on Atom CPU, Ubuntu OS and WiFi and should be out sometime this year for what the company says will be a competitive price.

Via Plastic Pals

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January 1, 2010

Duckman Builds Automatic Crossbow

Because "The Duckman" (undoubtedly named for his pets,) has arthritis, he decided to build an automatic crossbow. The electrically powered gadget cocks itself, holds 15 arrows and a firing capacity of 100 before needing a replacement.

Via Duckman Crossbow

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December 31, 2009

RoboVault Keeps Valuables Safe

The RoboVault, located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, was created to protect "your most valuable possessions from... Everything!" Once you place your car on a pallet, it goes through a security scan and heartbeat detector. Then, a robotic arm takes it to your assigned steel mesh space. The building consists of 465 units made of concrete and steel that can withstand weather related disasters, fires and bullets. The vault also houses smaller spaces for valuables, such as wine and jewelry. Prices start at $440 per month for vehicles.

Via RoboStorage

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December 30, 2009

Coolerbot Goes Bird Watching

Steve Norris recently completed his Coolerbot, designed for nature photography and surveilance. The rugged, waterproof device consists of a Coleman cooler, Nikon DSLR cam, infrared video camera, motors, wheels, 10Ah batteries and solar panels for charging. Two Parallax HB-25s control the motors and the robot itself is run by a 912MHz transceiver.


Norris has also been working on phase 2 of his Chessbot, which can be played with humans, chess engine software or via a social network site like Twitter.

Via Norris Labs

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December 29, 2009

Asus Adds ECleaner to Robotic Vacuum Market

No sooner did we discover the Neato, we also came across Asus' ECleaner. In addition to following pre-programmed patterns for cleaning via algorithms like the Roomba, it also features a 6000 hr. UV light used for disinfecting the floor and emitting aroma. The ECleaner returns to its dock automatically and comes at a price of $150.00.

Via Taiwan Economic News

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