April 23, 2009

Casmobot Controlled by Wii Remote

A new robot lawnmower has been created, this one cleverly managed by a modified Wiimote. Part of the Plant Robotics Project, The Casmobot (Computer Assisted Slope Mowing Robot) was created by researchers at the University of Southern Denmark. Robotics are built into the mover and it is controlled via Bluetooth to a computer. The mower can move forward when the controller is tilted down and backwards when tilted up. It can work manually or by computer with autonomous navigation based on RTK positioning.

Via Telegraph

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April 22, 2009

Twinbots Seek Human Help

Leave a robot in the NE corner of Washington Square Park and see if anyone will help it get to the SW corner. That was the idea behind the Tweenbots, a race of human dependent robots that engage help from wandering pedestrians. They were made out of cardboard, in case they got eaten by a wandering dog or stomped upon. Moving in a straight line at a constant speed, they carried a flag with their destination. Inventor/artist Kacie Kinzer kept a hidden camera to see if they got the help they sought.

Recorded over several months, the cute little bots were rescued when needed and none were ever lost or damaged. One man even told it, "You can't go that way, it's toward the road." We are impressed with the study and are wondering, had the Tweenbot been a homeless person or lost child, would the same results occur?

Via Tweenbots

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April 9, 2009

Roony Wants to Go to the Moon

Fourteen students from Malardalens University in Sweden got together with artist Mikael Genberg to create the House on the Moon project. They are hoping that Roony, an autonomous rover, should be sent to the moon, carrying materials and consequently build a small cottage. While this is a work in progress, they are hoping to complete the objective by 2012.

Via Project Roony

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April 6, 2009

Like Keepon? Love the Dancebot

Clever Trossen Robotics created a low cost Dancebot kit. The original Keepon was quite a hit on YouTube with over 2 million viewings, but was built with state of the art technology at a cost of over $20,000. Yeah, we know this has to be an April Fools kind if thing, because if you look closely at it, it is composed of a double decker marshmallow, an unfolded paper clip, ramen for hair, and Sharpies to decorate the other "thingies."

Via Trossen

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March 31, 2009

Cornell Creates Self-Replicating Robots

Researchers at Cornell University have developed a robot that can self-replicate. A machine was made from cube-shaped modules that functioned independently and when combined, created an exact copy of itself. Each contained a microprocessor, a motor and electromagnets and was preprogrammed with building instructions. Fortunately for us all, the team claims that it can do little but reproduce at this point, but they foresee applications in the areas of nanotechnology and space exploration.

Via National Geographic

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March 30, 2009

Nude Robot Model Headlines Japan Fashion Week

When Japan's Fashion Week opened last week, the first model to make it to the catwalk was a nude robot. Used to demonstrate the economic crisis in that country, designers have chosen to make clothes for "real people" as opposed to haute couture. We were thinking that they should skip the high-priced models altogether. You certainly wouldn't have to worry about a robot suffering from bulimia.

Via Bloomberg

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March 27, 2009

Must Have: Special Edition Black Lego Mindstorms NXT

Never doubt the talents of someone who can combine a Mindstorms NXT, a Bionicle, a Technic set and a few Lego bricks added into the mix. Should it show up in our neighborhood, we will be on the first train out.

Speaking of Mindstorms, Lego is celebrating their 10th anniversary of the micro-controllers with a Special Edition in black. If you get in on the action, you will have access to other materials such as a special program for the NXT, a personal certificate of ownership, wallpapers and building instructions for special models. This certainly qualifies it as our Must Have this week.

Via Bionicle Robot Head

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March 24, 2009

CareBots May Take Over

Part of Japan's push for robotic service industry helpers has to include the CareBots. They have an onboard wireless webcam and follow their designated patient. They carry supplies, deliver bedpans and medication, take vital signs and report back to GeckoSystems in the event of an emergency. They babysit your tots when you are cooking or catching up with the latest ball game while their Security bot can guard or search and rescue without intervention. We think that with enough Gecko bots, we won't need any humans.

Via GeckoSystems

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March 20, 2009

Must Have: The Gunslinger

One of our absolute fave movie bots was played by Yul Brynner. Known in the movies "Westworld" and
only as "The Gunslinger," he was as scary as they come. We have made the endearing Wall-E and Pleo as our Must Haves, but we think it is time that one of the evil ones gets credit, too. If you have never seen these 70's movies, now is the time. Although they do not have the advanced CGI and effects as current ones, how can you resist this guy? Head to YouTube for more clips if you aren't convinced.

Via The Gunslinger

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T-53 Enru - Smaller, More Efficient, Just As Scary

In 2004, Tmsuk developed T-52 Enru for rescue work. Weighing about 6 tons, it features waldos designed to save victims of earthquakes, car accidents and other emergencies.


The company didn't stop there. After working with the national fire department in Japan, they came up with a new and improved model, the T-53, that is more compact and has better maneuverability. The bot was used in recovery efforts during the Kashiwazaki City earthquake. Check out Tmsuk's site. They have been working on service robotics from as far back as 1993 with their TMSUK-1, a receptionist.

Via Tmsuk

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