November 6, 2008

Aldebaran Nao Juvie Service Bot

We realize that the French company Adebaran is working to make us all a better life through robotics, but there is something so comical about their Nao video that is difficult to take him seriously. Between the happy music and the juvenile voice, we wish he would just be quiet and pick up the rubber duck already! Nao should be available next year for about $15,000. That's a lot of bucks for an android that will clean up your room.

Via Aldebaran (translated)

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

November 5, 2008

Flower Rock Gets Redesign

If you were one of those that bought Takara Tomy's Flower Rock, one of the first robotic gadgets that moved to music, then you will be pleased that they are celebrating their 20th anniversary with the new 2.0 speaker. Connect your MP3 player to either the soft or sharp petal version and be just as amused/annoyed as you were back in 1988. The musical device is available for $89.99. The video demo may be in Japanese, but you will get the gist of it, nonetheless.


ViaAudio Cubes

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 4, 2008

RCRC Is Three Bots In One

Transformers aren't just for kids anymore. AOK's 13 x 9 x 15" Remote Controlled Robot Car may start out upright, but can also turn into both a sports car and truck. Controlled by two joystick commands, it can go left or right and dance when standing. After changing shape, it can go forwards, backwards and turn. Use the AC adapter for 4 hours to get 30 minutes on its rechargeable batteries. The RCRC's remote also needs one 9V battery (not included,) has a 100' range and comes at an $89.95 price.

Via Hammacher Schlemmer

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 1, 2008

Robot Snob 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

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Robotics can get to be quite expensive, as those of us at Robot Snob know. But with the economy being the way it is, we have scanned the Net to find the best bots for fewer bucks. We have included categories by the budget as well as kids' stuff, those for adults, and some for DIY fans. Happy shopping with our First Annual Gift Guide!

Under $50.00

Grandport has several kits for those who are just getting started in robotics. With brightly colored pieces and plastic pieces that snap together, choose from Tarmo, Sumobot, and TouchMe. Solarbotic's Herbie the Mouse needs some soldering, but will keep anyone amused by his battery-powered antics. Discovery's Kids Electronic Gadget Lab can make over 100 projects with 30 snap pieces.

Under $25.00

There are many robots that may do a little less, but can amuse adults and children alike for under $25.00. Most of them have been out for awhile, and as we all know, the longer an electronic is out, the more outdated it is, and the price drops. But kids and those who are not yet robotically inclined will love one of these.

The WowWee Robotics Roboquad is one of these. Originally about $90.00, you can now get one for $23.97. WowWee also has other bots for little funds, such as their Mini Robosapien V2, the Mini Robopanda and the blue R/C FlyTech Dragonfly. We have shown you this one before, but the Discovery Build Your Own Robot Kit is a great kit for amateurs.

Under $10.00

There are plenty of windup stocking stuffers and miniature bots for those on a super-budget. Our selections include Schylling's Classic Windup Robot, the Galactic Robot Windup, SparkDino, Boogie Bots, the Mazinger Z Wind-up Tin Toy and the Mini Robot Tin.

Over $100.00

If money is no object, at the top of the list has to be our fave Sesame Street character, Elmo Live. Although they will be in short supply, we think it is worth the effort to find one, although you may end up paying more than the current list price of around $60.00. We also suggest a Pleo, who becomes more affordable all the time, and have new applications every time we turn around.

For pets, althought the Litter Robot LRII Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box seems a tad expensive, think what a great gift this would be for yourself! And we cannot leave out our favorite module Lego Mindstorms NXT, the do-it-yourself kit that is so popular that it has its own site.

Robot Vacuums

Of course, iRobot has the perfect gifts for those who hate household chores. Now there are several Roombas available. The original Roomba cleans both carpet and bare floors and starts at a mini-price of $129.99. The Scooba will clean the scummiest of bathroom and kitchen floors. It preps, washes, scrubs and squeegees on wood, linoleum, and other surfaces. The Dirt Dog cleans up sawdust, small nails, nuts and bolts, and is the perfect gift for wives that want to hint around to their mates. The Verro is perfect for those who can't afford poolboys, while the Looj is a good way to erase something off the honey-do list. Don't forget the ConnectR that allows you to see and chat with family and friends. There are limited supplies of the ConnectR, but you can get on their mailing list for future availability.

DIY Kits

If you have someone in your life who prefers the DIY route, try one of these suggestions. Trossen has a wide variety of them that include their humanoid kits come in all price ranges. They also have kits for beginners that are not only fun, but will get your child on the early road to robotics.

Movie Robots

Let's not forget those Movie bots. Although we covet the can-do-it-all U Command Wall-E any fan of the film and iPods would settle for the i-Dance WALL-E for less than $20.00. Transformer fans will surely love the Deluxe Payload Armored Truck. Movies are always welcome for the holidays and a really fine way to keep your kids occupied when you are exhausted from all the festivities. We recommend Robots or I, Robot for teens. Finally, if you have never seen the movie Short Circuit (from 1986), this is a fun family fare for the holidays.

Plush Robots

For younger kids, try one of Hasbro's FurReal Friends. Their collection includes Squawkers McCaw Parrot to the more affordable Newborn Chimp, Kitten, Dalmation Puppy and Honey Bear, all of which are under $20.00. Buy more than one at a time and they are even less expensive.

Robot Gifts for Toddlers and Babies

Finally, let's not forget the little ones. If you know someone who recently added a newcomer to the family, how about a Robots : People of the Future or this Robots Love Dancing Onesie? There is even a plush Disney Meet the Robinsons 10" Carl the Robot Doll.

Still haven't found what you want? Keep checking in the weeks ahead with us and we will be relentless in our search to make this holiday affordable for all our botty friends. Let us know in our comment section if you find something that will make others gleeful this season.

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 29, 2008

I-SWARM To Colonize Mars?

While some of us envision building colonies on Mars someday, European researchers have been developing small autonomous bots that work together like insects to perform the chore. The I-SWARM Project is composed of 100 tiny robots that can reconfigure themselves as needed for different tasks.

"Small robots that are able to work together could explore the planet. We now know there is water and dust so all they would need is some sort of glue to start building structures, such as homes for human scientists," said Marc Szymanski, a researcher at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany.

We suspect those first humans would include the I-SWARM team, who certainly will have earned the honor.

Via Science Daily

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 23, 2008

KIST Creates Mahru and Ahra

The Korean Institute Science and Technology (KIST) has developed Mahru and Ahra that, unlike ASIMO, who runs on network-based intelligence, work on network infrastructures with motion capture systems. Mahru understands voices and commands and can carry them out. As you can see from the video, he is quite supple and deserves the title of humanoid. The robot can also emit 2 aromas depending on his "mood." We wonder, when Mahru gets fully developed in the next 10 years, what that odor would be when he is really teed off.

Via KIST

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 21, 2008

Yorgoroza-V Emulates Michael Jackson

At the recent ROBO-ONE 14 competition in Japan, Yorgoroza-V demonstrated his dancing skill. Described as a Michael Jackson clone, the bot stands 40cm tall and weighs 2.9kg. The bot can not only dance, he participates in robotic fighting events. We are impressed with his skills, but we think the real Jackson would have been able to stay on the stage a little better.

Via Robot-Dreams

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 15, 2008

Flyborgs Direct RC Cars

Roboticists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have developed a system that allows a fruit fly to almost drive a remote controlled car. We didn't believe it a first either but it seems that the little bugger is tethered to a rod with an LED display around it. Images from a camera mounted on the car are transmitted to the screen. Although it cannot actually move, the flyborg thinks that it can while in the simulator.

Via New Scientist

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

October 8, 2008

All Right Sometimes Goes Left

David Cook designed All Right to go through mazes and, although it can turn left, tries to go right as much as possible. Powered by LiPoly batteries, the robot has an LED display, sensors and pushbuttons to accomplish its task. Cook has written a detailed article on his site Robot Room describing his making of the bot in detail.

Via Robot Room

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 7, 2008

It's a Bird! It's a Robot! It's I-Wing!

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The Silverlit Wingsmaster I-Wing was designed with actual bird wings in mind to keep it aloft. The flying robot has super wide infrared control, specific flight patterns and is tough enough to survive bumps, collisions, and tough landings. The i-Wing comes with a built-in Li-Poly battery and needs 6 AAs for the remote. You can choose from 3 styles and see it in action on UK Amazon. I-Wing's price is £19.99 (~$35.00.)

Via Amazon UK

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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