January 10, 2011

Docent Tours Daejon


South Korean school children are being given a robotic treat at the Daejon Museum this week. The 4 ft. tall Docent tells them about each exhibit as it leads them around. This bot is already a seasoned veteran as it has made the rounds at several museums. Nice tie.

Via Plastic Pals

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January 5, 2011

pi4 Visibly Enjoys His Work


Germany's Fraunhofer Institute has developed a pi4-workerbot that can accomplish difficult tasks easily with the use of fingertip sensitivity. Not only is it efficient, it smiles when it is working and lets everyone knows that it wants more work when bored. We expect that the next generation of this service bot will whistle while it toils.

Via Fraunhofer

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January 4, 2011

Kura Restaurants Thrive with Automation

Kunihiko Tanaka built his first Kura restaurant in 1995 and used conveyer belts for efficiency. As his profits came raking in, he used more automation to the point that while each business can seat 196 customers, it only takes 6 servers and a minimal kitchen staff.

Soup and side dishes are ordered via touch panel as robots prepare sushi. Diners place used dishes into a tableside dock where the bill is calculated and dishes are cleaned. This has proven to be a lucrative deal for Tanaka as seven additional restaurants have cropped up in the last two months, bringing the total to 262 eateries.

Via Maximizing Progress

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January 3, 2011

English Teaching Bots Multiplied in So. Korea


True to their promise, So. Korea recently "hired" 29 teachers for elementary schools in Daegu. These Enkey robots are about 3.3 meters tall with a human face on its display. Remotely controlled by English teachers in the Philippines, they speak, read and dance for students, but can only handle about 8 at a time.

Each costs about $1.39 million, a large chunk of cash to replace humans who would rather not travel to remote areas. We bet that there are plenty of unemployed teachers who would work for a lot less than that amount.

Via Reviews of Electronics

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December 30, 2010

THKR-4 Partybot

One of the entrants in this year's Robo-One was THKR-4, who greets, opens the fridge and serves bubbly, pops party toys and gives a shoulder massage should the need arise. The service was created from off-the-shelf parts and is perfect for your holiday parties. The R-O was held December 26, 2010 in Yokohama, Japan.

Via Robots Dreams

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December 28, 2010

Talk-Torque Robots Non-Verbal

A team from Japan's Tsukuba University has created the Talk-Torque 2 Robot that specializes in non-verbal communication. Although it can only move its arms, twist its waist and tilt its head, the bot's purpose is to act as a sort of museum curator. The video shows the first generation.

Via Plastic Pals

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December 27, 2010

Hot Pot Restaurant has Waitbots


Expect to pay a little extra if you plan to go for a hot pot in China. The Dalu Robot Restaurant is their latest eatery. The robotic servers cannot serve the customers or pour beverages, but they tool around as the male waiters offer trays of food and the fems dance between tables. At a cost of $6,000 apiece, the Shandong Dalu Science and Technology Company provided each with motion sensors so that they stop when a human or object nears.

Via People Daily

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December 21, 2010

CustomPacker More Human-Friendly


TU Muenchen has teamed with industrial facilities to create robots that will help to bundle items in warehouses in a more efficient manner. The TUM CustomPacker project's goal is to make the robot flexible enough for various types of products as well as create a safe human-robot relationship. While the heavy lifting will go to the service bot, humans will work on the lighter parts. The project began in July and will continue until sometime in 2013.

Via CustomPacker

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December 17, 2010

Robot Butcher Debones Ham

This video is not for the squeamish (or vegans.) Mayekawa's HAMDAS-R can debone 500 hams per hour, which usually takes 20 humans. The company will be selling them mostly to companies in Japan and will continue to research more efficient ways to trim "irregularly shaped, soft items." The robobutcher recently won a top prize at the Fourth Robot Awards held at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Technology in Japan.

Via DigiInfo

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December 16, 2010

Robot Picker Can Determine Strawberry Ripeness

IAM-BRAIN (the Institute of Agricultural Machinery's Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution,) has created a robot that can not only pick 60% of a strawberry crop, it can target the ripest and pick and cut in 9 seconds. This berrybot's camera images them in 3D and uses algorithms to detect the reddness. Farmers in Japan are now field-testing the new technology.


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