December 13, 2010

Robot Helps Thwart Car Thieves


The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department's bomb squad used their service bot to help end a stolen Mercury SUV standoff on Interstate 94 last Friday when the inhabitants refused to cooperate. The robot's cameras showed that there were only two people in the vehicle and it broke a window before the cops tossed in some tear gas, forcing the two to come out.

Incidentally, the driver, who was on parole and had previously been convicted of 14 crimes, had stolen the SUV from its owner, a man who picked them up Tuesday in Illinois and trusted him and his girlfriend because they gave him $20.00. He left them to go into a convenience store and found his car gone when he came out.

Via TMJ4

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December 9, 2010

Discovery Launch Delay Until Feb. 2011


Don't send a robotic Bon Voyage message just yet. Robonaut 2 has to wait to make his trip to the final frontier. NASA is delaying the 39th and last flight so that engineers can study and run tests on the cracks in Discovery's external tank. Because they did not make the December window, they are waiting for the next one to open in February.


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December 8, 2010

Roseville Loses Bomb Squad Bot in Fire


During a recent fire in the Roseville, CA Galleria, the police department lost their bomb squad robot when the roof collapsed. Because they cost about $7,000, Lt. Michael Doaneire says that it cannot be easily replaced. They purchased the bot in 2007 and will now have to borrow others from nearby agencies. Perhaps they could have a bake sale or borrow a Geminoid F and put on a show.

Via News 10

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December 2, 2010

European Union Backs Agribots with CROPS


The European Union has invested 10 million Euros to study robots to be used in agriculture. Ten different countries are participating to develop a new technique for sensors, arms, grabbers and intelligence. CROPS will work on products and needs endemic to each country, i.e. one to harvest bell peppers, another to pick wine grapes and one to spray apple orchards.

Via Fresh Plaza

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November 30, 2010

BHA Mimics Elephant Trunk

The German company Festo took the design of an elephant's trunk and 3D printing to come up with an arm that is graceful and flexible. Intended for industrial bots, the Bionic Handling Assistant contains resistant sensors that can be held back before destroying any human close to it. The end of the arm has a 3-fingered gripper that wraps around an object, then collapses and traps it. Festo believes that this reduces the risk of injury that can occur in current service bot arms.

Via New Scientist

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November 24, 2010

Robo-Deer Set to Catch Poachers

Robo-deer is clever way for rangers to deter poachers. They set him up on the side of the road, make it move via remote control and snatch those who take pot shots. Featured on Operation Wild on Planet Green, the FWC claims that they have only made 7 arrests. For some reason, we are not surprised. Although we detest hunting, we expect that poachers are smart enough to know when the deer doesn't dash off when one drives back and forth, it's not real.

Via Tree Hugger

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November 17, 2010

Tlaloque Explores Ancient Tunnel

A team from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) sent Tlaloque to search a tunnel that they believe has been sealed off since 250 A.D. Located in the ruins of the ancient city of Teotihuacan in Mexico, the tunnel is located under the Feathered Serpent Temple. Team leader Sergio Gomez says that they plan to enter the area next month. The project has been going on since they first discovered the tunnel in 2003 and it is said to lead to 3 chambers that may contain gems, shells and pottery (and perhaps a couple of mummies?)

Via Hispanically Speaking

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November 15, 2010

Barack Obama, Meet Geminoid F

During the recent APEC summit, Prez Obama took a few minutes off to play with some of Japan's most famous robots. He briefly viewed Geminoid F, interacted with Paro, the robotic seal and tried out an electronic wheelchair.


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Cody Gives Sponge Baths


A team from the Georgia Institute of Technology has built Cody, a health service robot that can assist the elderly. He uses cameras and lasers to evaluate the patient and wipes him down with flexible arms and towels for hands. The first human to receive the care was co-creator Chih-Hung (Aaron) King, who described the experience:

"In the beginning I felt a bit tense, but never scared. As the experiment progressed, my trust in the robot grew and my tension waned. Throughout the experiment, I suffered little-to-no discomfort."

Via Discover Magazine

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November 2, 2010

JACO Robotic Arm Lends a Hand


Kinova has developed JACO, a robotic arm that can reach almost a meter and lift up to 1.5 kg. Made of carbon fiber, it uses harmonic-gear-motors and has 6ยบ of movement. The arm can be attached to a wheelchair, controlled by computer or joystick and is so flexible that it can hold a glass of water or pick up a flower. Don't get too excited as the JACO costs almost $48,000 from RobotShop Distribution.

Via RobotShop

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