October 26, 2010

Energid to Develop Robotic Fruit Pickers

Help design a Robonaut and you, too may get funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a robotic citrus harvesting system. Energid Technologies, who developed Actin and Selectin software toolkits used in NASA's bot, believes that the way to go is to use robotic arms to literally pick the fruit. Principal Engineer Dr. Chu-Yin Chang says of the technology, "Imagine a flexible picking mechanism that shoots out to remove an orange like a frog's tongue catching a fly. Now line up tens or even hundreds of these. That is the system we are developing."

Wax on, wax off.

Via Energid

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October 8, 2010

Mini-Exoskeleton Can Wreak Mini-Havoc

While it wasn't really designed for this purpose, your kidlet will really stand out this Halloween when she/he dons this mini-exoskeleton from Sakakibara Kikai. At a height of 5.25 ft. and a weight of 400 lb., it will crush mere mortal toddlers in their plastic faces and flame retardant garb. The $21,000 price tag of the walker doesn't seem to include an adequate seatbelt, however.

Via Sakakibara Kikai (translated)

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October 7, 2010

This Robot Does Windows

Think of it as vertical Roomba. The Korean Windoro window cleaning robot is a combination of two neodymium magnets, with one on each side of the glass. The Pohang Institute of Intelligent Robotics bot uses sensors and obstacle detection for movement, while using spinning pads and detergent to take care of the chore. Unfortunately, it cannot move from one pane to another and ended up costing PIRO about $260,000 to build, so we might stick to the hose for now.

Via Plastic Pals

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October 6, 2010

Sheldon Meets the Woz

If you are a fan of the "Big Bang Theory," then you already saw the season premiere that found Sheldon as a telepresence robot that chats it up with the "Great and Powerful Woz." You can get the DVD of last season as well as the first two if you want to catch up with the nerdish humor.

Via CBS

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October 4, 2010

Bot Assists in Missing Balloon Search

balloonists.jpg

After a hot air balloon went missing last week over the Adriatic Sea near Italy, the Italian Coast Guard utilized an underwater unit that employed a robot to aid in the search. The balloon, carrying Richard Abruzzo and Dr. Carol Rymer-Davis, was equipped with a satellite phone, a radar transponder, VHF radios and 2 mobile phones, but so far the search has only come up with small pieces of debris.

Via CNN

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October 1, 2010

Robot Revolution Closer Than We Think

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As robot assisted work and automation rises and boosts big business, human productivity falls, and with that, more jobs will be replaced by our metal friends. (Note the rise of the GDP.) Roubini went to a great deal of time assessing the trend that reduces human employment. Yeah, but we still have to carry the oil can. Here is part of their evaluation and replacement:

  • Fire bank tellers; install ATMs.

  • Fire workers in toll booths and parking lots; install automated payment systems (e.g., FasTrak.)

  • Fire cashiers; install automated check-out systems (e.g., gas stations and Home Depot.)

  • Fire teachers for simple continuing education course; install online learning systems.

Via Roubini

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September 28, 2010

Panasonic Bot Hair Washer

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Not only has Panasonic been working on a robo-bed, they have developed a hair-washing bot for hospitals and health care facilities. With 16 fingers, it both washes and rinses shampoo probably as good as any human. The arms first scans the head to measure head shape and supposedly knows how much pressure must be applied. Three motors on each hand independently control the movements. We suspect it won't be long before the company comes up with a full body massage-bot.

Via Akihabara News

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September 27, 2010

Robot Helps Nab Gunman

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With the assistance of a robot, New Castle County SWAT officers managed to use explosives to enter a Delaware apartment building last Thursday and get 35 year-old David Stanley to surrender with without incident. The occurrence took place after the man had begun shooting at vehicles, closing down a nearby highway for 6 hours. Stanley will face charges that include reckless endangement and weapons offenses. Several other guns were also found in the apartment.

Via WHYY

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September 24, 2010

Core Robot Carries the Most Weight

Japan's Chiba Institute of Technology's Core is a headless bot that can handle heavy loads and knows to bend at the knees while doing so. At a height of 6' 2" and a weight of 507 lbs., he can handle up to 220 lbs. and can function as a helper, eventually working his way to assisting the elderly or disabled in the next couple of years. Oddly enough, Core shares his history with ASIMO as both are descended from Wabot 1.

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September 21, 2010

BaR2D2 Gets an Upgrade

Just when you thought that BaR2D2 couldn't get any better, our bud Jamie has released instructions to his recently drink mixer upgraded barbot. Check him out!

Via Instructables

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