September 20, 2010

Robot Sent Into John Hopkins Tragedy First


When an irate gunman struck John Hopkins last week, it was a robot that made sure the coast was clear. Paul Warren Pardus had been tending his mother at home until she was taken to the East Baltimore Campus for treatment. While snipers surrounded the building, part of the campus was put in lock down while other sections were evacuated.

When the bot was finally sent in, (which was probably similar to others owned by police departments like the one shown,) it was determined that the pair had probably been deceased soon after Pardus had shot Dr. David B. Cohen. It is a comfort to know that robots are depended upon for such a depressing chore to avoid extra violence.

Via Baltimore Sun

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The White House is Looking for a Few Good Robots


Listen up, roboticists who need funding. As part of the President's FY2012 Budget, the White House has combined five Fed agencies for small business research to create grants for Robotics Technology Development and Deployment. Specifically, your robotics company can apply for funding for developing service bots, drug discovery bots and those that can disarm military bombs. DARPA will be overseeing the funding of the latter and although the grant may not make you rich, it can certainly help you develop your ideas.

If you want more information on any of the three opportunities, check out the link to the entire announcement. Applications must be submitted by December 20, 2010. Let us know if yours is accepted and details as we promise to be almost as excited as you are.

Via Robot Grant Information

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September 3, 2010

DustCart Cleans Up Peccioli, Italy

In 2006, Scuola Superiore Sant' Anna in Pisa, Italy was given a grant to develop a better form of urban hygiene. DustCart was born and if you lived in Peccioli all you had to do to get it to perform was call it from your cell phone and it and its Segway base would deliver your new garbage receptacle. Toss in your trash, up to 70 lbs., and the bot would haul it to a dump.

This is no one trick robot. It can also measure air quality and provide city information like train schedules. DustCart, and its partner DustClean, passed the city test but at a double digit cost, it may be a while before the pair is hired out, although discussions to have DustCart turn into a neighborhood pharmacy delivery bot have been held. Hmmm.

Via Dustbot

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September 2, 2010

Noelle Gives Birth, But Not Without a Fight

The latest service bot in town comes from Ohio's Wright State University and was designed for health care professionals to practice emergencies in the delivery room. Noelle complains, groans and grunts and seizes her way through childbirth, with a detachable belly cover that every woman wishes she had. The $40,000 simulator keeps track of medical statistics and lets the participants perform several different predicaments, including some with her robotic baby. Good times.

Via Dayton Daily News

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August 27, 2010

Hydro-Quebec LineScout Inspects

While power line inspection robots are not a novel idea, we found this one hanging out in the Hydro-Quebec network in Canada. The LineScout is remote controlled with two joysticks and utilizes 360ยบ cameras to inspect power lines. In usage since 2006, it can maneuver around obstacles and spots exact locations by GPS. After identifying any power problems, the bot is sophisticated enough to make minor repairs.

Via cnet

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August 25, 2010

Yurina Assists Bedridden

At the recent Next-Generation Robot Manufacturing Exhibition in Japan, Yurina, a home care robot, was put through its paces by first lifting patients of weights of up to 80kg and then converting itself into a wheelchair. The robotic vehicle can then be directed by voice, touch screen or controller.

Via Japan Logic (translated)

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August 24, 2010

Robots Take Over Jobs


Focus magazine has shown an interesting infographic regarding robotic takeover in jobs. They predict 1.2 million of them in operation by 2013 and half by 2025, destined to replace humans in the workplace. If you study the data, you will notice that for every 1,000 workers in Japan there are 34 robots now, with predictions for more to come in the areas of auto working, food service and manufacturing.

Via Focus

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August 19, 2010

Yaskawa-kun Soft Serves Ice Cream

One of the latest service bots to become employed in Japan is Yaskawa-kun, a product of the electronic and robotics company of the same name. It will be dishing up ice cream at theme park Tokyo Summerland until August 22. After placing an order, the human can watch the bot as it prepares his/her selection. It is a good thing that this is a temporary position. The robot runs so slowly that if the long lines doesn't kill the project, the melting ice cream will.

Via Robonable (translated)

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August 17, 2010

NZ Bots Can Prune Winery Vines


New Zealand may soon have new helpers in its wineries. Canterbury University's Dr. Richard Green is working on a robot that can prune vines using 3D cameras to gauge distance. The target date for a working model is two years. The bot can be adapted for other industries but for now they see it as saving $20 million a year in that country.

Via PC World

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August 16, 2010

Robot to Search Great Pyramid


In 1992, a robot was sent into one of the Great Pyramid of Khufu's shafts to explore its contents. Upnaut 2 found limestone doors with brass handles. National Geographic sent in a drilling bot sometime later and discovered a second door. Now Leeds University's Dr. Robert Richardson has planned a third excursion that will probably take about 5 years to complete. By the end the drillbot, equipped with camera, may discover lost secrets in the Queen's chamber.

Via Independent

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