October 7, 2009

Warrior Bot Controlled by Brain Waves


University of Electro-Communications student Taku Ichikawa managed to build a gladiator robot that he controls by brain power. Electrodes connecting the couple measure Taku's neural activity and spur the bot to walk, rotate and stab. The entire process takes about 1.5 seconds to transfer the signals and 0.5 secs. for the robot to respond. It cannot back up so there will be no retreat for this warrior, however the technology is being used to help develop a hands-free wheelchair project.

Via MDN News

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October 5, 2009

Honda U3-X Unicycle

Honda has created what could be the next Segway (yeah, like we need another one of those.) The U3-X can travel left, right, forward, back and diagonally. The robotic unicycle readjusts itself which makes it the perfect assistant to those who have balance limitations. Its height allows the user to be at the same level as other pedestrians. The U3-X will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show 2009 this month and may become available next year.

Via cnet

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October 2, 2009

Marvin the Robot Feeds Himself

Intel's Seattle lab has teamed with the University of Washington to create Marvin, a one-armed bot who travels via Segway. On display at some of their public events, he was also on hand during last week's annual open house. Aside from his usual tricks, he plugged himself into an electical outlet. Marvin can sense the energy from the outlet within about 2.5mm. So far his accuracy is at 93% and rejoices after his power meal by whirring, chirping and other botty noises. Researcher Brian Mayton says that service bots will need that ability as they will have to assist humans with limited maintenance and control.

Via Seattle Times

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September 28, 2009

Taizo Motivates Exercisers with Cuteness

Japan spends a lot of its time warning us about the size of their centenarian population (last report has it at 40,000.) The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) built Taizo (based on the word "taisou," which means "calisthenics,") to motivate their senior citizens to exercise more. With 26 joints, the 28" tall robo-instructor has up to 30 different moves. Taizo can go for about 2 hours on a charge, understands simple commands, can lead a group and will work for you at a price of ¥800,000 (~$8,000.00.)

Via Pink Tentacle

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September 23, 2009

Pet Care, Long Distance Surveillance


This silly WiFi Controlled prototype has been dubbed the Pet Care Robot. Utilizing a web interface, it supposedly allows you to check on your pet at home through its eerie camera eyes that work even at night, talk to it through a built-in speaker and play fetch with remote controlled ball.


The bot's site claims "Lemme babysit your pet," reminding us of a SNL skit with Chris Farley and Adam Sandler "Let the [Herlihy] boy walk your dog." We say skip the real pet and teach the PCR to vacuum.

Via Mint Pass

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September 21, 2009

Toy RC Sub Put to Work in Italian Sewers


An Italian company has been using a Neptune SB-1 remote control submarine to run fiber cables through sewers. The mini-sub is made by Thunder Tiger and comes at a price of about $600.00 from hobby shops. They say that the toy can reach almost every home that is connected to the sewer system and saves time, money and human resources. If other countries consider the idea, then it would a decent way to replace those who must go down and brave alligators.

Via Hobby Media (translated)

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September 16, 2009

BaR2D2 Hits the Discovery Channel


We really dig it when one of our buds here at Robot Snob gets some well-deserved publicity, so we just had to share. Nashville's Jamie Price, creator of BaR2D, was featured on the Discovery Channel Canada's Daily Planet show. He mentioned that he was thinking of making MP3PO next, a gold robot that would play DJ. Hit the link to see the video that features not only the mixolobot and Jamie, but a special cameo as well.

Via Discovery Channel Canada

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September 11, 2009

Tankspitstop Fills 'Em Up


We are not sure how we missed this one but somehow it deserves a "better late than never" mention. Last year, Nico van Staveren, gas station owner, came up with a car fueling robotic arm that opens the cars gas cover and unscrews it, takes the fuel nozzle and fills up the car. Staveren claims that he was inspired by a robotic arm milking a cow. The "Tankpitstops" are in several Dutch stations that can afford the $111,100.00 price tag.

Via Reuters

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September 10, 2009

Solo, the Sewer Inspector

RedZone Robotics has come up with a bot that will go down in those nasty sewers and inspect them or seek out abandoned crocodiles. With an easy to use interface, the autonomous Solo hits the murky depths in pipes from 8 to 12" and takes a 360º video that can be downloaded on a PC, unless it gets chomped on first. The inspector robot will launch at the WEFTEC in Orlando later this year.

Via Solo Splash

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September 4, 2009

RIBA Bear, Nursing Assistant

RIBA (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance) was created by Japan's RIKEN and Tokai Rubber as a nursing assistant. Weighing about 400 lbs., he can pick up patients who weigh as much as 135 lbs. and has a soft skin made of urethane foam for comfort. An upgraded version of RI-MAN that could only pick up 40 lbs., the robobear can process data 15 times faster than its predecessor. Look for one in the next five years in a hospital near you.

Via RIKEN (Japanese)

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