July 21, 2009

BERTIs Sing to UK Museum

Recently 3 BERTI robots made another appearance at the London Science Museum. Since the museum is now 100 years old, the bots sang happy birthday in its honor. Perhaps they could hire them out as singing telegrams.

Via ICCMR

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 17, 2009

QuicKART 2000 - No Big Whoop

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We admit we don't get out much these days, especially to mega stores, so when we saw this QuicKART 2000 at Target attached to a bunch of shopping carts, we had to check it out. The collector/security guard at the store let us take a picture of this robotic gadget that didn't seem to do much in the parking lot. Apparently you are supposed to lead it and it does the work, but he was pushing the sucker for all it was worth. Once it reached inside the doors, it shoved about one hundred carts a few feet in. That was it.

We expect that Target believes the hype that the company claims, that it reduces risk of injury, and employee turnover, faster recycle time of carts and an overall 50% productivity increase. After watching the rather puny employee struggle with it, we think that instead of spending a couple of thousand on the timesaver waster, they could throw a picnic for the employees or get them some decent health care.

Via Bla-Bla

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July 16, 2009

Support Your Local Robot

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It's hard to believe that robots are also having trouble finding a gig these days. Japan's industrial production has declined about 40% because of the recession. Sony cut out Aibo in 2006, Takara Tomy may not release future versions of its i-Sobot because of lagging sales and we all know what happened to Pleo. Even the Yaskawa Electric factory in Kyushu has shut down all but one of its robotic workers (shown here) that used to make more of his kind. A 2007 government plan called for a million robots to be working by 2025, but unless they become less expensive to create, that goal will probably not be achieved.

Via The Age

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July 15, 2009

Momozono Robot Ramen Features Robotic Chef

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Momozono Robot Ramen is a ramen shop that opened last November in Japan and has the distinction of its own robot chef. Customers place orders on a computer and can specify flavoring such as amount of soy sauce and salt, or richness of the stock. A human cooks the noodles while the chef-bot makes the blended soup. A conveyor belt takes it back to the real chef and he adds the noodles and topping. Although there are over 40 million permutations available and the process only takes about 2 minutes, owner Yoshihira Uchida spent about ¥20 million building it. Considering that the robot is limited in its chores, we hope he will also teach it to clean up afterward.

Via Mainichi News

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July 14, 2009

WatCleaner Rids Water of Garbage, Oil

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The IDC, Japan's International Design Competition, has bestowed an excellence award on the WatCleaner, a device that detects impurities in the water then disposes of them. The prototype will have enough sense to avoid living things and simply concentrate on oil or other forms of garbage. Made of plastic and aluminum, each will only be about 500 x 300 x 200 mm, and although no mention is made of how the cleaning bot will be powered, maybe it can run on the waste it absorbs.

Via JDF

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 13, 2009

RobotShop - Lots of Bots

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RobotShop is a resourceful site for almost everything robotic. They feature personal and professional bots, kits and development platforms, toys, vacuums, security and surveillance devices and parts for all of the above. The company provides international service and shipping as well as extensive customer service. And btw, we really dig their mascot.

Via RobotShop

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 6, 2009

SCRATCHbot Rescues in the Dark

The Bristol Robotics Lab and the University of Sheffield have created the SCRATCHbot (Spatial Cognition and Representation through Active TouCh.) The robotic rat can run through the dark and feel its way around with plastic whiskers. The robot's sensors actually sweep like their real life relatives. The team is hoping that they will be used for rescuing victims from smoke filled buildings. Looking at the SCRATCHbot's design, we think it's a good think it will be dark.

Via Daily Contributor

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June 24, 2009

JAST Robots Anticipate Human Needs

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The European Commission's Joint-Action Science and Technology researchers built a service bot that they say can anticipate needs of humans. The robot is programmed to help them put together a toy, pays attention to what part the person has, then finds the right tool to use. If a piece can be used in multiple ways, the bot will ask what the human is building to try to deal with a possible mistake.

The JAST team is hoping that it will lead to cooperative service bots who can anticipate and question human actions, as opposed to those that are pre-programmed. We figure that if they can let us know where our keys are, we are all for it.

Via JAST

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June 22, 2009

Ferret Narc Seeks Out Evils

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The University of Sheffield is in the midst of creating a robotic narc. This "ferret" uses lasers and fiber optics to find drugs, weapons, explosives and illegal immigrants! (Do you suppose it checks for a green card?) The 30cm long cargo sniffing bot will be placed in a container at airports or seaports and relay information as it moves inside. Sensors can detect evil drugs and carbon dioxide, which indicates a human. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the prototype will be tested in about 2 years and ready for work in about 5 years.

Via University of Sheffield

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Willow Garage Self-Feeding PR2

Willow Garage's alpha robot PR2 (Personal Robot 2) has some amazing abilities. On display at the beginning of June, he walked through 8 doors and maneuvered around obstacles, including humans, that may have been in his way in less than an hour. But the kick here is that PR2 also plugged himself in for a recharge 9 times and knew enough to not break into a door that was locked. Attaboy!

Via Willow Garage

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

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