October 16, 2008

Repliee R-1, Disturbing Child Bot


We hope that when Japan starts releasing service bots for all of us that the scientists consult someone who can design a face that is not this creepy. Repliee R-1 comes from Osaka University and is meant to resemble a 5 year-old. Designed for the elderly, she has 50 sensors and several motors to make "her" seem more human. Apparently she will be able to move, interact and fetch.

Via Telegraph

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

October 14, 2008

Zeno, The Friendly Bot


David Hanson created a robotics company of the same name and developed Zeno, a 17" boy toy who can recognizes faces, smiles, laughs and remember your name. Although he is still at the prototype stage, Hanson will keep working on it because, as he says, "We want to be damn sure that by the time [robots] become as smart as we are, they have a conscience and compassion and that we are friends. There's no guarantee. They could be psychotic."

We hope not, David! Zeno frequently makes appearances so check out his site for his touring schedule.


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

October 13, 2008

Enon Quizzes Museum Visitors


Fujitsu recently updated their Enon robot. The service bot is now a smaller size and has additional safety functions. Enon is meant for providing information, assisting the disabled, acting as a security guard, or for delivery. If you are fortunate enough to get to Tokyo some day, you can find one permanently at work as a visitor's guide at the Kyotaro Nishimura Museum. It includes a quiz about the works of the mystery novelist. Those who pass receive a certificate for their efforts, but be sure to brush up on your Japanese first.

Via Fujitsu

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

October 1, 2008

Europe Works on Robotics Quietly


Europe, like the U.S., usually prefers their robots to look like machines while the Japanese are comfortable with humanoid shaped bots because the Shinto religion believes that machines can have souls, according to robotics researcher Bruno Siciliano. As examples of some of the humanoid bots in Europe, check out those made at the Robotics Lab at the University Carlos III of Madrid like Maggie, a robot built to study human robot interaction, intelligence, and autonomy.

Via Physorg

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September 26, 2008

Wakamaru to Debut in SoHo

A while back, we told you about TMSUK-4, the shopping bot used in Japan. It turns out that Wakamaru, a similar bot created by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, will be making is debut in the States at the UNIQLO SoHo store in NYC. While we cannot visit the robot personally, if you are in NY and happen to be passing by, let us know if Wakamaru has arrived and send pix!

Via Tokyo Mango

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

September 15, 2008

Le Trung Builds Aiko to Serve

Canadian Le Trung was so inspired as a kid with Robot Anime that he decided to build Aiko. She can move around, "feel" pain, and speaks both English and Japanese. Trung plans to add other features in the future, including facial expressions, the ability to make tea, coffee, and bacon and eggs, clean his toilet, feed him sushi, and be able to massage his shoulders and neck. Uh-huh.

via Project Aiko

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

September 10, 2008

Rodney Brooks to Start Heartland Robotics


MIT and iRobot's Rodney Brooks is about to start his own company, Heartland Robotics, which will assist American workers to become more productive. He believes, as do we at Robot Snob, that the industry is about to take off.

"Just as computers we interact with personally transformed our lives over the last 25 years, so, too, will robots transform our lives over the coming 25. And it just so happens that Massachusetts is the epicenter of this nascent industry," Brooks said.

We hope we will be around to see the change.

Via Information Week

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September 9, 2008

Helicopters Learn Stunts by "Watching"


File this under more autonomous bots. Scientists from Stanford University have developed an artificial intelligence program that teach ordinary toy helicopters to fly. This is accomplished by them "watching" a regular R/C vehicle flown by a human pilot. The copters were recently tested doing such maneuvers as rolls, flips, loops, stall-turns and other difficult feats. The researchers say that future applications could include land mine searching or wildfire spotting.

Via Physorg

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

September 3, 2008

SuperVision 250 Scans Sewers


The EPA seems to be concerned about sewer and storm pipes that are leaking. So they have employed the Envirosight SuperVision 250 to go where humans would rather not. It can be put in 10 - 72" diameter pipes while its operators watch the feed from a 10x optical zoom auto-focus camera. They can also pan and tilt the device. The crawler is made of stainless steel and a sapphire window for protection against sewer evils and can travel as far as 1,640 ft. before running out of cord.

Via Wired

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

August 28, 2008

Man Threatens to Shoot Robot


Last Thursday, burglary suspect James A. Prevatt III had been in a Maryland motel room with his pregnant girlfriend when he went a bit nutso. Wanted in four states, he claimed that he would detonate a bomb or set fire in his room. So the man was sent pizza and soda by a robot, but Prevatt threatened to shoot it and didn't take the food. Granted the man was probably exhausted and said that he had been doing some drugs, but that was no excuse to inflict violence on the messenger. He was finally nabbed by humans when the bot brought munchies-curing hamburgers, soda, and cigarettes the next day. No explosives were found.


Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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