August 27, 2008

ARoS Chastizes Co-Worker

Industrial robots will have to learn to get along with human co-workers as shown in this clip from the University of Minho, Portugal. Notice that the ARoS berates its helpmate when the human makes a mistake. After a second one, the bot again complains. We hope that at the very least they will make them with kinder tones in the future, say like Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, the voice behind the Star Trek's 'puter.

Via New Scientist

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July 29, 2008

Sixth Framework Creates Empathetic Robots


Feelix Growing is developing software that allows robots to express empathy. The bot features cameras and sensors and can identify a facial expression, a voice, and an emotional state. Coordinator Dr. Lola Canamero says that, "tactile feedback and emotional feedback through positive reinforcement, such as kind words, nice behavior or helping the robot do something if it is stuck."

The Sixth Framework Program has been going on for about 3 years with researchers from from 6 countries. They are hoping that adding this trait will make robots more accepted by those that use them.

Via ICT Results

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July 28, 2008

UK Border Patrol Hires a Hero


The U.K. has begun to use robots to inspect vehicles for illegal immigrants. Border officials say the the bots are about "the size of a briefcase," with hi-res video cameras, searchlights, four-wheel drive. In addition, they can be equipped with heartbeat detectors and sensors to identify chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear substances. Nicknamed Hero, the battery-powered bot searches underneath automobiles, buses, etc. as well as closed spaces. Each one costs about £6000 (~$12,000.00.)

Via Discover

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Reborg-Q Protects and Tells


Sohgo Security Services (ALSOK) has produced Reborg-Q, a security bot for Japanese shopping centers. Recently featured at the 2008 Security Show in Tokyo, the name itself comes from Star Trek's Q and the Borg. The robot has been on patrol for the last few months and checks for unauthorized people as well as water leaks or fires. Reborg-Q also features a touchscreen interface for giving weather, time, and missing kids information. One business used theirs to rat on employees working overtime. We suppose that makes up for the 380,000 yen ($3,543.00) per day fee that is charged to rent him.

<3 Yen

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July 23, 2008

Kiva Robots Get Warehouse Duty


Kiva Systems in Woburn, Mass., has gone into the robotics warehouse business. It consists of a central computer that keeps track of the bots and the racks in the building, then uses algorithms to plot their courses. Their efforts are to allow inventory items to come to the warehouse workers rather than the opposite. The squat robots hang under the racks, lift them up, and take them to their destination. They move along straight lines and make 90º turns when necessary. About 500 Kiva robots are already in a Staples in Pennsylvania and Walgreens' distribution center in Denver, Colorado utilizes them. Why do we get the feeling that soon the shelf stockers will be replaced as well?

Via Space Daily

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July 22, 2008

B21 Takes on Kitchen Duty

We can always use another kitchen bot. The B21 works by using the same tools that we do. Developed at the Technical University of Munich, this video displays a visualization of what it can do. The robotic chef uses RFID technology by embedding tags into each tool rather than its learning objects by shape. Even more impressive, the B21 can teach other robots. While it may not be fast food, it would certainly be efficient.

Via New Scientist Tech

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Speecys SPC-101C Surveillance Bot


Tomoaki Kasuga worked for Sony until he decided to begin his own robotics company Speecys. His latest SPC-101C has 17 servos for almost human movement, as well as dual stereo speakers and a built-in camera. The 13" tall bot weighs 3.3 lbs. and can perform such tricks as bending backwards. Kasuga's creation can be used for surveillance, as it has face and object recognition. SPC-101C has a 3D editor display window, can speak, and is wireless.

Via Speecys

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July 18, 2008

TMSUK-4 Goes Shopping


Robotics company tmsuk now has a telerobotic shopper. Demonstrated recently at the Izutsuya Department Store in Kitakyushu, Japan, the modified TMSUK-4 humanoid robot was controlled via a NTT DoCoMo video-capable cellphone at another location. Won't it be a great day when we can get our bots to buy our socks or shop for groceries without our having to be there?

Via Pink Tentacle

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July 17, 2008

SmartPal V Cleans Up


Yaskawa Electric has come up with the SmartPal V for domestic duties. Weighing about 280 lbs. and 52" tall, the robot tools around on wheels, has four CCD cameras and can move at a speed of 3.6 kpm. The bot knows its owner, can respond to questions, and can recognize items that need picking up. It will also interact with others of its ilk. While it can run for about 2 1/2 hours until it needs a charge, we think with the mess around here, we would be lucky to get an hour's work out of it.

Via Yaskawa

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July 16, 2008

Care-O-Bot 3 Service Robot


Care-O-Bot 3 is a prototype of the next generation of service robots. Created by the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, Germany, the 1.45 meter high robot has Stereo-vision color cameras, laser scanners and is aware of its surroundings. It can be controlled both manually and by spoken commands. The bot has a highly flexible arm which can pick up items without breaking them. It works similarly to Panasonic's DSM-Hand, but perhaps not as frightening.

Via Physorg

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