It seems that a robot developed by Chiba Institute and a Honeywell T-Hawk drone helicopter have failed in their efforts at the still crippled nuclear power plant in Japan. The first bot was sent into Unit 2 to set up a gauge for measuring contamination, got stuck in a staircase landing and couldn't release the gauge properly. The drone sent to sample radiation suffered an engine malfunction and had to land on the roof. Hopefully, future efforts will be more successful.
The IASG at Technische Universität München in Germany have created TUM-James and TUM-Rosie, who can shop, then cook and serve. Utilizing PR2s, the bots even learn from their mistakes when preparing breakfast. Check out the video that shows them in action and try to ignore the somewhat silly background music.
When The Atlantis makes its final flight July 8, it will be carrying a Robotic Refueling Mission along to determine the best way to refuel satellites in space. After Dextre attaches to the exterior of the ISS, the remote controlled filler-up-bot will practice by unsealing them, transferring fluid and resealing them for future use. They are hoping for it to be able to do repairs as well. If the 12 day RRM is successful, NASA is planning to literally seal the deal by 2013.
We don't know how we missed this one, but it seems that Tim Pryde's final project for the University of Dundee is Don-8r (Donator.) He was designed to panhandle to support the venture and help to provide funding to the Dundee Science Center. From the looks of the vidder, no one can resist the little beggar.
Steven Hall and Randy Price of the LSU AgCenter have found an answer to the question, how do you keep predator birds away from growing catfish and crawfish in ponds? The answer is Scarebot, a robotic boat that is solar powered and tools around about 5 - 7 mph. When its IR sensor knows a bird is nearing, it triggers a water canon to chase it away.
The bot recently gained attention from John Cole of Tennessee's Mt. Pelia Innovative Solutions who sees the Scarebot as a good thing and will help fund its production.
The University of Chicago recently completed work on an $81 million Joe and Rita Mansueto Library. The five story underground building houses all their books and keeps them preserved. A human opens one of 35,000 metal bins, then one of five robot cranes takes the tome chosen by bar code to the surface to be read in the Grand Reading Room.
Ruth, a Robotized Unit for Tactility and Haptics, has been used by Ford in their research center in Germany to help develop better vehicles. Engineers taught her to "feel" what humans like with sensitive fingers and so that she can predict what new components will be desirous to them. Ruth has worked on operation of switches and textures of material. The center claims the recent attempt at developing a better steering wheel ended up with a 92% accuracy of judging what humans would prefer.
Fraunhofer has developed a sensor system that, with its remote, can move a robotic arm. Its technology is so advanced that it can catch a ball or move when the remote does. Algorithms help the technology detect movement and the European group hopes that future applications will include service robots and act as a prosthesis. The arm will be unveiled at a Nuremberg trade fair this June.
The PR2 is back in botty news as a team from Stanford has been working on an "autonomous checkout clerk." The grocerybot has a 3D sensor and can grasp, read and sort a bar code. It will put the selected item in a bag with a 91.6% success rate out of 100 products. It won't set any speed records and won't protect your perishables when bagging, but it certainly is a noteworthy accomplishment.
Today Angry Bird, tomorrow Super Mario. While it may never have the addiction to Angry Birds that humans have, OptoFidelity's robot can beat you at the game. The team pre-programmed the best way to play each level and the bot took it from there. This video certainly makes it official. By the way, these bots also have a day job testing touch panels in mobile devices.