August 17, 2012

Must Have: xkcd Explores Robot Apocalypse

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Randall Munroe has come up with what he believes would happen when the robot apocalypse occurs. His theory, one that we secretly agree with, is that left to their own devices, robots are too clumsy to beat us. Besides, all we need to do if our Roomba tries to corner us is install more shag carpet. Check out his site, xkcd, for this and other answers to obvious questions and revel in his comic genius and stick-figured wit.

Via xkcd

Read More in: Must Have Robot Friday | Robot Art

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August 16, 2012

DARPA Supports Meshworm Development

Researchers from MIT, Harvard and Seoul National University are working on an autonomous wormbot that moves across a surface by contracting nickel-titanium body segments via running currents. Made of soft materials, you can even step on Meshworm or give it a couple of hammer hits and it just keeps on trucking slithering. The project was funded by DARPA and future applications may include navigating in rough terrain or tight places.

Via MIT

Read More in: Military Robots | Robot Science/Medicine | Robot Videos

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August 15, 2012

Furby II Early Debut

It looks like Hasbro just couldn't wait until the proper holiday season so their
new Furby will be out this September and can be pre-ordered now. Available in five different colors, this Furby will respond to tickling, patting and other human manipulations. A free optional app for feeding and Furbish translation is available for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone with iOS 4.2 or later. It remains to be seen if this reincarnation is a hit or a miss.

Via New Furby

Read More in: Robot Toys | Robot Videos

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August 14, 2012

Thermite Fights Fires

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Brothers Geoffrey and Michael Howe build robots for the military and decided that there was a need for one that fights fires. The Thermite weighs 1,400 pounds, stands about 4 feet tall and moves on a track for now. Running on diesel, it has video and infrared cameras so it can be remotely operated.

Geoffrey calls it the "Swiss Army knife of robotic responses" since it can operate with various attachments, like a hydraulic arm for saving humans. After spending a couple of years testing the firebot, the twins have already sold a couple of them and we hope more adoptions will take place in the future.

Via MPBN

Read More in: Service Robots

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August 13, 2012

Olympics Assist With RC Minis

In an effort to show that they were a proud sponsor of the Olympics 2012, BMW utilized some oversized RC Mini Coopers to clean the field of wayward discuses, hammers and javelins. Built to scale, they are not exactly a toy that you can bring home, but maybe this 1/14 Mini will suffice as a means of cleaning up discarded socks, empty beer cans and assorted dust bunnies.

Via USA Today

Read More in: Robot Vehicles | Robot Videos

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August 10, 2012

Must Have: Robotic Bouncing Balls

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Activate the Robotic Laser Ball by clapping and it will spin, move and rotate around the room. It flashes lighets and plays music which can thankfully be turned off after a time if you want to try it on a reticent pet. The Lanard self-bouncing Fusion Ball spins, wiggles and jumps to techno tunes and needs 3 AA batteries (included.)

Via Robotic Balls

Read More in: Must Have Robot Friday | Robot Toys

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August 9, 2012

Yeosu Expo 2012 Features Robotic Cast

Those who are lucky enough to attend South Korea's Yeosu Expo 2012 will be treated to about 70 robot buds including Mero, EveR-4 and DARwin-OP. Daewoo created an aquarium with a school of fishbots. The event runs May 12 - August 12 and also features music, live aquariums, a 3D virtual cyber experience, cultural performances, displays and of course plenty to eat. Tickets are still available for $30.00 for adults and $9.00 for kids and seniors,

Via Yeosu Expo 2012

Read More in: Humanoid Robots | Robot Videos

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August 8, 2012

Become a Robot Warrior With Kuratas

Ripley, eat your heart out. For a mere $1.35 million, you can get your own Kuratas Mobile Suit. Made by Suidobashi Heavy Industries, it was designed by artist Kogoro Kurata and robotics expert Wataru Yoshizaki. After getting in its "cockpit", the user can move arms, torso and wheels and make phone calls.

Its Lohas Launcher fires off BBs from its twin gatling guns if the pilot smiles. They insist that this will not actually hurt anyone. The Karatas operates under the OS Vi-Sido, runs on diesel fuel and can even be operated without someone being inside. Let's not forget the humongous warrior is customizable so if you add camouflage, no one will ever suspect you are out to get them.

Via Suidobashi

Read More in: Miscellaneous Robots | Robot Videos

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August 7, 2012

Jake Donated as Helper to Quadriplegic

Last Week CBS News put the spotlight on our beloved Willow Garage,\ with a story about Jake, one of their PR2s that they donates as a personal service bot. Henry Evans became a quadriplegic after suffering a stroke at the age of 40.

The report makes an obvious point that the disabled want to do things for themselves as opposed to having a human do it for them. Henry can program Jake to help him shave, scratch and perform other chores.

Via CBS

Read More in: Service Robots

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August 6, 2012

Curiosity Reaches Mars

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It's sometimes difficult to imagine good weather in outer space, but it seems that Mom Nature provided just that for the landing of Curiosity. It took eight months and 350 million miles to make it to Mars this morning after "seven minutes of terror." It then sent a signal via NASA's Odyssey orbiter because Earth was beneath Mars' horizon.

For the next two years the rover will climb up Mount Sharp to study clay and sulfate and see if conditions are favorable for supporting microbial life (unless the Martians object.)

Via NASA

Read More in: Robot Vehicles

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