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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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,
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.
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.
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.)