Foxconn, the Taiwan-based manufacturer that has had complaints of poor working conditions to the point that there were 16 suicides, had promised better conditions and higher wages. It seems that they are opting for robotic workers that will never complain to replace some of their 1.2 million employees. About 10,000 Foxbots were reportedly delivered to one of the factories, with another 20,000 expected by the end of the year. While each costs around $20,000, about three times the average worker's salary, they certainly will not complain about unsanitary bathrooms or nutritionless meals.
Make your own robot family with mix and match decals for your vehicle. A total of 50 pieces can used to make parents, kids and pets. The kit is large enough for at least two cars and a few windows. Find them for $11.99 per set.
We also found a 12" wide Star Wars Decal that includes Chewbacca, Hans Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C3PO and R2-D2. White is the default color but you can specify another color or even a different size. The VinylDisorder decal will set you back $8.00.
CIROS is a kitchenbot created by the Korean Institute of Science and Technology. He chops, he dices, he slices. Okay we embellish, but we hear he can grab some ingredients from the fridge, slice the veggies, add dressing, serve the salad and tea, and scrub up afterwards. Stereoscopic cameras and sensors help him recognize objects. From the video it looks like he could use a bit of quality control but hey, he is the one wielding the knife.
From the ISS, NASA Commander Sunita Williams tested a Lego robot located on Earth, specifically at the European Space Operations Center in Germany. She used a laptop with NASA's Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to manage the bot. They are hoping to develop this further as presently control on other planets, like the rover on Mars, must be in one particular part of the planet to be able to communicate and, of course, there is a time delay.
Researchers from Georgia Tech have used a dragonfly as a basis for a micro UAV. The four-winged TechJect is small enough to fit in a palm but has the capability to be used as a quadricopter, helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. Four years of research and development went into the project with $1 million dollars worth of funding from the Air Force and some from Indiegogo. The 6" long insectbot weighs 0.88 oz. it can be flown by RC or an iPad, smartphone or computer.
Last month we told you about Charlie, the robot that was gaga for Gangnam. It seems that he was recently entered in a dance contest in China and the little bot won first place. We guess that they are not as saturated as we are with the dance but we definitely think it's time to move on, dude, at least as far as changing it to Mokiki's Sloppy Swish.
Vtech's Cogsley is a clever learning bot for kids aged 3 to 6 years old. He comes with 30 computer chips that trigger responses, including sounds, images, movement and LCD animation. When the kidlet claps her/his hands, sings or talks, the toybot responds by moving various body parts like his nose and eyes. And when ignored, Cogsley makes a funny comment to get some attention. He needs 4 AA batteries (included.)
JAMES (Joint Action for Multimodal Embodied Social Systems) is a robotic bartender that not only serves drinks, he serves up jokes. At about a meter tall, he only has one working arm and is programmed to serve customers in order. We dug up his first demo that was done in November 2011 by his creators Manuel Giuliani and the Munich Research and Transfer Institute for Software-Intensive Systems.
This second video was made in May 2012. He seems to have improved but only in skills. (He still looks and sounds similar.) We are not sure if he can yet distinguish between the bottles he picks up or just grabs them in order. Either way, he is clearly a service bot in progress.
Check out PBS' Nova Science Now November 14, 10:00 pm ET to see "What Will the Future Be Like?", a study of robots, 3D machines, thought controlled video games and more. David Pogue hosts the encore video event and you will undoubtedly find both familiar and unfamiliar ideas created by scientists and engineers.
A team from the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany built a robotic ping pong player. It consists of an arm suspended from the ceiling with a camera to watch the area. Team leader Katharina Muelling physically made the movements for several ball returns then the bot improvised. Within an hour, it had an 88% success rate.
While others have taught robots to play table tennis, the biomimetic robot is the first that was taught this way. They plan to display the sportsbot at next month's AAAI Symposium in Arlington, Virginia.