If you have ever hung out with cows, then you know that they are brighter than they look. They like to keep to their schedules, get milked when they are full, go home at the end of the day and be fed on time. So it is a good thing that Lely's Astronaut A4 is there for them. Each cow wears a collar and the Milkobot determines which one steps in to feed, her schedule and proceeds to milk her, all without the assistance of a human. The A4 releases one if it is too soon to milk and alerts the farmer if one has not shown up in a while.
About 180 cows can be serviced daily. The Dutch company's service bot has a 3D camera to keep an eye on the bovine being serviced, can analyze both the cow's condition and the milk, and will sing her a tune when she finishes her meal. Okay, maybe not that last part. But we say this $210,000 milker seems pretty cool and if a farmer pipes in some soothing tunes that will make for some very happy cows.
If Jeremy Robbins had his way, telepresence robots would be operated by disabled military and police veterans. Using bots designed for military applications, the U.S. Navy Reserve commander gave Florida International University $20,000 of his own money two IHMC custom bots to develop them with audio, video and sensory capability.
Patrolbot will be designed for high-density public spaces and as surveillance in hot spots like nuclear facilities. The eventual goal here is to make them affordable and put those back into the workforce who would not necessarily have that chance. All we can say is that the idea sounds fine, but they had better be built solidly or they risk getting knocked over in the first riot they come across.
Tal Avitzur hangs out in Southern California scrap and salvage yards, happily recycling items he finds there into amazingly detailed artwork. These are not your basic robotic sculptures. For example Primo stands over a foot tall, is made with a sliding door mechanism, drill guide, refrigerator door handles and a blinking red LED to alert you to any impending takeover.
Check out his web page and if you like what you see, you can adopt one of his botty creations for a price between $650 and $1,800.
Take a fun bath with the Alex Mix and Squirt Robots. The three can be mixed and matched, then easily snapped together. Safe for ages as young as toddlers, we can think of some adults who would like them as well.
For older kids, the Edushape Magic Creations Playset comes with 20 foam pieces that stick to any smooth surface when wet.The kidlets may actually stay in there long enough to get clean.
Robosavvy is a company that is attempting to make HRIs more social. Their
SavvyBot is a software platform that, used in conjunction with a NAO, interacts with humans via search and social networking. The receptionbot addresses passers by and will friend the human via Facebook. It then offers a picture opportunity, analyzes Likes and makes comments about them, and perhaps dances to a fave tune. The software is available to those who are looking replace a human in such areas as reception and information.
Have an extra $16,000 sitting around? Then you can be the proud owner of Suitable Technogies' Beam Remote Presence Robot. The telepresence bot comes with software and a docking station for an 8-hour recharge. The included software allows full audio and video control from two cameras and is available on both PC and Mac. At a height of five feet and weighing 95 lbs, the 17" screen can perform all those videoconferencing business chores while you hang at home. We were thinking that the Woz could finally replace his Segway.
The Kickstart Kinetic Orthosis was is intended for use in those who have walking issues or spinal chord injuries. Consisting of a hip belt, upright supports and custom molded insoles, the device stores kinetic energy from the legs and uses it to propel the foot. Lightweight, no batteries or other attachments are needed. After a physician must recommends one, the patient gets a custom fit through Cadence Biomedical.
The Human Support Robot is part of Toyota's plan to provide more home assistance to the planet. The HSR fetches, cleans up items from the floor or counter and can even handle curtains. The telescoping bot has a range of 2.7 - 4.3 feet and a single arm with a range of 2.7. Still in the prototype stage, the company says that Japanese public health insurance should cover 90% of its cost.
Holiday commercials get earlier every year. Just last week we saw Elmo popping up on TV ads. This year they are re-introducing "Let's Rock! Elmo", the version that sings six different songs and comes with drums, tambourine and microphone. We suppose that toddlers continue to fall for the red Muppet, unlike parents who are probably sick of hearing him giggle endlessly.