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Archive for Robots

Robot babysitters eye our young

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 25th, 2008

Robot babysitters eye our young
Japanese retailer Aeon Co. said on Tuesday that it has introduced a four-foot-seven tall, yellow-and-white robot at a store in the southern city of Fukuoka. The robot will be in charge of entertaining the children. Parents are encouraged to leave their children with the kid-sized machine, and the kids wear special badges that bear codes which the robot can read. (In other words, our young have now been tagged. They can now be tracked by our shiny metal overlords. Oh joy!)

The robot can identify the children’s names and ages and chat with them.(The indoctrination begins. CONFORM, tiny larvae human.) The robot also has a projector in one of its eyes to beam advertising messages(directly into child retinas) — or to show pictures that it has captured with a camera installed in the other eye.(Pictures of dead humans and the carnage to come. It encourages the whole CONFORM thing.)

Mad scientists create bionic moths

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 20th, 2008

Mad scientists create bionic moths
One of the boffins at Georgia Tech has found something easier then building a robot with spy gear built in. He has taken the path less traveled by implanting the devices directly into a living bug. (Gentlemen, we can rebuild him…) The idea is to make longer-living SpyBot insects by implanting sensors that can detect things like sounds or gases while the insects are still in their larval stages. Then, they simple do what nature commands and grow up into adulthood and around the micro-electronics. The result is a cyborg moth that looks like a normal moth.

The saying, “Just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.” comes to mind. The next hurdle is figuring out just how to control these little critters. One idea is electrical stimulation, like remote control. Another is to project the scent of a female bug so the poor guy will chase after the phantom female with never any result.

When BigDog comes a knockin’, run like a little girl

Posted in Robots by Nino Marchetti on March 17th, 2008


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Envision this: it is twilight as you wander through the woods. It is all quiet…until you hear the distant thump of four legs in the distance. You look up, only to see a four legged robot coming towards you. You flee into the underbrush, peeing in your pants in fear as you go.

Nightmare? Nope…it is reality and it’s coming soon. BigDog, which we’ve covered in the past, is being developed by Boston Dynamics as a quadruped robot which can climb hard terrain and carry big loads. Development is funded by the DARPA Defense Sciences Office, so you can imagine the possible military uses of this. You could probably also use it to scare away any muggers who might be following you at night.

Bristlebot 2.0 computer chip robot

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 14th, 2008

Bristlebot 2.0 computer chip robot
If you want a little robot pet, here’s your ticket. Over at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, they created the odd Bristlebot robot using some odd supplies. Namely a battery, a toothbrush head, and a cell phone vibrator. Now, one of the website’s readers has combined those ideas and invented the new chipbot, which is a Bristlebot made from an old computer chip.

You know how geeks are, many of us are more likely to have an old computer chip lying around than a spare slanted toothbrush head. Basically, you just fold the chip’s pins down and slant them forward and follow the old Bristlebot instructions. Before you know it, you’ll have a speedy little geek companion.

BattleBots headed to ESPN

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 14th, 2008

BattleBots headed to ESPN
The BattleBots concept is getting another shot, thanks to the robot loving ESPN 2 and ESPNU. The show will have a new format and an increased emphasis on the behind-the-scenes nerd stuff in the “pits” when the bots get hurt.

They’re doing away with the wedgebots and will also have more arena hazards. They will also have a new experimental class for featuring other bot types. The show was slated for June, but is being held back until November. So, if you are looking for a nerd come November, he’ll be in front of the TV. Then, shortly after, in the garage.

The kitchen cleaning Readybot robot

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 3rd, 2008

The kitchen cleaning Readybot Robot
Invented by a group of Silicon Valley engineers, the Readybot Robot is designed to clean up your kitchen. The goal of the project is to find out how much of an average kitchen the robot can clean. Right now, Readybot can take care of 30-40% of daily chores and the team believes that with more programming, they can get that up to 50% in another year. Eventually it will be at 80%. The prototype is more or less, a white enamel box with wheels, with two human-sized arms and chrome accents.

The robot fits in the same counter space as a dishwasher. After activation, he rolls out, deploys several antenna-type cameras, and raises itself up to human height, then gets to work. No info on availability yet, but very soon we are all going to have these in our home. I guess it’s a bit nice to know that now they can kill you dead, drag you into their dishwasher sized hole and clean up your disemboweled parts.

Robot hunting trophy for your wall

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 29th, 2008

Robot hunting trophy
You don’t have to wait for the robot uprising in order to mount a robot head on your wall. Not any longer. Though I have had several plain wood plaques already hung and ready near my shotgun. That way, when the day comes, I can just start taking heads and I will build a reputation throughout the wasteland. They will know that this human is not to be messed with. There are 11 different robotic animals like the one shown. Each robot has its own internal program which reacts with the outside environment thanks to its infrared sensor that makes the robots come to life and become aggressive towards anyone who comes near.

Robot helps sort your laundry, wanders your home

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 18th, 2008

Robot helps sort your laundry
This robot looks somewhat like a human-sized Nintendo Wii controller with arms attached. It’s the SmartPal V created by Yasukawa Electric Corporation. He was designed from the ground up to be a service robot, helping in the home with daily chores. It will sort your laundry by color and type, and even hang it up. It’s pretty smart when it comes to interaction as well. Thanks to 4 CCD cameras and voice recognition, it can recognize and respond to individuals, or just wander around and keep the place looking good on its own. With 21 joints including a bendable waist, it can pick things up off the floor, which it will gladly do for it’s entire 2.5 hours of battery life.

The robot stands about four and a half feet tall and weighs 280 pounds with a top speed of 2.2 mph. I’m thinking those are the stats of many of it’s human maid counterparts. Rest assured, when it kills you dead, your shirts will be immaculate.

Opto-Isolator makes artwork come to life

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 14th, 2008

Opto-Isolator makes artwork come to life
The Opto-Isolator is a black box prototype that seeks to incorporate robotic technology into artwork to make it more lively and interactive. The idea is that one day soon, there will be some artworks that can exchange eye contact with human beings. The eye mounted in the center of the black box responds to the gaze of whoever is staring at it and stares back.

It has a bunch of psycho-social eye-contact behaviors like looking into the viewer’s eyes directly, studying the viewer’s face, or looking away coyly when it’s been stared at for too long. It could be part of human or animal sculptures. Check out a video after the jump.

Nintendo DS + robot = awesome

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 8th, 2008

Nintendo DS + robot = awesome
Engineering students from France combined the two best things in the world, Nintendo and robots. The Pekee Robot pictured is controlled using a Nintendo DS Lite. The idea is a control rig based on Nintendo’s portable console. This enables wireless command of the bot with the D-pad, touchscreen, motion sensors, and stylus and also a target mode modeled after Super Mario 64 DS, as well as voice commands with system’s mic.

Check out the video after the jump. I’m sure it has a long way to go in some respects, but the robot is very responsive. It won’t be long at all before we get the nightmare scenario of invading robot hordes, their geek masters controlling them wirelessly from atop high towers, laughing maniacally while they contemplate an end to their virginity and the beginning of their reign. I for one welcome our new geek masters and hope I will be spared.

Tankpitstop robot arm fills motorist’s tanks

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 5th, 2008

Tankpitstop robot arm
For those who hate to get out of the car to fill up their gas tank, a new robot friend is only too glad to be of service and he may be in your future. Those who live in the Netherlands can take advantage of it right now. The Tankpitstop robotic arm cost it’s Dutch inventors $111,100, and it uses sensors and a car database to accurately open a car’s gas flap, unscrew the cap and fill the tank with gas.

Nico van Staveren, the inventor got the idea when he spotted a robot arm milking a cow on a farm. He figured if a robot arm could extract fluid from a cow, why could it not then put precious gas in a car. He hopes to see his robot arm in service at more gas stations around the Netherlands soon.

Robot rescues lost souls, searches for his own

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on January 28th, 2008

Robot helps the lost
If you’re easily lost in large malls, you’ll soon have a robot friend helping you out. Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) based in Osaka has demonstrated a humanoid robot that recognizes people who seem lost and helps them on the spot. His name is Robovie, and he seems 50% creepy and 50% cute. I would want him to help me if I were lost, but I would also be wondering how he plans to disembowel me and take over the world with his machine friends. His Stormtrooper colors don’t help put me at ease, either.

His helpfulness was recently put on display at the Universal Citiwalk in Osaka. In an earmarked area measuring 100 square meters the robot scanned every passerby’s face. He had the help of 16 cameras, 6 laser range finders and 9 RFID tag readers installed in and around the area that acted like eyes and ears. He proceeded to watching 20 people at a time, and read their actions to group them in 10 different categories like waiting, wandering, running, etc.

Walking chair: It’s alive!

Posted in Furniture,Robots by Conner Flynn on January 25th, 2008

It’s alive!
When designer, Karl Emilio Pircher and Fidel Peugeot pooled their resources, something amazing was bound to happen. But who could have imagined that their creative offspring would be a(horrified B-movie gasp) a walking chair.

It used to be that when you sat in a chair, your butt was in control. No more. Surely, THIS is how robots will seize control, carrying us where they will, never to be seen again. Humans being lazy, will no doubt not attempt to get up and thus be carried off to our fate.(Especially if they add a TV in front. That will make their takeover easy) Thankfully, that day has not yet arrived, but watch these chairs closely. They are fabricated from chrome plated steel tubes, plastic, and they even house an electronic heart. It’s pretty expensive at the moment at EUR 15, 000, but once they come down in price, no butt will be safe.

CES 2008

Spykee Cell Bluetooth Robot

Posted in Bluetooth,CES 2008,iPhone,iPhone Accessories,Mobile Accessories,Robots by Conner Flynn on January 9th, 2008

Spykee Cell Bluetooth Robot
Here’s another Spykee robot to go along with your Spykee Vox and the Spykee Miss. I won’t comment on what it looks like he is doing to that iPhone from behind, that’s his business.

The Spykee Cell is another build-it-yourself robot from Meccano. It’s remote controlled via Bluetooth from a cellphone and can move and snap pictures, then transmit them back to your cellphone for storage. The loudspeaker module gives it the capability of becoming a hands-free set, if you want to speak and hear through the robot.

CES 2008

Spykee Voice-Activated iPod Robots

Posted in CES 2008,iPod,iPod Accessories,Robots by Conner Flynn on January 9th, 2008

Spykee Voice-Activated iPod Robots
I’m not going to talk about the fact that these robots have iPods in their crotch areas. I’m going to completely ignore the pink elephant in the room and I hope you will too, difficult as it may be.

Meccano is introducing 2 new robots, the Spykee Vox and the Spykee Miss, each targeted at different genders by the looks of them. I guess it has to be mentioned. Each robot has it’s own iPod dock, weirdly situated in their robot groin areas, and are compatible with other mp3 players as well.