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Archive for Robots

Astronomical Observatory turned into a giant R2-D2

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on June 4th, 2010

Pranks are fun as long as no one gets hurt. When you can put a geeky twist on a prank, it can be gold. That’s what we have here. Pure nerd gold. See that giant R2-D2? It used to be an observatory.

Well, until students at Minnesota’s Carleton College turned the campus astronomical observatory into a giant R2-D2. Man, I hope the Empire can’t see that from space. They might come looking for the Death Star plans.

Robot marries couple in Japan

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on May 17th, 2010

Here’s a heartwarming story of two robot geeks that fell in love and were then married by a robot. Tomohiro Shibato and Satoko Inoue were married in a ceremony conducted by none other than the 4-foot tall i-Fairy robot.

We aren’t sure if that is actually legal in Japan. And if it isn’t, this guy has a legal way out at some point. At the very least I hope this same robot will handle the divorce. We hear that some Roomba’s walked her down the aisle and Asimo caught the bouquet, while Bender smoked a cigar in back and proclaimed, “I’d hit that”.

Robot Matryoshkas

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on May 10th, 2010

Robots don’t always have to be scary. Sometimes they can be cute and geeky, like these awesome robot Nesting Dolls (Matryoshkas). It’s a new take on the classic old Russian Toy.

These nesting dolls have been designed to look like cool retro robots. And when you have robots within robots, does anything get any funner? Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I like these and at just $14.99, I have money left over to buy other robots too.

Callo and Cally cellphone robots are cute, creepy

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on May 7th, 2010

These cellphone bots were developed by PhD student Ji-Dong Yim and Prof Chris D. Shaw at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University, Canada. They are capable of displaying facial expressions to let you know of their moods, while also performing gestures and dancing when you get an incoming call.

It uses the Nokia N82′s camera to detect human faces and will mimic arm gestures using hand tracking. These bots are pretty cute. Almost too cute. Like they will get up to no good when you turn your back.

World’s first remote heart operation using a robotic arm

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on May 4th, 2010

I’m not sure that I would want to be the patient here, but a cardiologist has completed the world’s first remote heart operation at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, UK. The procedure was done using the Remote Catheter Manipulation System, which was built by New Jersey’s Catheter Robotics.

One of the many challenges faced by surgeons with operations like these is the prolonged exposure to the X-Rays used to monitor the patient, but using this method, the operation can be performed over the Internet from anywhere in the world.

50 awesome papercraft robots

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on May 3rd, 2010

We’ve seen our share of cool papercraft projects around here. We just wish we had time to put them all together. Over at our robot site Botropolis, we’ve compiled fifty papercraft robots, which should keep you busy for a while.

Robots will be the death of you and I one day, so we may as well build some cool paper toys to play with and display. Many of these are as good as having an actual action figure and they cost much less.

Lego robot plays Tetris

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on April 21st, 2010

We’ve seen our share of robots and we’ve seen our share of Tetris related items. But until now, the two have never collided in such a cool way. This robot plays Tetris! Branislav Kisacanin’s Tetris-Bot uses a video camera to watch the computer screen and determine which shape is which and where to put them.

That info is then sent to a Lego Mindstorm NXT robot, who hovers over the keyboard with three fingers. You might also notice the R.O.B.-like head too.

Roboplant, the walking robot plant team

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on April 11th, 2010

Roboplant also known as the Nomadic Plant is a working art project by Gilberto Esparza. It’s powered by microbial energy and it’s sole goal in life is to supply its microbes with nutrients, while at the same time cleaning up the environment. It’s a win for the Bot and a win for the environment.

A plant is riding along and getting some extra nutrients for itself. So when Roboplant finds polluted water and takes a drink and top off its microbial fuel cells, the plant eats too.

Segway robots now training Australian snipers

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on April 8th, 2010

Snipers are used to using cardboard cutouts of bad guys to practice their deadly arts, but they have long needed better practice targets that move. As usual, robots are the answer. The Australian Defense Force and Marathon Robotics took a bunch of two-wheeled RMP 200 Segway robots, and placed hoodies on them just for kicks.

The robots are programmed to wander around randomly on the course just like people walking about and minding their own business. When the sniper picks off his target, the remaining robots all scatter automatically. Again just like people who are terrified and screaming.

Honda redesigns Asimo

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 23rd, 2010

It’s been awhile since Honda redesigned Asimo. 13 years to be exact. The P4 looks a bit more streamlined than the P3, but as you can see it’s still the same basic bulky bot we know and love.

The P4 robot is about the same height as the P3, standing at 160cm tall, but the weight has been reduced from 130kg to 80kg. There are also some blue covers on the upper torso and feet and he has 34 degrees of freedom, 4 more than the P3. A flexible waist improves walking and presumably running and dancing as well.

Lego Mindstorms robot powered by Nokia N900, Twitter

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 23rd, 2010

Is there an area of our lives that Twitter has not taken over? Not anymore. Twitter has many uses and one of those uses is commanding robots like this Lego Mindstorm robot. It’s controlled by a Nokia N900 phone and users can tweet commands to the @N900Niko account and tell Niko the robot what to do. Stuff like, move forward, turn around or take a photo with the N900.

Photos are posted on Twitter using Twitpic. While you aren’t likely to see anything shocking, you’ll see plenty of floor, some chairs, maybe a trashcan. Who knows, it may go all Alfred Hitchcock and let you witness a murder. Probably not though.

Recycling Robot sorts plastic

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 3rd, 2010

Most plastics in stores, in our homes and in our recycling bins are recyclable, but not very much of that actually gets recycled. Only about 6%. And that’s understandable. It’s hard for humans to sort through all those types of plastics. Plus we’re lazy and we tend to daydream a lot. That’s where a robot comes in handy.

This robot was designed by Mitsubishi and Osaka University and uses lasers to sort through all kinds of plastics very quickly. It has five different lasers that measure the reflectivity of each kind of plastic, allowing it to sort them all out.

Green Max Robot Toilet Transformer

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 22nd, 2010

When is the last time you saw a toilet Transformer? It’s a first for me too. There’s actually a toilet maker called TOTO in Japan, who makes “Greenmax” toilets. To market these porcelain thrones they are using this robot action figure. TOTOROBO’s signature catchphrase? That would be “Protect the Earth, GMAX! Ready – Switch, on!”.

It’s too bad that with all the good the company does the environment with their toilets, the creation of this plastic toy with such huge packaging sort of undoes all that and flushes it all away.

Cat Vs. robot arm

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 11th, 2010

Before robots take over the world, they’ll have a few obstacles to overcome. Obstacles like cats. As evidenced by this video where some guy decided to pit his robot arm against his girlfriend’s cat.

The result is both adorable and tragic. And it’s all from the robot’s POV. Makes me want to watch a whole movie about cats and bots battling for the fate of the Earth, but that’s just me.

Heineken robot serves you a cold one

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 8th, 2010

This “Heineken Bot” sports Heineken’s green colors and was made by the folks at Middlesex University. The beer-bot was recently shown off at the Kinetica Art Fair in London, where it kept humans inebriated and topped off.

If a human moves their hand above its sonar-sensing head, and then place a cup in its holder they are rewarded with beer. Is there any better reward? No. No there is not.