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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.