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The Cajun Crawler: A Segway with insect legs

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 4th, 2009

The Cajun Crawler is a remarkable application of Theo Jansen’s fascinating articulated walking legs. This is really the first-known practical application, designed and built by UL Engineering students. They clam it even has the steering power of a tank if you can believe that.

The crawler moves at about 2 to 3 miles per hour. Which gives you a fair chance to run when you see an army of them with no riders coming at you. It looks awesomely cool and moves amazingly. We’re equal parts in awe and just plain creeped out.

Robot “Fight Club” is hilarious

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 23rd, 2009

If the first rule of human “Fight Club” is “You don’t talk about Fight Club”, we can safely assume that it’s the same with the robot version.

The date: Wednesday, February 11. The place: A secret underground location. A place where robot enthusiasts gather to compete in one of the most hilariously funny, Robot “Fight Club” sessions ever. The bouts loosely follow the Pro-Wrestling format used by humans. I think that’s what makes it so funny.

The Oboe Robot can help with life after death

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 22nd, 2009

The Oboe Robot can help with life after deathWe humans are not immortal, so it’s important that we live on somehow after our bodies turn to worm food. As usual, the Japanese can help in their usual creepy way.

‘Oboe’ is designed to hang out with the elderly, so that it can absorb knowledge, experiences and, well everything that reminds you of your loved ones before they die. This way as much of their “essence” as possible will live on. You can see how the future might play out with “Oboe”. We continue to live, in a sense, in robot form.

The Ponginator shoots Ping Pong balls at 170 mph

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 10th, 2009

The Ponginator shoots Ping Pong balls at 170 mphThere’s no rhyme or reason to the three story tall Ponginator. It simply exists because it must. Humans must have a gigantic robot that shoots ping pong balls at speeds of 170mph. Inventor, Vernon Graner built this monstrosity together with the Austin Robot Group. It is capable of standing three-stories tall thanks to the attached bucket lift.

This bot makes people crazy. Insane people actually request to be hit by the pingpong ball projectiles that it hurls. This ping-pong shooting King Kong robot was made to promote to the Austin Robot Group and to get people asking questions about robotics in general. It has worked. Because I need to ask how the hell you survive this thing if it goes rogue and pelts you with like 200 balls. Check out a video of the Ponginator in action below.

Cloaca No. 5: The machine that drops a deuce

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 2nd, 2009

Cloaca No. 5: The machine that drops a deuceCloaca No. 5 is very similar to Chanel No. 5, the perfume. One smells like crap, the other is a machine that actually dumps on command. It’s a “mechanized sculpture” that reproduces the human digestive system in every detail. The end result is just like you and me, the machine produces feces, only when it pinches a loaf it comes out vacuum-packed.

Yeah, a machine that poos. There’s another thing a robot does better then humans. It’s part of an exhibition that’s open until valentine’s day in the universite du quebec’s art, Montreal. Cloaca is made of steel, rubber and glass and is fed twice a day with cafeteria leftovers.

Robot Money Box looks tough, stores money

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on January 26th, 2009

Robot Money Box looks tough, stores moneyIt makes sense to switch from the classic piggy bank to a robot, where guarding your money is concerned. Piggy banks can fall easily to any hammer and spill out their nickel and penny stuffed guts. A robot on the other hand won’t give up the dough so easy, but one downside is that it’s smart enough that it may even spend your dough on stuff it wants.

This cute looking but money-hungry robot money box can even talk to you, tell you the time and let you know how much money he is guarding inside his body. One cool feature is that you can set a target amount you want to save and he will tell you how close you are to your goal as if taunting you.

Robot Ink: 20 awesome robot tattoos

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on January 20th, 2009

Robot Ink: 20 awesome robot tattoosOver at Botropolis we have a compilation of awesome robot tattoos. If you’re gonna get some ink, consider getting something in the likeness of our future lords and masters. You never know, those who carry the mark of the bot may be spared on that future day of reckoning when the rest of us are all just charred corpses.

MIT Labs TOFU robot is a furry dancing machine

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on January 16th, 2009

If a Gremlin had sex with a bird, then decided to have a threesome with Keepon, then a Furby wandered by delivering a pizza and getting in on the action, this would be their bastard lovechild. It’s name is TOFU, a “squash and stretch” robot with OLED eyes developed by the boffins at the MIT Media Lab.

Tofu uses techniques of social expression that have been employed by 2D animators for ages, to explore the impact on robotics. One thing is for sure. That bot knows how to groove and puts most humans to shame with it’s dancing skills. The video above shows off his moves, which are strangely very pimp-like.

Mickey Mouse Transformer hits Japan

Posted in Toys by Conner Flynn on January 15th, 2009

Mickey Mouse Transformer hits JapanSome people are obsessed with Disney. Some not so much. But the makers of this new Transformer toy from Japan clearly love both Mickey Mouse and Transformers. I admit, when we first spotted this toy in the prototype phase, at our robot sister site Botropolis, we weren’t all that impressed.

Then when we saw the first pics with some color, we still weren’t that thrilled and figured it was geared toward chumps who would buy anything Disney. However, now that we see the final product, I have to admit that it looks cool. And I’m no Mickey Mouse fan. It was on display at this week’s Tokyo Toy Forum 2009.

Robotic Labyrinth Wii Fit game

Posted in DIY by Conner Flynn on January 12th, 2009

Robotic Labyrinth Wii Fit gameSome DIYers from the Cowtown Computer Congress used some servos and an Arduino processor to connect a wooden Labyrinth game to a Wii Fit. Why? Is there ever a reason? It just had to be done. Simple as that. Basically it makes the game more difficult.

It’s an inexpensive project at just $60 total (That does not include the Wii Fit), and it seems like a simple process. It also looks like a lot of fun. What could be better then taking a simple game and adding a high tech way of playing it? Check out a video below.

iRobot introduces second generation Looj

Posted in iRobot by Conner Flynn on January 8th, 2009

iRobot introduces second generation LoojOut of all the robots they could have introduced, it had to be the Looj. That gutter cleaning bot that is cool from a practical standpoint, but not so cool as far as robots go.

According to them, it has new features to make it more efficient. It drives easily under gutter straps, propelled by a three-stage auger that dislodges and eliminates all of that nasty dirt and gunk. It sports a new antenna, smart speed, and a battery door that doesn’t need tools to be opened. Yeah, not much to jump up and down about, but hey, gutters will be clean.

Flying Duck Hunter robot looks familiar

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on January 7th, 2009

Flying Duck Hunter robot looks familiarThis game looks familiar. Except now you can really score a kill. Well, not really. But it’s as close as some of you will ever get to killing a flying duck. Available this spring, the Duck Hunter is like a WowWee Dragonfly mashed up with the classic Duck Hunt lightgun shooting game.

The duck launches from your IR blaster, charging in just 10 seconds from a few AA batteries in the pistol. When the robotic duck takes flight autonomously, just shoot the bird three times. Robot duck death will follow.

WowWee Spyball spy camera

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on January 6th, 2009

WowWee Spyball spy cameraMuch like the Rovio, the WowWee Spyball spy camera will let you live out some James Bond fantasies. Or at the very least snap some upskirt pics. The tiny remote controlled robotic ball features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and gets around on sleek wheels, capable of smooth mobility and quick 360-degree turns.

It can also transform from a ball to a camera and back within seconds, and it does it’s job quietly, so you can sneak around and get some dirt on people. The blackmail will follow. Another cool feature is that when it’s connected to a home network, the Spyball can be controlled remotely via the Internet.

WowWee Joebot dances, while Roborover is a shy geek

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on January 6th, 2009

WowWee Joebot dances, while Roborover is a shy geekAs always, WowWee has some new robots up it’s sleeve, despite branching out into other products. They look interesting as ever. What I like about their robots is that they actually infuse them with some personality.

In this case, Joebot is the large guy. A dancing rhythm robot that responds to beats. He’s the life of the party. The Roborover explorer on the other hand, starts out shy and gets bolder over time. I love the design on these guys. Full press release below.

Casio Robo-watches celebrate G-Shock anniversary

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on December 31st, 2008

Casio Robo-watches celebrate G-Shock anniversaryObviously this is a marketing gimmick. But ask yourself, are these robot watches more awesome than your typical watch? Hell yes. Casio’s 25 years of G-Shock celebration continues with the offering of a new set of character watches designed by Shiro Nakano.

Now that I’ve given you the good news, it’s time for the bad. These robot characters themselves are not available for sale. And yes, that’s a big mistake, because they are amazingly cool. They would make great desktop clocks. And good robot clocks are hard to find. Ask any robo-enthusiast.