Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lunar penguin robots to hop across the Moon

Robotic space penguin to hop across the Moon news service
Will Knight

The first lunar colonists may not be a humans but compact robots capable of jumping more than a kilometre in a single bound.

Engineers at US defence contractor Raytheon, in Massachusetts, have developed a robot, dubbed the Lunar Penguin, that could one day bounce across perilous craters and imposing mountains on the Moon's craggy surface using a set of compact rocket boosters.
"Since we could set it down in such a precise location, the Penguin could be the delivery vehicle for the science community," Raytheon engineer Karleen Seybold, who is leading the Penguin project, told Reuters.

The Lunar Penguin was publicly demonstrated for the first time on Tuesday at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' 2005 SPACE Conference and Exhibition in California, US.

...the Lunar Penguin's unique approach to lunar locomotion could prove a useful way of exploring the Moon’s hostile landscape. "If it's successful, perhaps we could find astronauts on the next manned Moon mission using the same system to jump over hills," he says.

New Scientist Breaking News - Robotic space penguin to hop across the Moon


Robot dog with a mission

Robot dog - man's best friend or a no-fat nag?
Source: Reuters

LONDON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - It could be a dream or a nightmare -- scientists have created a robotic dog that tells you when it's time for your daily walk.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States plan to recruit Sony's "canine entertainment robot" Aibo into the obesity police.

The dog would be connected by radio to the bathroom scales, a pedometer and a personal organiser in which the owner would note his daily food intake, New Scientist magazine reported on Wednesday.

Annoying Aibo

"It is promising to look at mobile robots for defining behavioural change," computer scientist Tim Bickmore at Boston University's School of Medicine was quoted as saying.

Reuters AlertNet - Robot dog - man's best friend or a no-fat nag?

Wrestling Robots

Technically, these cardboard robots do not fall into same category as the robots usually covered here. They are cardboard and they are operated manually, as shown here.


They do however provide a way of expressing our likes and dislikes by our choice of favorite wrestlers.


Microscopic Robot for Surgery

Microscopic Robot Heads for Surgery
By Tracy Staedter, Discovery News

A new microscopic robot that is so small it can be injected into the body through a syringe could one day be used by doctors to analyze medical conditions, deliver drugs or perform minimally invasive surgery.

The biomedical micro-robotic system, developed by a team of scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, is the smallest of its kind with machined and assembled parts, and has been demonstrated to successfully maneuver through a watery maze using external energy from magnetic forces.

"The application we're actively considering is eye surgery in which these devices are guided inside the eye toward the retina by a surgeon to inject drugs in retinal veins that are about the size of a human hair," said team leader Brad Nelson, professor of robotics and intelligent systems.

Barely a speck of a robot, the smallest devices Nelson and his team have built are about four hair-widths long and are made up of several components.

The mechanical and electrical parts are cut and etched from pieces of nickel and assembled using methods similar to those used to design and make computer chips.

this robot's power comes from an external magnetic field generated by a machine.

For example, tuning to a 2 kilohertz frequency could vibrate a motor that extends a small syringe into a blood vessel. Tuning to 3 kilohertz could drive a pump that delivers drugs into the vessel.

In lab experiments, the team successfully steered the micro-robot backward and forward through a water-filled maze that has channels about as wide as 10 human hairs and as deep as three hairs.

Discovery Channel :: News :: Microscopic Robot Heading for Surgery

Friday, August 26, 2005

Hospital Helper Sales Growth

Aethon Reports Record Sales and Another New Hiring Wave

"This year has been our strongest year ever. We doubled our national customer base in the second quarter and we will likely double it again by the end of this quarter ... which translates into a 200% growth over the last 12 months," says Aldo Zini, Aethon President and CEO. According to Mr. Zini, the company plans to add even more employees than he predicted three months ago. "We're on a fast track, we've expanded to the mid-west and it looks like we'll need to ramp up and expand our sales and support staff before the end of this year."

Developed and manufactured in Pittsburgh, Aethon's Tug is the most versatile transport system available in healthcare.

TUG rolling hospital cart navigates with a pre-programmed map of the hospital and laser rangefinding to avoid obstacles.

RedNova News - Technology - Aethon Reports Record Sales and Another New Hiring Wave


Robot Blanket Beckons

A robotic blanket by artist Nick Stedman that wriggles invitingly on the bed.
The blanket is a fluffy comforter that undulates on the bed.
Check out the video. It seems to attract people to snuggle on it.

It would be cool to combine this with a sleep monitor so that it rocks you to sleep then nudges you awake at the appropriate time in the morning.

Nicholas Stedman

RoboDucks Causing a Flap

High-tech hunting: The ethics of 'roboducks'
Banned in some states, the new decoys are causing quite a flap
By Mark Freeman
Medford Mail-Tribune

They are so-called "roboducks," electronic and battery-powered duck decoys that can flap their wings or swim in programmed patterns — all intended to convince other ducks that it's safe to land.

One study claims the motorized decoys can make hunters as much as six times more successful than they would be using the traditional decoys.

Pennsylvania already banned the robot decoys, and California has limited their use to the second half of the season.

But these lifelike decoys are bringing the whole techno-hunting world into the crosshairs.

"Think about a robotic hen turkey decoy that gives lifelike movement as you're calling," said Ron Anglin, the former top Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife official who is now a state biologist in the duck-hunting mecca of Klamath Falls, Ore. "That could be enough to really tip the edge."

Consider a blacktail doe decoy that wiggles to bucks in the rut. How about a life-size bull elk bugling a challenge to the bull of the woods? All would be legal under current Oregon rules, but are they ethical?

ESPN Outdoors -- High-tech hunting: The ethics of 'roboducks'

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Flying Robots Mimic Seagulls

Airborne drones, mimicking gulls, alter wing shape for agility
BY Aaron Hoover

Funded by the and NASA, UF aerospace engineers have built prototypes of 6-inch- to 2-foot- drones capable of squeezing in and out of tight spots in cities — like tiny urban stunt planes. Their secret: seagull-inspired wings that “morph,” or change shape, dramatically during flight, transforming the planes’ stability and agility at the touch of a button on the operator’s remote control.

“If you fly in the urban canyon, through alleys, around parking garages and between buildings, you need to do sharp turns, spins and dives,” said Rick Lind, a UF assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who heads the project. "That means you need to change the shape of the aircraft during flight.”

The latest version, built by mechanical and aerospace engineering doctoral student Mujahid Abdulrahim,Impressed by seagulls’ ability to hover, dive and climb rapidly, Abdulrahim photographed the gulls close-up during flight. The images showed the gulls’ wings flexing at both their shoulder and elbow joints as they altered flight patterns.

Abdulrahim added this ability in the new prototype, with promising results. With the wings mimicking the gulls’ elbow in the down position, the plane loses stability but becomes highly maneuverable. With the wings in the elbow straight position, it glides well. And with the wings in the elbow up position, it’s highly controllable and easy to land.

UF College of Engineering: Newsroom

Link to videos...

Taiwan wants to arm tactical UAV

Taiwan’s Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) has unveiled a new tactical unmanned air vehicle and hopes to develop a strike version of the system for the nation’s military.

The Taiwanese army and navy have already test flown the tactical UAV design and CSIST says it is talking with private manufacturing companies in Taiwan to produce the system.

However, the army is believed to have shown little interest in domestic UAVs and is more interested in importing more capable systems. But sources say the US government is unlikely to approve the sale of any of its armed UAVs to Taipei and add that European manufacturers are not interested in Taiwanese sales because of the anticipated opening of the mainland Chinese market.

Taiwan wants to arm tactical UAV


Animaris Percipiere

A beach-roaming creation of artist Theo Jansen. The robot is powered by wind.
Jansen is working to the day when he can release herds of autonomous wind-powered creature onto beaches in the Netherlands.

Each animal is made up of 375 replaceable tubes whose respective lengths represent the beast's very own unique "genetic code" influencing its quality and its walking pattern.
By using the pneumatic system as a foundation, Jansen hopes to eventually provide his beasts with nerves, muscles, advanced sensing capabilities and even rudimentary decision makers that mimic the function of the brain, before permanently releasing herds of them out onto the beach. Right now, he allows the animals to race each other and manually replaces the genetic code (tube lengths) of the winner into the rest of the losers.

He envisions the day when the roaming animals would meet each other compete and then the winner would copy his design to the loser to create an ever improving species.

Wooden Robot Kit

Wierd 7

Robot kit available in Japan from Wonderkit.
2 foot tall wooden skeleton, motors, program with pc software. Optional remote control.
reminds me of Big Bird.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Robot Mimics Bat Sonar

A robotic bat head that can emit and detect ultrasound in the band of frequencies used by the world's bats will give echolocation research a huge boost.

The Bat-Bot, developed by IST project CIRCE, can also wriggle its ears, a technique often used by bats to modulate the characteristics of the echo.

"Sonar in water is a mature field, but sonar in air is far less advanced," says Dr Herbert Peremans, who is head of the Active Perception Lab the University of Antwerp and CIRCE coordinator.

"There are about 700 echolocating bat species, and they use a wide range of frequencies. We needed a single device that could handle that entire range. The transducer developed by one of the partners can do that and has some additional advantages making it a promising technology for further commercialisation," he says.

IST Results - Bat-bot boosts sonar research

Robot Spyplanes Over US Western States

Forest officials test civilian spy planes to fight wildfires
Associated Press

Scientists have been testing whether flocks of the planes - similar to the spy drones the U.S. military flies over Iraq and Afghanistan - can help track the direction and behavior of fast-moving flames.

After the experimental flight of three unmanned aerial vehicles this summer, the U.S. Forest Service will launch the first real-life deployment next spring. The plan calls for planes to traverse a dozen Western states, mapping real forest fires 24 hours a day.

"Unmanned aircraft have the capability to do what we call the 3-D missions - the dull, dark and dangerous missions where you don't want to put a pilot on," said Vince Ambrosia, research scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in the San Francisco Bay area, where the experiment was done.

The use of UAVs will come with restrictions. The Federal Aviation Administration must first approve pilotless planes in civilian airspace before such planes can be routinely deployed. UAV flights are permitted on a case-by-case basis if they can be flown safely alongside passenger-carrying aircraft, FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

Overseas, spy drones such as the Global Hawk and Predator have been used in the war against terror, spotting enemies from high up and in some cases firing laser-guided missiles.

Last month, the Forest Service tested three UAVs with 12-foot wingspans - about twice that of a bald eagle - over Moffett Field.

AP Wire | 08/21/2005 | Forest officials test civilian spy planes to fight wildfires

Reviewer Predicts Roboraptor Extinction

Extinction a likely fate for Roboraptor
By Mike Langberg
Mercury News

Roboraptor, a robotic dinosaur selling for $119, is one of those high-tech toys that creates a great first impression and then fades fast.

...amazing isn't the same thing as fun, and Roboraptor's limited range of behaviors will probably doom him to back-of-the-closet extinction after children repeatedly hear several hours of his pre-recorded roar.

He didn't always properly respond to my remote-control commands, and on occasion he would bang his head repeatedly on a wall because his sensors apparently didn't tell him to turn away. Roboraptor, in other words, isn't the sharpest tool in the tar pit.

Roboraptor comes from Hong Kong toy maker WowWee Robotics, best known for last year's hit Robosapien humanoid robot. | 08/22/2005 | Extinction a likely fate for Roboraptor

Make your own moves Roboraptor Hacking Tips

Friday, August 19, 2005

Stand-up Robot Goes With the Flow

Rock ‘n’ roll robot regains its feet
* Will Knight

A humanoid robot with an exceptionally nimble knack for getting back on its feet after a fall has been developed by researchers in Japan.

Named R Daneel, the robot kicks up its legs and rolls back onto its shoulders to gain the momentum it needs to rock up onto its feet and into a crouching position. This might be fairly easy for a human to do, but for the 60-kilogram bot, it requires a relaxed attitude to body control.

R Daneel

"The robot is not controlled all the time through a predefined trajectory - as is typically done in robotics," says Max Lungarella who developed the R Daneel with colleagues at University of Tokyo in Japan. R Daneel – the R is for Robot – takes its name from a humanoid robot that appears in several books by science fiction author Isaac Asimov.

The Japanese bot boasts a sophisticated series of sensors, including gyroscopes, accelerometers, and torque sensors. But unlike most humanoid bots, it is designed to embrace a lack of constant control and instead follow the trajectory determined by the weight and shape of its body during the rocking motion, until it lands square back on its feet.

Link to video

New Scientist Breaking News - Rock ‘n’ roll robot regains its feet

Thursday, August 18, 2005

EU Project for Industrial Robots

The EU project, which has been launched this spring and is scheduled to run for four years, is being coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart and is organizationally supported by Gesellschaft für Produktionssysteme (GPS).
"We are developing a new generation of industrial robots for small and medium-sized enterprises," says Project Coordinator Martin Haegele from Fraunhofer IPA.
With flexible, low-cost and user-friendly automation solutions, the aim of the project is to strengthen the competitiveness of the EU’s over 228,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing industry.

The new generation of robots developed by SMErobot is intended to achieve three goals in order to address the specific needs of small and medium-sized enterprises: first, the robot should understand easily learnable, "intuitive" commands; second, it should meet all safety-relevant requirements for sharing the workplace with human colleagues; and, third, it should be capable of being installed and put into operation within three days. Through the flexible combination of individual modules, the aim is to cut investment and operating costs to one-third.

SMErobot: a new generation of industrial robots for small and medium-sized enterprises

Battlebot Kits

Build your own Battlebot.

Battlekits can supply kits in any weight class that include bare frames to full motored-out killers. They do not sell the axes or circular saws - that's up to you.

The kits are a flat turtle-style based on world champion Biohazard.
Prices range from $500's to $way high.

MAKE: Blog: BattleKits - Combat Robot Kits

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Monitor Robot Draws on Walls

This naughty robot draws a sort of disorganized bar graph of CO2 concentration along the baseboard of the walls of a room.
It is a fine example of a robot that measures data and draws on walls.

Grower is a small 'rover' vehicle which navigates around the periphery of a room. It hugs the room’s walls and responds to the carbon dioxide levels in the air by actually drawing varying heights of 'grass' on the walls in green ink. The Grower robot senses the carbon dioxide (CO2) level in the air via a small digital CO2 sensor. This sensor is mounted high on a wall of the exhibition space and sends data wirelessly to the robot. The number of people in an exhibit space breathing in oxygen and exhaling CO2 has an immediate effect on the sensor.


Robot Day Traders Beat Humans

New evidence shows that software robots make better stock traders than humans, not only able to see the "big picture" on pricing, but also more sneaky about dumping loser stocks. In a trial, IBM showed that, on average, software made seven percent MORE CASH than human traders.

New Scientist: How bots can earn more than you

The Raw Feed: Latest Job Taken By Robots: Day Trader

Robots to Join Aussie Forces

Australia said Wednesday it was developing battlefield robots capable of military operations that could free soldiers from some dangerous tasks

"These new intelligent and largely autonomous systems will in the future be able to carry out hazardous tasks traditionally reserved for warfighters," Defence Minister Robert Hill said.

"In the future, unmanned battlespace vehicles will be deployed in fleets to gather information, conduct surveillance, sweep for mines, defuse bombs and carry out a range of dangerous tasks."

A remote-controlled aircraft built by Australian company Aerosonde is capable of intelligence gathering and "electronic warfare" such as radar jamming, Hill said.

Australia says developing military robots

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Robot Skin Extends Senses

Electronic skin to give robots human-like touch
* news service
* Duncan Graham-Rowe and Will Knight

Takao Someya and colleagues at the University of Tokyo in Japan embedded electronic sensors in a thin plastic film flexible enough to wrap around an egg.

The film incorporates a matrix of transistors to measure pressure and another to sense temperature. The point at which two wires intersect in each matrix provides sensor readings, with changes in current indicating fluctuations in temperature or pressure.

"It will be possible in the near future to make an electronic skin that has functions that human skin lacks," the researchers write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They add that future e-skin could include "sensors not only for pressure and temperature, but also for light, humidity, strain and ultrasonic” sound.

New Scientist Breaking News - Electronic skin to give robots human-like touch

CyberBug Ships Out

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Aug 15, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Cyber Defense Systems, Inc. (OTCBB:CYDF),a designer and developer of next generation unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV''s) and an operating subsidiary of Proxity, Inc. (Pink Sheets: PRXT), today announced it has begun shipment of the CyberBug(TM) to both US and international distributors as well as unnamed government entities as part of the initial sales announced over the last several months.

The CyberBug(TM) is one of the most cost-effective UAV''s on the market today, capable of being launched in winds speeds in excess of 25 miles and hour and can provide the GPS coordinates of hostile or problem areas, facilitate line-of-sight communications, as well as provide day or night surveillance of remote areas.

The CYBERBUG is recently developed product recently introduced to the Defense and Law Enforcement industry. The basic product is provided at a base price of $10,500- making this product affordable to all agencies and client and even expendable to many others.

The basic platform weighs 2.6 pounds, which includes a camera for day time use with optional IR products for night view; the BUG is scalable and is capable of carrying several pounds of payload. Flight systems are provided via an autopilot and may be controlled using a combination of handheld joystick with GPS overlay or Internet control. The smaller BUG comes in a cylindrical tube; which will allow easy transport, product assembly is 20 seconds.

Proxity - Proxity Digital - Editorial

Monday, August 15, 2005

Armed Batllefield Robot Contract

SANTA CLARA, Calif- BAE Systems has been awarded a contract modification worth a minimum of $122.3 million for the transition effort for two Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV) variants for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS).

This contract modification, awarded April 6, increases the total authorized value of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract from $189 million to $311.3 million.

The semi-autonomous ARV is the largest unmanned ground vehicle in the Army's FCS program.
ARV is to be about the size of a large pickup truck ...
One of the ARV variants will carry a cannon for self defense, disperse ground sensors, and conduct battle damage assessments. The other ARV variant integrates Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) missiles, a powerful automatic cannon and a high rate of machine gun fire.

BAE SYSTEMS North America: News and Information: News Releases

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Scribbler Robot Fun

Parallax Inc . is offering their new Scribbler Robot for $89.

The robot kit includes motors, sensors and PC interface to its BASIC Stamp brain.

Designed for easy introduction to robot programming.

Parallax to intro Scribbler programmable robot - Engadget -

How Smart is a Robot?

There is no complete agreement on how to measure the IQ of a person. It is even more difficult to measure the smarts of a robot.

PhD student Shane Legg and advisor Marcus Hutter at Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Switzerland, are taking a shot at it. They have drafted a test of AI systems to rate their systems intelligence even across a broad range of range of functions.

According to New Scientist, a big problem will be getting AI scientists to agree on the complexity of the AI's environment.

New Scientist Technology - Spotting the bots with brains

Friday, August 12, 2005

Kids battle robot in goldfish-catching contest

Kids battle robot in goldfish-catching contest
* news service
* Will Knight

Catching goldfish might seem like child's play but, for a net-wielding robot, it is an extremely challenging task.

The goldfish-grabbing bot, known as "Poipoi", was developed by researchers at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), in central Japan. It has been entered into an annual goldfish catching competition for children, which takes place in nearby Yamatokoriyama, on 20 August.

"The city is famous for its goldfish-scooping contest," says NAIST artificial intelligence expert Masatugu Kidode, who adds that Poipoi can catch between six and 10 goldfish in 3 minutes.

Although this falls considerably short of the best human contestants – who can scoop up around 60 fish over the same time – Kidode says Poipoi represents an important step forward for robot-kind.

New Scientist Breaking News - Kids battle robot in goldfish-catching contest

This may bring fans back to the the sport of goldfish dipping after it was disgraced by a scandal in 2003. The superstar champion was caught cheating in the world championship and his team title was revoked.


Robotic Vehicles For US Army Create Jobs

Tripling the size of a General Dynamics plant in Westminster will mean an expanded work force.
By Mary Gail Hare
Baltimore Sun Staff

The Army has lagged behind the Navy and Air Force in automation, said John Pike, who operates Global Security, a defense policy Web site.

"About the only way to automate the Army is through robots," Pike said in a phone interview. "This could be the biggest thing to hit the military since the internal combustion engine. Initially, robots will drive trucks, but down the road, you could give them guns and train them in the Army way."

"The idea is to take this technology and militarize it," said Shoemaker, who said the Army is spending nearly $1 billion on research and development of robotics. "We can use the same core technology to control a robotic mule or a tank."

The jeep, for example, monitored its space to figure its way around the concrete barrier placed in the way after its route was programmed.

The robotic equipment can determine if a ditch is too deep to cross, identify hills and brush and differentiate, in the dark, between asphalt and water.

"These vehicles can deal with a lot of stuff and not bother the soldier with any of it," said Mark Del Giorno, vice president for engineering at the Westminster [Maryland, US] plant. "This information supplements what the soldier already knows and allows him to make better plans ahead of time."

It and several other robotic vehicles were put through their paces yesterday at the Westminster facility of General Dynamics Robotic Systems, which has obtained a $230 million contract to develop the technology for the Pentagon.

To accomplish the work, the company broke ground yesterday on a $10 million, 150,000-square-foot expansion that will triple the size of the Westminster facility and add 135 jobs to the 400-employee work force.

Robotics' task -- create jobs -

Thursday, August 11, 2005

4WD Mini-robots explore city tunnels

Robots have been used under a Somerset, city to see if a network of tunnels can help reduce the risk of flooding.

The robots were sent out by the Environment Agency in an exploration of hundreds of tunnels beneath Wells.

Small cameras are mounted onto a four wheel drive chassis to record the state and routes of the passageways.

So far none have been lost to CHUDs.

BBC NEWS | England | Somerset | Mini-robots explore city tunnels

Robot "Swims" Over Rocks

Associate professor Richard Voyles of the University of Minnesota, whose inspiration for the device came from the scene in the movie "The Terminator" in which the cyborg's dismembered torso crawls across the floor in a last-ditch effort to slay the hero.

While dragging itself across the ground may not seem like an effective mode of transportation, the robot does not have to worry about maintaining its balance and the action saves on power, said Voyles.

Currently the TerminatorBot measures about 3 inches in diameter and 8 inches long, but Voyles has plans to make the device half as small so it can fit into a soda can-sized shell. He also envisions a more modular version that can link up to a second or even third TerminatorBot to produce a device with four or six limbs.

Discovery Channel :: News :: Robot "Swims" Over Rocks

CMU Robots On The Move

Carnegie Mellon University has two robots ready to take on the world.

First, Red Team Racing has two autonomous Hummers on their way to Nevada to complete their final round of testing for the the Grand Challenge competition.

The robots have proven their endurance in tests in the Pennsylvania hinterlands and are moving on to the next stage of training. The $2 million Grand Challenge competition is scheduled to begin in October.
Red Team Racing

The other CMU robot on the loose is the science bot Zoe about to be let loose in the Atacama Desert. The desert area is high in the Andes mountains of Chile and is one of the most desolate places on Earth. Zoe is equipped with a battery of sensors to search for signs of microscopic life.

This is the final stage of a three year project. Zoe will be running around the desert from August 22 to October 22.

CMU Robotics Institute

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Spider Bot Walks on Walls

Tiny Bot Walks on Walls
By Tracy Staedter, Discovery News

Aug. 5, 2005— A robot inspired by cockroaches and spiders is getting some researchers to look up and take notice.

The Spinybot, developed by professor Mark Cutkosky and his students at Stanford University in California, takes its cue from nature and employs tiny spines on its toes to scale walls made of concrete, stucco and brick.

"It's a direct biological inspiration adapted to robotic technology," said Cutkosky.

The 400-gram Spinybot can ascend such material because each of its six toes has 10 pairs of tiny steel spines that work together to grip the microscopic peaks and ridges on the surface of concrete, stucco and brick.

A tail, which rests slightly against the wall, provides extra support and balance should a foot be unable to grip properly, and it keeps the Spinybot's body from rocking side-to-side too much while climbing.
The Spinybot is capable of carrying a 400-gram payload, and a video camera mounted to its hind section captures the robot reaching its vertical limits.

Discovery Channel :: News :: Tiny Bot Walks on Walls

Army Contract for Airborn Warrior

The US Army has awarded a $214 million contract for the replacement of the Predator unmanned flying vehicle (UAV).

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has announced that they will begin work on the latest improved UAV dubbed Extended Range Multi Purpose (ERMP).
The new vehicle has been named Warrior.

The improvements include 36-hour mission time, conventional deisel fuel and automatic take-off and landing.

General Atomics Press Release

Defense Tech: Army Picks New Killer Drone

Friday, August 05, 2005

Military Gladiator Robot Makes Its Debut

Carnegie Mellon University and BAE Systems demonstrated their new Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle (TUGV).
The robot is 3 ton six-wheeled vehicle but able to fit inside a Humvee.

The vehicle has a vision system to feed a marine operator's visor.

This prototype version is equipt with smoke generating pipes, hand grenades and a turret that can be upgraded with machine gun or assault weapons.

This is the first of six prototypes that will be built by CMU and BAE Systems as part of a $26 million contract development contract. The marines may order a production run of 200 units once the tests are completed.

Military machine: Defense robot developed at CMU makes its debut

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hign Speed Hand to Catch Balls

Researchers at University of Tokyo Ishikawa Namiki Laboratory have developed a high speed robot hand capable of catching fly balls.

The hand has three fingers and a 32 by 48 array of sensors in the 'palm' to detect the incoming balls.

The flexible fingers can also grasp other shapes such as cups and hand tools.

videos here.

New Scientist Breaking News - Robot catcher grabs high speed projectiles

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Rescue Robot For Mine Emergencies

The Associated Press

HUNKER, Pa. (AP) — The newest tool in mine safety is 30 inches wide, 50 inches tall and can work without arms.

The rescue robot, dubbed V-2, was developed to enter mines during emergencies to locate possible escape routes for those trapped inside and determine whether it's safe for humans to enter.

The robot was unveiled to the public Wednesday at the Mine Safety and Health Administration's district office, about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Equipped with three surveillance cameras, atmospheric detectors, night-vision capability and a communication system, the robot can tell officials what conditions exist in a mine before anyone is sent in.

The robot resembles a miniature military tank with a long, movable arm. It rolls on six small tires that move on a continuous rubber track.
V-2 can travel 5,000 feet without stopping.

The $265,000 robot was built with the help of three companies: Remotec in Oakridge, Tenn.; Mining Control in Beckley; and Industrial Scientific in Indiana, Pa. NewsFlash - V-2 robot newest safety tool in mine emergencies

Asimo With Thai Princess


Bangkok International ICT Expo 2005 opens today and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the opening ceremony in the afternoon.

She will be joined at the ceremony by Asimo, Honda's humanoid robot, which will hand the Princess a jasmine garland. Asimo will also be a star performer at a dancing show and will invite children on stage to dance.

The performance includes Asimo's "I Walk" dance, which has been compared to Michael Jackson's Moon Walk. Asimo can also perform the Hula Hula dance.

In addition, the Japanese robot will host a "DJ Asimo" session where it will select a music CD and give it to a DJ.

Apart from Asimo, the world's smallest robot _ as recorded by the Guiness Book of World Records _ will be in attendance. Called Monsieur, it is part of the Epson Micro Robot System series and went on sale in 1993 as part of watch-related technology.

Bangkok Post Database(IT News) - Wednesday 03 August 2005

A Robot In Every Police Car

A toy industry consultant has teamed up with Sandia National Labs and military contractor Applied Technology Associates to design a portable law enforcement robot that can be had for less than $1000.
They envision a ground-running robot in the trunk of every cop car in America.

So far they are looking for investors and a suitable go-anywhere chassis. They think they may go ahead with development on the MGA Entertainment Tarantula. "Why waste your time with an R/C that CLAIMS to go anywhere, when you can have one that goes EVERYWHERE?"

Toy industry could be key to low-cost robots for cops - 2005-08-01

Manus-I Soccer Star

From Singapore's Robhatah Robotic Solutions a 50 cm tall humanoid.
Get one for yourself for only $14,000. It looks like you might want to spend a little extra to get some clothes for the thing.

It can play soccer, climb stairs, sit and stand.
It also has open source software to upload your own special gymnastics.

Robotics Solutions, Humanoid, Biped and Robot Soccer System Products

via Engadget

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ocean Exploration By Robot

Remote-Controlled Robots Explore 'Lost City'


Think of it as the Mars Rover but at the bottom of the ocean, remotely exploring our own planet's most alien landscape for scientists back at mission control.

"This is how the science is going to be done," said Deborah Kelley, a University of Washington oceanographer.

What once required dangerous and time-limited manned exploits can now be done by remote control on a ship deck or in an office thousands of miles away.

"Bottom time is critical ... and we can now work 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said deep-sea explorer Robert Ballard, best known for discovering the wreck of the Titanic.
"Our oceans are 95 percent unexplored," said Ballard, speaking by a satellite video link-up from the NOAA vessel Ronald H. Brown. The celebrity scientist tossed out some other figures -- 72 percent of the planet is under water and so is 51 percent of the United States -- to make the point that there is a lot left to explore.

Remote-Controlled Robots Explore 'Lost City'

Chrysler Uses Robots For Competitive Edge

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A Chrysler Group executive today showed an industry audience at the 40th annual Management Briefing Seminars how his company is defining the leading edge of manufacturing flexibility. Frank Ewasyshyn, Chrysler Group's Executive Vice President - Manufacturing, focused on robotics as the key link in a chain of manufacturing flexibility that includes stamping, lean die standards, flexible body shops, paint shops, work stations and work agreements.

Ewasyshyn called flexible robotics a strategy born out of a shared vision with suppliers ABB Inc., Comau Pico and KUKA Robotics Corp., but also one that was "home grown" with all of the prototype work being done inside Chrysler Group.

Ewasyshyn noted that over the last 10 years, incremental improvements in robot "hardware" have evolved in such a way that they are allowing Chrysler Group to leverage the technology as never before. He cited three developments in particular as key to enabling flexible robotics:

First, robots have gained significantly higher load ranges.

Second, as computers have increased in capability, the power of industrial controllers has also significantly increased.

Third -- following the path of most technology today -- they've significantly gone down in cost.

"In the end," concluded Ewasyshyn, "we see our flexible robotics initiative as a prime driver of cost reduction, productivity improvement and market responsiveness.

Chrysler Group Unveils Future Manufacturing Strategy - Auto News from August 2, 2005

Pino Pointless Companion Robot


Pointless companion robot. Available for about $45.
It comes with no personality and by playing with it you can make it become friendly, shy or naughty.
His face visor changes colors and he waves his arms to communicate his moods. They will also play with each other.

This is not to be confused with the open-source robot development platform PINO. Evidently the toy version is a cute imitation.

VietNam Invests in Robots

VietNam is joining other Aisian nations in encouraging domestic robot production.
From Vietnam News Service:

HCM CITY — Under a proposal to spur the development of HCM City’s industrial sector, the city government plans to invest over VND50 billion (US$3.1 million) in a programme to manufacture robotics equipment.

The programme will aim to manufacture robotics equipment at a lower cost than imports, while still requiring products to meet the quality standards of their foreign counterparts.

Luong said relevant agencies should complete administrative procedures relating to the transfer, maintenance and registration of industrial property rights in order to expand technology transfer and localisation content between 2007-08.

Close to 70 per cent of imported machines and equipment came from neighbouring countries and territories such as mainland China, Taiwan and other Asean nations.

In related news, Thanhnien News reports that Asimo will be visiting VietNam in August. The visit is preceded by a childrens' art contest entitled,"Portraying ASIMO before meeting him." This is a return visit to Vietnam for the superstar:
"The Japanese robot, whose lifelike walking and arm movements have charmed people worldwide, first visited Vietnam’s capital Hanoi in April 2004. "

VietNam News

Monday, August 01, 2005

Security Robot Includes Fuel Cell Power

Sohgo Security Services Co., a major security firm, is currently developing a robot equipped with a fuel-cell battery that will work round the clock for one week without a recharge.

It is designed to work as a receptionist while being charged and go on patrol a few times each night.

Sohgo Security is aiming to equip the robot with a fuel-cell battery to be supplied from Yuasa Corp., a major battery maker.

The robot sends alarm signals to a security center when it detects flame within 10 meters and people within 8 meters. It also intimidates possible thieves with alarms, flashing lights and loud recordings of the words "thief" and "wait."

"Thief! Wait! Touch my screen for directions!"

"The robot can even work in dark rooms using ultrasound wave sensors and infrared rays," Ariki said.

As a receptionist, it gives building visitors directions using voice guidance and a touch screen. It can also lead visitors to their destinations.

"However, we have no intention of developing dangerous tools that will cause physical harm, even to thieves" Tosaka said. "Robots must not have the capability of attacking human beings."

More on Sohgo Security robot...

Another fuel cell powered robot...

Fuel Cell Works Supplemental News Page