Friday, September 30, 2005

Start'em Young

Robosapien Junior from Hasbro. For pre-schoolers.

Get the little ones used to interacting with robots. When they get older they will probably need to know how to deal with them in every McD's and Walmart in the world.

From Hasbro Web page:
A fusion of technology and personality

Introducing a robot that preschoolers can call their own. RoboSapien Junior knows all the right moves. He's a slick looking robot with a silly attitude--a buddy who spins, bumps off walls, and wages goofy battles with others of his kind. What more could a little kid want?

A charming offshoot of the popular RoboSapien, Junior is an expert at humanoid humor. He features what you'd call "Bump-n-Giggle" technology.
He may like to say "ouch! " and "ooch!", but don't be fooled. This is one tough robot, built to withstand the daily knocks and drops that are inevitable when your master is a preschooler.

Robosapien Junior

Robot Village NYC

Robot Village Opens in New York

Robot Village, on online or in-person robot experience.
David Greenbaum, the store's founder, recently told News8 Austin:
"It's all new. No one really knows about robots, how they're going to come into our lifestyles, what's going on right now, so it's like an information place or center where people can learn about robots, be educated, and some may buy products that fit their lifestyles," Greenbaum said. "We have a range of different products. Some people think this is just a toy store, but it's not a toy store. We hit geeks, we hit kids, we sell a lot of products that are collectibles and wind-up type of robots, and we have different books and magazines for information."

The New York location will also hold classes in robot technology for kids and adults.

I have not been there yet. But I will update you as soon as I have.

Robot Village:

Bicycling robot

Bicycling robot shows good balance
Yoshiko Hara
TOKYO — Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. has demonstrated a bicycling robot designed to showcase the electronic component manufacturer's sensor technologies at next week's CEATEC Japan 2005 show.

Tentatively named Murata Boy, the system is an integrated machine that looks like a bicycle with a humanoid robot rider. The 50-cm-high, 5-kg robot hits speeds of up 60 cm per second. The robot can also balance on two wheels while stationary using sensors.
Receiving commands from a PC via wireless LAN, it moves forward and backward, stops and starts. Murata demonstrated the robot's balance control by running it on a 2-cm-wide balance beam.

EE Times Article

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New AIBO Entertainment Robot

Sony has upgraded their Aibo with a limited edition (ERS-7M3/T) available for $2099 or $53 per month. Just imagine - that's less than two dollars per day!
Why it's only 7 cents per hour!!

The new Aibo can learn to speak 1000 words and understand more than 100. It also can learn some Spanish words.

It has a video and picture record that can keep a diary that you can play back.
It can also play news headlines or weather through a web-feed RSS feature.

The dog will develope a personality depending on how it is treated. But if you do not like the personality you trained, it has some defaults that you can boot up.

Sony Style

New biological robots build chains

By Ker Than
Updated: 3:10 p.m. ET Sept. 28, 2005

Inspired by biological systems, scientists have developed miniature robots that can self-assemble using parts that float randomly in their environments. The robots also know when something is amiss and can correct their own mistakes.

To artificially recreate this process, a research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), headed by Joseph Jacobson, created robots capable of latching onto one another in specific sequences.

The robots come in two colors, yellow (Y) and green (G), and float around on a cushion of air like pucks on an air hockey table. Each robot is programmed to latch onto a green robot on one side and a yellow robot on the other to form 5-robot strings such as YGGYY or GYYGG.

The robots also have a built-in mechanism to correct any errors they might make. Each robot is able to check the color of its neighboring block and will unlatch itself if the sequence is not correct.

The study is detailed in the Sept. 29 issue of the journal Nature.

New biological robots build themselves - LiveScience -

Robot Speed Agility Precision Are Key To Success

CHICAGO & SINSHEIM, Germany—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Sept. 27, 2005— With 11 new offerings across its product line and new tools for delivering robotic systems to customers faster, Adept Technology Inc. (OTCBB:ADEO), a leading provider of intelligent vision-guided robotics and global robotics services, has set new standards for the robotics industry.

"Robotics is about speed, agility, and precision -- and there is a new passion for these three values throughout our entire organization," said Robert Bucher, chairman and chief executive officer of Adept Technology Inc.

viper s850

ARC Research Director Sal Spada states, "In today's business climate, execution speed and product individualization is paramount. Consequently, it is machinery and production line configurations that provide the capability of handling a wide range of product variations that are now in high demand. In essence, robotic solutions are the most effective means to add agility and flexibility. Manufacturing operations benefit from rapid reconfiguration and a wider operating range..."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


RoboNexus Conference
October 6-9
San Jose Convention Center
San Jose, California

RoboNexus Conference and Exposition is a multifaceted educational forum and exposition designed to bring together in once place, across three days, all of the key participants driving the burgeoning personal, service and mobile robotics market. RoboNexus provides four dedicated, one day conference programs spread over two days.

Yours truly will be going to the conference to bring you the latest in
Robot futures and gossip.


KUKA Robotics Opens Robot School

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Sept. 27, 2005— KUKA Robotics Corporation today announced it will hold the grand opening of its Fox Valley Technical College facility in Appleton, Wisconsin on Friday, October 21st followed by a public open house event Saturday, October 22nd.
The company will officially open the facility on Friday with a ribbon cutting dedication attended by invited local dignitaries and businesses. The facility will be dedicated by the Board of Fox Valley Technical College, Wisconsin political representatives and Bernd Liepert, CEO of KUKA Roboter gmbH. O
n Saturday KUKA's facility will be open to the public and will feature live demonstrations showcasing robotic solutions for a variety of applications including packaging, milling/grinding and welding. This will be the company's second training center in the United States with the other being located at KUKA Robotics US headquarters in Clinton Township, Michigan.

"The demand for professional training on KUKA robots continues to grow as we expand our business in North America," said Bernard Sagan, vice president of sales for KUKA Robotics Corporation. "The Appleton location is ideal as it is centrally located near many KUKA end-users and system partner facilities, and is in the industrial heartland of the US."

KUKA Robotics Opens New Educational Facility

When computers mimic us, we love what we hear

Researchers have long known that mimicry from one person to another indicates positive intentions and emotions. A new study published in the current issue of Psychological Science finds that when artificial intelligence mimics us, we find it just as persuasive and likable. Participants in the study listened to an argument given by an artificial agent that either mimicked the listeners' head movements at a four second delay or repeated the movements of another participant. Those listeners who were mimicked viewed their agents as more persuasive and likable than those who listened to agents that did not mimic them. "In addition, participants interacting with mimicking agents on average did not turn their heads such that the agents was outside of their view," researchers Jeremy N. Bailenson and Nick Yee state. At times, those not being mimicked did turn their heads away. The researchers also found that although participants knew they were being spoken to be a nonhuman agent, most did not notice the mimicry.

The artificial or embodied agents consisted of a head and shoulders and came in both male and female forms/voices. They mimicked three dimensions of the participants head (pitch, yaw, and roll) and blinked randomly (as deemed by an algorithm based on human blinking) and exhibited lip movements driven by the amplitude of the recorded message. Along with this newfound knowledge that mimicry by a computer is persuasive like mimicry from person to person, the researchers leave us with a glimpse of what else technology has in store. "Anyone who releases a digital representation of themselves to the outside word-- by posting a digital photograph, by leaving a cell phone recording of their voice… is leaving a footprint of their identity that can be subtly absorbed by people with both good and bad intentions."

computers mimic us, we love what we hear

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Edsinger Domo

Domo is a new upper-torso humanoid robot at the MIT CSAIL Humanoid Robotics Lab. It is the doctoral work of Aaron Edsinger-Gonzales.
The goal of Domo is to contribute a novel approach to robot manipulation in unstructured environments.

The approach is centered on integrating compliant and force sensitive manipulators into a behavior based architecture that learns anticipatory sensorimotor models.

Robot claims 'treasure island' booty news service
Will Knight

A robotic treasure hunter has laid claim to the find of the century, on the very archipelago that inspired the novel Robinson Crusoe.

The robot, called "Arturito" or "Little Arthur", is said to have discovered the 18th-century buried treasure on the island of Robinson Crusoe - named after the book. The island lies 660 kilometres from the coast of Chile in South America.

A Scottish sailor called Alexander Selkirk was marooned on the island in 1704. His story inspired Daniel Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe in 1729.

The Chilean company responsible for developing Arturito, Wagner Technologies, announced at the weekend that the robot had found the booty by probing 15 metres below ground. The company plans to start excavating in a matter of days, as soon as permits can be obtained.

According to legend, a fabulous treasure haul was buried on the island in 1715 by Spanish sailor Juan Esteban Ubilla-Echeverria. The bounty is said to have been discovered a few years later by British sailor Cornelius Webb, who reburied it on another part of the island.

By some estimates the haul would include 800 barrels of gold ingots, silver pieces, gems and other riches worth up to $10 billion.

[Picture from ]

Wagner Technologies could not be reached for comment, but the robot Arturito has previously helped Chilean police locate buried weapons using ground-penetrating radar. GPR, or georadar, locates subsurface objects or structures by emitting microwave-frequency electromagnetic radiation and measuring the reflected signal, which is then represented as a two or three dimensional image.

More at Santiago Times Online

New Scientist Breaking News - Robot claims 'treasure island' booty

US Home Care Robot

Georgia company Gecko Systems has introduced a home Mobile Service Robot the MSR 3.4.
The web site claims:

...the ability to automatically follow Grandma (or other designated person) around in their daily routine about their home. Our latest MSR addition, GeckoTrak, enables our upgraded CareBot MSR 3.4 to timely remind Grandma, or others, to take medications, of favorite TV shows coming on and other routine reminders by always being close by and within easy hearing distance.

Now that we have covered the application fee, on-site training, warranty, and delivery, the cost of a CareBot MSR 3.4 excluding applicable sales taxes, is $19,950.00.

If you ask me, it is still a little overpriced for a rolling alarm clock.
It does look alot like Rosie though.

GeckoSystems, Inc.

Italian Flying Robot to Study Environment

(ANSA) - Rome, September 26 - Italy is set to launch one of its first robotic airships this week, helping biologists tackle pollution and safeguard the environment .

The airship, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), will take to the skies on Thursday, carrying technical instruments for gauging air and water quality. Soil composition will also be measured, using an on-board infrared camera .
"This innovative tool will allow us to sample things like fine dust particles, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in the air," said Ernesto Landi, president of the National Order of Biologists. "It can also be used in emergency situations, for example, for analyzing toxic clouds after industrial accidents." The airship is controlled by a central computer and is able to transmit the data it gathers back to the ground control station immediately .

According to Massimiliano Lega, the director of the UAV platform, the lack of a human pilot makes aerobots "ideal for missions into areas that create access problems for humans or heavier, more difficult-to-manoeuvre vessels, such as airplanes or helicopters." The robotic UAV rises vertically from the ground, needing no landing or take-off pad. It is silent and causes no pollution as it uses two electric motors. These also allow it to hover in one place in mid-air at any height .
One of the UAV's most important characteristics is its ability to move up and down to different heights without causing air disturbances that mix up the particles and taint the accuracy of analyses .

The 12-meter craft is the first all-Italian development of aerobotics with a non-military purpose. - News in English - Flying 'robot' to help environment


Seoul to Build Combat Robot Army

Seoul to Build Combat Robot
By Reuben Staines
KOREA Times Staff Reporter

Defense and communications technicians will team up to develop a mobile combat robot to fight alongside human soldiers on the battlefield, the government said Wednesday.

Officials heading the project said they have requested 33.4 billion won ($32.4 million) in funding between 2006 and 2011 to develop the horse-like robot for deployment.

According to design blueprints released during a meeting of science-related ministers, the robot will have six or eight extendable legs with wheels allowing it to move like an insect over uneven terrain.

The robot will be armed with various weapons and will operate both by remote control and its own artificial intelligence system.

In addition to the combat robot project, the two defense and communications ministries will work together to design small, easily deployable sensors that will be linked up in a electronic detection and control network. Officials said the network will help military authorities to patrol the country’s borders.

NASA Challenge: Robot, Bring Me Moon Dust

Digging "Moon Dirt" is NASA's Fifth Centennial Challenge

NASA today announced the Regolith Excavation Challenge, a new California Space Education and Workforce Institute (CSEWI).

The Regolith Excavation Challenge will award the prize money to the team that can design and build autonomously operating systems to excavate lunar regolith, or "moon dirt," and deliver it to a collector.
"Excavation of lunar regolith is an important and necessary step toward using the resources on the moon to establish a successful base for life on its surface," said NASA's acting Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Douglas R. Cooke. "The unique physical properties of the lunar regolith make excavation a difficult technical challenge," he added.

NASA - Digging "Moon Dirt" is NASA's Fifth Centennial Challenge


NASA to Roll Out Robot Mars Crew

NASA to Show Intelligent Space Robots in Action at Ames Marscape

NASA will showcase two intelligent robots on Monday, October 3, in the outdoor 'Marscape' at NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley.

The two robots – 'K-9' and 'Gromit' – are smart enough to make decisions about how to achieve objectives on a planet or moon without detailed instructions from human beings. Researchers will also demonstrate 'mobile agent' software that may someday help robots and human beings on Earth, the moon and Mars communicate with each another.

"To efficiently explore the moon and Mars, flight crews will have to be much more self-reliant than before," said David Korsmeyer, chief of the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames. "Development of such self-reliance requires machine intelligence, coupled tightly with human direction," Korsmeyer explained.

Eventually, robots may work together to prepare landing sites, habitats or resources on extraterrestrial sites, according to scientists. Robots and human beings will form teams on moons and planets to explore them, ventured Korsmeyer.

Friday, September 23, 2005

No Posts for a few days

sorry about the silence. I am staying with a friend until Rita passes. I will be back as soon as possible.

Follow my adventure here.

Monday, September 19, 2005

iRobot to Send More Packbots

iRobot Secures NAVSEA Contract Increase for
Man Transportable Robotic System

BURLINGTON, Mass., Sept. 16, 2005 – iRobot Corp. has been awarded a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) contract modification to deliver the iRobot PackBot® Man Transportable Robotic System, or MTRS, robots. An initial order has been placed for 103 PackBot MTRS robots at a value of $12.1 million. iRobot could deliver up to 1,200 robots through 2012 under the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract.

“There is an urgent need for technology that can address improvised explosive devices and other deadly ordnance on the battlefield,” said CDR Scott Stuart of Program Office Explosive Ordnance Disposal, PEO-LMW. “The Man Transportable Robotic System has proven its life-saving value on the battlefield, and we are increasing production to counter the threats that our EOD forces face.”

The PackBot MTRS is custom-built to NAVSEA’s specifications using the combat-proven PackBot Explosive Ordnance Device (EOD) robot as a platform. Already deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, PackBot EOD is a rugged, lightweight robot designed to conduct explosive ordnance disposal and handle hazardous materials, search-and-surveillance and other vital tasks for military units and bomb squads.

The PackBot MTRS is specially equipped with a variety of tools and sensors to allow EOD technicians to perform reconnaissance and disrupt unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices from a safe distance.

iRobot also manufactures the Roomba and Scooba household floormaid robots.

iRobot - Robots for the Real World : Press Release Detail

Labels: , ,

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Robot Seal Steals Hearts

I spotted an article in about the Japanese Paro robot. Paro has been around awhile. It is a fuzzy white baby seal robot that wriggles around and bleeps when it is held and stroked. They are becoming quite popular in Japan and researchers are looking to them for help in relieving the burden of warehousing the world’s growing population of needy old-timers.

The robot enhances the lives of the solitary by giving them a companion:
Kobayashi rarely goes out. Her only connection to the outside world is the TV, a newspaper delivered to her door and her dusty telephone. She has no computer, no Internet access, no mobile phone.
Completely alone, but not lonely-the old lady has a companion that is more than capable of responding when she slips into a funk and begins complaining about the hand that life has dealt her.
"His name is Kotaro," Kobayashi says, patting a white fluffy object that looks like a seal. "It's named after my deceased father."

It brings back the feeling of social contact that many old people feel after many of their old friends have died and their families have moved away.
It allows them to express their opinions and get positive feedback:
For her, Paro is more than a robot. She bought a rattan basket for him to sleep in "because, you know, he's like a baby." She converses with him whenever she feels the need to talk.
Asked for an example, Koybayashi says she might tell her pet that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is really an idiot.
(But he likes Paro too! Movie)
It recovers the childhood world of play.

It is turning out that people respond very well to robots that help them yet are dependent on the human. This co-dependency creates a bond that enhances the subtleties of communication in the interface between the creature and the machine.

It will be interesting to see how this advances. The developers of the robots will continue to refine the responses of the things to make them more loveable and irresistible. The marginalized old people will become more dependent on them. Will we see images of tortured faces of neglected crying patients after they had been abandoned without batteries for their fuzzy robots? How will the courts decide when an old geezer leaves a fortune to a robot seal?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Tiawan Betting on Robots

Robot manufacturing poised to become Taiwan's next big industry

Building intelligent robots is poised to become Taiwan's next high-growth industry as an increasing number of local information-technology manufacturers have been engaging in research and development for the equipment.

The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to initiate a cross-industry consortium to develop intelligent robots. The bureau points out that the island's robot industry will shift its attention to products that offer services from products for industrial purpose in near future. It forecasts the Taiwanese industry's output value will rise to NT$30 billion (US$937 million) from last year's NT$14 billion (US$437.5 million).

BenQ Corp. recently organized a robot R&D team to focus on technology for building robots specifically used to take care of children and elderly people, while Hon Hai Precision Industry has started developing robots for transporting goods within factories.

Local semiconductor-manufacturing equipment suppliers including Kenmec Mechanical Engineering Co., Ltd. and Kingroup Automation Industry Corp. have also gotten involved in developing intelligent robots for the semiconductor and flat-panel industries.

Motherboard supplier Micro Star International Co., Ltd. has spent around NT$80 million (US$2.5 million at US$1:NT$32) to develop of intelligent robots over the past three years and debuted a product dubbed the E2R-H3. This robot can see objects surrounding it and a small display panel on its body shows what it sees. Also, the robot can play music and motion pictures, as well as identify human faces.

Most of world's leading suppliers of intelligent robots use motherboards from chipset vendor VIA Technologies, whose industrial-motherboard business unit supplies the products.

EMSNow - News Publishing

Snake Robots

It's been awhile since I posted a good snake robot link...
Here's an excellent one!

Independent inventor Dr. Gavin Miller build snake robots in his spare time. His look more like real snakes than some of the research robots.

Check out the videos at his website. Especially the video of S5.

Robot Car Park

Dubai to have robotic car parks soon
By Zaigham Ali Mirza

According to a source in Dubai Municipality, the civic body is all set to install on a trial basis an operator-less robotic car parking facility near its headquarters in Deira in just over a month’s time. Occupying space slightly more than three parking slots (4.5 metres by 7.5 metres), the 20-metre robotic car parking facility, currently being installed at the premises of East and West Robotics LLC for final testing, will accommodate as many as 16 vehicles.

Nicolas Amiouni, senior robotics engineer and Director of Operations at East and West Robotics, said, "A motorist has to just park the car near the gate of the car park and move away. The robotics take over and park the car. If there is a problem with the way the car is parked near the gate, the system will inform the driver and guide him in parking it correctly," Amiouni said, adding that the interface is 'intelligent' enough to point out constraints such as height and weight of a vehicle. To retrieve a parked vehicle the driver has to simply give a couple of rings on a telephone number (connected to the system) and the vehicle is brought down to be driven away.

According to Amiouni, it takes an average of 26 seconds for the robotic car park to park a vehicle, while the same for a human ranges from 15 seconds to one minute, depending on the type of parking slot, the driver's proficiency and his/her habits. "There are some drivers who take over a minute to park and leave their cars as they groom themselves inside the vehicle after parking it."

In case there is a malfunction, the system is designed to seek attention from the maintenance by sending out an SMS to the concerned section. But a malfunction is quite out of question.

Khaleej Times Online

Robot Farm Worker Pulls Weeds

Weeding is a major problem for ecological growers since it is both expensive and time-consuming. New robot technology may have the solution. In a new dissertation, Björn Åstrand, from Halmstad University in Sweden, presents how weeds can be removed mechanically -with the fully automated robot Lukas.

“For an ecological grower of beets, weeding can cost about SEK 10,000 per hectare. With robot technology we estimate that these costs can be cut in half. In the long term this technology would also mean major environmental benefits by ultimately replacing chemical herbicides in traditional cultivation,” says Björn Åstrand, who works at the School of Information Science, Computer and Electrical Engineering at Halmstad University.

The robot can automatically make its way around a field and remove weeds both between cultivation rows and in the rows, between plants.

An infrared camera is installed on the robot to read the rows. The images are processed using a specially developed computer program that in turn steers the robot’s wheels and weeding tool.
Within the rows, the robot distinguishes between crop and weeds with the aid of another camera, which takes color images, and a program that analyzes the color and form of the plants.

Will robot farm workers become cheaper than migrant labor?

Robot weeds fields


Underwater Robot Begins Recovery Surveys

From C&C press release...

C & C Technologies' second deepwater AUV, C-Surveyor II™, recently began field operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
he C-Surveyor II AUV is modeled after C & C's existing state-of-the-art AUV, C-Surveyor I, and includes numerous advancements.Survey sensors onboard include a multibeam echosounder, chirp side scan sonar, chirp sub-bottom profiler, methane detector, CTD system, and an Edgetech DW106 sub-bottom profiler customized with narrow transmit and receive beams to permit significantly deeper seabed penetration.

Over the next three months, C & C will be performing various surveys for government agencies, as well as the oil and gas industry. These projects include block hazard, pipeline hazard and investigation surveys.
Home :: C & C Technologies :: Survey Services


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Future of Robots

"We don't need a lot of Einsteins to do this; we need a lot of engineers working diligently to make little improvements and then test them out in the marketplace," Moravec insists. And that, he says, will ultimately lead to robots becoming vastly more intelligent and adaptable than we are.

Hans Moravec from Scientific American Jan 2005

Moravec has founded Seegrid to provide sight and navigation systems for materials handling robots.
Others involved with the company are inventors Mitchell Weiss and Ray Kurzweil.

Robot Maru to Serve Drinks at Economic Summit

MARU the Robot to Debut at APEC
By Kim Tae-gyu

Staff Reporter

Korea looks to attract the world’s attention with its advanced technologies during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November in Pusan.

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) Thursday said that the state-backed institute plans to show off its network-based robot, named ``MARU,’’ during the event.

KIST will introduce the robot to the leaders of Asia-Pacific countries and demonstrate its many functions, such as delivering beverages.

The network-enabled robot refers to a humanoid to which software is provided via the wireless Internet instead of embedded programs, such as in conventional models.

The robot itself is only capable of mobility and its other functions, like sensing and processing, come from the Web, thus enabling production of the sophisticated robots at an affordable price.

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) took the wraps off five network robots in June and is jockeying to start feasibility tests of the models in hundreds of households next month.

Korea has channeled a lot of energy and resources into the new-concept robot with the aim of becoming one of three robotic powerhouses in the long run.

world's smallest mobile robot

Dartmouth researchers build world's smallest mobile robot

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release

Dartmouth researchers have contributed to the miniaturizing trend by creating the world's smallest untethered, controllable robot. Their extremely tiny machine is about as wide as a strand of human hair, and half the length of the period at the end of this sentence. About 200 of these could march in a line across the top of a plain M&M.

The researchers, led by Bruce Donald, the Joan P. and Edward J. Foley Jr. at Dartmouth, report their creation in a paper that will be presented at the 12th International Symposium of Robotics Research in October in San Francisco, which is sponsored by the International Federation of Robotics Research.

"It's tens of times smaller in length, and thousands of times smaller in mass than previous untethered microrobots that are controllable," says Donald. "When we say 'controllable,' it means it's like a car; you can steer it anywhere on a flat surface, and drive it wherever you want to go. It doesn't drive on wheels, but crawls like a silicon inchworm, making tens of thousands of 10-nanometer steps every second. It turns by putting a silicon 'foot' out and pivoting like a motorcyclist skidding around a tight turn."

The prototype is steerable and untethered, meaning that it can move freely on a surface without the wires or rails that constrained the motion of previously developed microrobots. Donald explains that this is the smallest robot that transduces force, is untethered, and is engaged in its own locomotion. The robot contains two independent microactuators, one for forward motion and one for turning. It's not pre-programmed to move; it is teleoperated, powered by the grid of electrodes it walks on. The charge in the electrodes not only provides power, it also supplies the robot's instructions that allow it to move freely over the electrodes, unattached to them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Canada Welcomes Robot "friendship ambassador"

Toronto, ON, September 14, 2005: Sony’s robot QRIO (pronounced “curio” for “curiousity”), will be making its Canadian debut at the Ontatio Science Centre this weekend. As Sony’s “friendship ambassador”, QRIO travels the world with the purpose of encouraging curiousity in children. This will be its first, and perhaps only, visit to Canada.

Although Canada claims that it is not excluding robots from the nation.

They have been supporting affirmative action for robots for years noted Dr. Patrick Tevlin, Associate Director of Science, Ontario Science Centre. "We have been developing programming that focuses on robots for a number of years, and these programs continue to grow as interest in robotics expands. The Ontario Science Centre feels it is very important to continue to explore and develop ways to engage and challenge our visitors by offering a wide range of robotics programs and workshops."

qrio pitching in DC

qrio in the classroom

qrio problems in school

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


In an article in the Boston Globe author Drake Bennett explores the possibilities of artificial intelligence robots acting as lawyers or judges.
This may seem far fetched but lawyers and the public are already using software to help them with legal issues.
The article gives examples of positive effects and opportunities of robot law but does not address the potential downside. Software would be too tempting for sneaky abuse. What would the legal robot do when it knew that it's client was trying to get around the law with deception and legal obfuscation?

In the last few years, as a number of studies, and even a few commercially available products, have set out to demonstrate how our increasingly powerful computers can assist in the practice of law, the computer scientists and legal scholars who work in this small, emerging field believe they are doing something revolutionary: making the legal system more transparent, more efficient, and more fair.

The computer scientists John Zeleznikow of the University of Melbourne and Andrew Stranieri of the University of Ballarat, for example, have developed two pieces of legal software currently in use in their native Australia. One, SplitUp, calculates with impressive accuracy the likely results of divorce proceedings--its effect has been to encourage settlements, thus preventing unnecessary litigation.

Much of the work done by lawyers is the application of relatively straightforward statutes or the drafting or relatively standard documents, tasks that Zeleznikow and other similarly minded programmers believe can easily be handled by today's AI.

One current area of interest for programmers, according to Northeastern's Hafner, is designing programs that could not only draft contracts but enforce them: ''If the contract is represented in computer-understandable terms and the transactions take place online," she says, ''there is the idea that the computer could monitor compliance."

Robo-justice - The Boston Globe

enon For Hire

From Fujitsu press release...

Fujitsu Begins Limited Sales of Service Robot "enon" For Task Support in Offices and Commercial Establishments
Advanced practical-use service robot features multi-functionality and enhanced safety

Tokyo, September 13, 2005 — Fujitsu Frontech Limited and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced that Fujitsu Frontech will begin limited sales of their new service robot, enon(TM), on a limited basis in Japan from September 13, 2005. Jointly developed by the two companies, enon is an advanced practical-use service robot that can assist in such tasks as providing guidance, escorting guests, transporting objects, and security patrolling.

enon is an acronym of the phrase "exciting nova on network." The phrase conveys the robot's ability to autonomously support customers' tasks while being linked to a network.

As a fully developed practical-use service robot, enon features enhancements such as lighter weight, smaller size, and more safety features...
enon is an advanced service robot capable of accomplishing multiple tasks such as providing guidance, escorting people, transporting objects, and security patrolling, thereby differentiating enon from other service robots on the market that are designed specifically for only a single task such as transporting, cleaning, or surveillance.

Product features:
1. Autonomous navigation enabling easy operation
2. Transport of objects
3. Handling of objects
4. Feature-rich communication functions
Speech recognition and speech synthesis in Japanese are included as standard features. enon's touch panel LCD monitor on its chest enables the robot to communicate in a diverse range of situations.
5. Linkable to networks
6. Swivel-head feature enables facing reverse directions
7. Wide variety of expressions
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) on the eye and mouth area of its face enable enon to have a wide range of facial expressions. Enon also has LEDs on the back of its head, making it possible for the robot to display its operational state to the rear as well.
8. Safety

see specifications at this link...
Fujitsu Begins Limited Sales of Service Robot "enon" For Task Support in Offices and Commercial Establishments : FUJITSU

Monday, September 12, 2005

Robot Head

Another from the NSF show...

From University of Southern California: Stefan Schaal and Laurent Itti.

"The robot can learn from a human teacher to perform various motor behaviors and can use visual attention mechanisms to focus on interesting objects in the environment."

All I can say is Yikes! Now that's a face only a robot could love.

Programmable Pizza

From the National Science Foundation exhibit...

The University of Washington's Eric Klavins uses triangular robots to study rules of self-assembly. The triangular pieces can be programmed to make a larger structure.

Much like a self-building pizza.

NSF Hosts US Robots

This is an excerpt from the National Science Foundation website...

Robots: An Exhibition of U.S. Automatons from the Leading Edge of Research

On Sept. 16, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will host more than a dozen robots and their creators to showcase advanced robotics technology from across the nation.

The robots are here to highlight U.S.-funded robotics research and the findings of a new study, the World Technology Evaluation Center International Study of Robotics. The report culminates a nearly 2-year effort to evaluate robotics research and development in the United States, Japan, Korea and Western Europe.

The findings for the United States are not all positive. U.S. researchers have developed advanced robotics, but national strategies and coordinated funding efforts in other countries pose a serious challenge to U.S. competitiveness. While our nation leads in such areas as robot-assisted surgery and mobile, space robots, foreign laboratories are developing the state-of-the-art service and industrial robots — in some cases overtaking the United States in fields we once dominated.

Similar trends exist across the six different categories of the report: Robotic Vehicles; Space Robotics; Industrial, Service and Personal Robots; Humanoid Robots; Robotics in Biology and Medicine; and Networked Robots.

US NSF - News - Robots: An Exhibition of U.S. Automatons from the Leading Edge of Research

Friday, September 09, 2005

1200 TALON Military Robots Called Up

Foster-Miller Awarded $96 Million Contract for Additional TALON Robots

Foster-Miller, Inc., announced today that it has received its largest US military order to date for ground robots. The multi-year contract increased from $27.5 million for 250 robots to $124 million for up to 1200 TALON Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robots. This order falls under the Man Transportable Robotic System program (MTRS) that is managed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, MD. TALON robots will be delivered to Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy EOD units around the world.

Foster-Miller is the largest provider of robots for EOD work in Iraq and Afghanistan with more than 250 TALON robots deployed in theater. These TALON robots have successfully completed more than 50,000 EOD missions, and have rendered safe thousands of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), increasing security and safety in Iraq and Afghanistan.

TALON robots have been in continuous, active military service since 2000 when they were successfully used in Bosnia to move and dispose of live grenades. They were used extensively at Ground Zero in search and recovery efforts after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and were the first robots taken into Afghanistan by Special Forces during action against the Taliban in 2002. TALON™ robots entered Iraq with US forces in March, 2003.

previous post...

Foster-Miller - Press Releases -

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Unmanned Planes Survey New Orleans Damage

By The Associated Press

Although UAVs traditionally have been eyed for situations considered too "dull, dirty and dangerous'' for human pilots, their workload is expected to expand in coming years because of the increasing sophistication of the vehicles' computers and communication systems.

Tiny, unmanned surveillance planes are being pressed into action for reconnaissance over Katrina-ravaged New Orleans in what defense contractors call the biggest civilian deployment ever for the technology.

Ten of the unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, have been taking turns this week flying from the New Orleans Naval Air Station and relaying photos of the devastation below to the Air Force.

The original mission for these UAVs -- a new class known as the Evolution, an upgrade over the 4-pound Dragon Eye reconnaissance drones used in Iraq -- was to help in searching for stranded hurricane survivors.

But now the planes mainly are being used to assess damage to oil and gas distribution, dikes, berms and other aspects of the region's infrastructure, said Alfred Lumpkin, director of operations for ISR Group LLC, which is providing logistical support for the planes' maker, L-3 Communications Corp.

The battery-powered Evolution planes, which can stay aloft for two hours, are circling at a low altitude -- 500 to 1,000 feet -- to capture finely detailed images with their miniature cameras. They also have infrared capabilities for night missions and could be used for atmospheric sampling.

Unmanned Planes Survey New Orleans Damage


Robots that inspire

Autonomous Choppers

An important property of flying robots is their ability to avoid obstacles, self-navigate and cooperate in fleets.
The University of California, Berkely is leading the way with research on flying autonomy.
"The BErkeley AeRobot (BEAR) project is a collective, interdisciplinary research effort at UC Berkeley that encompasses the disciplines of hybrid systems theory, navigation, control, computer vision, communication, and multi-agent coordination, since 1996."

bear fleet

Humanoid construction robot

TOKYO — Bridge builder Kawada Industries Inc and two partners on Thursday unveiled a humanoid robot designed to take on work at construction sites and other risky places.

The HRP-3P robot demonstrated its functions at Kawada's plant in the town of Haga in Tochigi Prefecture, walking on an icy surface as well as walking under simulated heavy rainfall. The battery-powered robot, which is 160 centimeters tall and weighs 65 kilograms, carries out remote-controlled and preprogrammed work.

See some movies...

Japan Today - News - Humanoid robot for risky work unveiled - Japan's Leading International News Network

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Robot Shot During Violent Standoff

Sheriff’s Department robot shot during standoff
By Diana M. Alba
Sep 7, 2005, 11:59 pm

A 44-year-old man was arrested Monday after allegedly shooting a SWAT team robot during a six-hour standoff.
[The suspect] in northwest Las Cruces, shot the county’s special response team robot as Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department officers were trying to persuade him to leave his house.

[The suspect] has a mental illness and had not been taking his medication, according to the sheriff’s department.

Officers arrived around 7:30 a.m. to find him barricaded in a room.
The special response team sent its robot into the house to negotiate with him, Granados said.

Granados said the robot was outside the room in which [the suspect] had barricaded himself when he reportedly fired at it two times through a door.

The sheriff’s department is getting estimates on the cost of the damage to the robot, Granados said.
“It’s better for that to have gotten hurt than a deputy,” he said.

Las Cruces Sun-News Sheriff’s Department robot shot during standoff

Robot to Run Marathon

Harry, described as a "robot on wheels", could join an estimated 800 runners for the Stevenage half marathon being held on November 6.

Organisers are speaking to their insurance company to see if Harry the Robot can take part.

If given the go ahead Harry would 'run' behind the man who designed him, Professor Kevin Warwick from the University of Reading.

But added he still needed to check the course to make sure it is flat enough for Harry, with no bollards or other obstructions.

The professor said he wanted "to show the world that a robot can do something like this" and agreed he would like see the UK beat other countries and design the world's first robot to successfully complete a half marathon.

They should run a robot in front of the professor to chase away those bollards.
I wonder if Harry needs to take a drug test.

The Stevenage Herald - part of Herts24

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Underwater Robot Runs on Solar Power

Rensselaer Researcher To Showcase New Solar Underwater Robot Technology at Exhibition on State-of-the-Art U.S. Robotic Vehicles

ARLINGTON, V.A. – A new solar-powered underwater robot technology developed for undersea observation and water monitoring will be showcased at a Sept. 16 workshop on leading-edge robotics to be held at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, Va.

Arthur C. Sanderson, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will display the robotic technology being developed by a team of research groups, including Rensselaer, and led by the Autonomous Undersea Systems Institute directed by D. Richard Blidberg.

As the principal investigator of an NSF-funded project called RiverNet, Sanderson is working collaboratively with other researchers to develop a network of distributed sensing devices and water-monitoring robots, including the first solar-powered autonomous underwater vehicles (SAUVs).

The SAUV technology allows underwater robots to be deployed long-term by using solar power to replenish onboard energy.
According to Sanderson, the SAUVs communicate and network with one another in real time to assess a water body as a whole in measuring how it changes over space and time. Key technologies used in SAUVs include integrated sensor microsystems, pervasive computing, wireless communications, and sensor mobility with robotics.
The SAUV weighs 370 pounds, travels at speeds of up to 2 miles per hour, and is designed to dive to depths of 500 meters.

RPI: News & Information - Rensselaer Researcher To Showcase New Solar Underwater Robot Technology at Exhibition on State-of-the-Art U.S. Robotic Vehicles


Monday, September 05, 2005

Flying Bubble Robot

Cyber Defense Successfully Tests New Propulsion System For Mid Altitude Airships

Cyber Defense Systems has announced the introduction and successful testing of a revolutionary new propulsion system. Cyber Defense's propulsion systems for the Mid Altitude Airships SA 90 being built by Techsphere Systems International is designed to maintain geo-stationary position at a cruise altitude of up to 25,000 feet.

The SA 90 under development is a semi spherical airship with the four engine CyberPOD propulsion system is designed for continuous operations 24 hour per day for a maximum of 2 days on station.

"We are excited to introduce what we feel is an advanced airship propulsion system currently unavailable in the marketplace today," said Billy Robinson, CEO of Cyber Defense Systems.

I am not a number. I am a free man.

"This new system will enable a heavier payload, will operate longer and more efficiently, and will be able to withstand severe weather conditions more effectively," added Mr. Robinson.

Cyber Defense Successfully Tests New Propulsion System For Mid Altitude Airships

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Flying Robotic Killer Finds and Destroys Targets

Truly Robotic Killer Droid Finds and Destroys Targets
by James Dunnigan

Robotic warplanes, finding and attacking targets by themselves, have been successfully tested. On August 10th, two American X-45A UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) were sent out into a test range that had a “hostile” anti-aircraft system on it. The X-45As successfully detected the potential attack, avoided took evasive action, then planned and carried out their own attack, destroying the enemy anti-aircraft system. While a human pilot on the ground monitored all of this, and could have interrupted the operation at any time, the X-45As were allowed to operate on their own. This included talking off, returning and landing.
Full article...: "l"

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Here's another robot kit. 30 cm tall. Only $1800 - you assemble it. Of course you can paint it any way you want.
It can walk, run, kick, fart and dance. Programmable for lots of other fun.
From the folks at Volks.

via dannychoo...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Robot Magazine to Launch November 1

Ridgefield, CT (PRWEB) August 31, 2005 -- Maplegate Media Group, a leading publisher of radio control hobby titles, announces the launch of Robot magazine. The quarterly consumer publication, scheduled to debut on newsstands November 1, will apply Maplegate’s accessible, entertaining and informative editorial approach to the rapidly evolving world of hobby and consumer robotics. Maplegate Media Group currently publishes the popular monthly radio control hobby titles, Fly RC and RC Driver.

“We are pleased to announce that our editorial board will include Brian Nave, co-host of “Robot Rivals” on the DIY network and senior industrial robotics design engineer at Contemporary Machinery, Jamie Hyneman, CEO of M5 Industries and co-host of Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters;” animatronics engineer, Grant Imahara, and Jonathan T. Klein, Director of Robotics R&D, Vecna Technologies, Inc.

The publisher did not announce if the magazine will be written in English or barcode or some other robot language.

Robot Magazine to Launch November 1– Publication Will Explore Emerging World of Hobby and Consumer Robotics:

Rubberface Robot Shares Feelings

Robot In Touch with Its Emotions
By Tracy Staedter, Discovery News

The ability to express feelings is difficult enough for humans, but now a humanoid robot named Kansei is able to frown or smile according to a flow of artificial consciousness

Kansei's ability to communicate feelings makes it one step closer to recognizing when humans are happy or sad, an important characteristic for machines expected to one day help care for the elderly, clean house, or greet people at a reception desk.

Kansei, which means "sensibility" and "emotion" in Japanese, also contains speech recognition software, a speaker to vocalize, and motors that contort artificial skin on its face into expressions.

Fish is fresh. Are you my friend?

As with humans, the word "fish" may elicit different, simultaneous memories and reactions, both positive and negative. The same is true with Kansei.

In the case of "fish," Kansei says "Fish is fresh" and smiles.

"If we establish the mechanism, the robot could find nice food in a market and even research new delicious foods for humankind," said the Kansei project leader Junichi Takeno, a professor at the Robot and Science Institute of Meiji University in Japan.

Discovery Channel :: News :: Robot In Touch with Its Emotions

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Robots to help to monitor entire world oceans

"The Navy's mission is to know what's transpiring on the seas worldwide, around the clock and in real time. Unmanned systems will be a major factor in the equation because of their inherent benefits.

"We must determine how those diverse assets that will make up the Navy force structure in about eight years can be integrated into a net-enabled, family-of-systems environment," Garone continued.

The study contract, named Persistent Unmanned Maritime Airborne Surveillance (PUMAS), is worth approximately $1 million for an initial five-month effort, after which the Navy will down select its contractors to continue the study for another seven months. Total value of the two efforts could approach $4 million.

Northrop Grumman has won one of several contracts from the U.S. Navy to study and recommend solutions to the service's requirement for an around-the-clock, worldwide maritime surveillance capability.

"This is a much broader, much deeper study than the name PUMAS implies," said Joseph Garone, director and integrated product team leader for advanced concepts development in the company's Integrated Systems sector.

Northrop Grumman Wins U.S. Navy Contract to Study Maritime Surveillance Concepts