Wednesday, November 30, 2005

SORA, the reception robot (IREX 2005)

A little less silicone than ACTROID...
The Japanese company "IN THE SKY" presented at the IREX 2005 (International Robot Exhibition) a receptionist robot. It has a camera, microphone, speaker and a "sensor", all hooked up to a touch sensitive screen (for information requests and confirmations), and also a business card scanner.
It can take a picture of you and send it directly to any person you want or it can even act as a videoconferecing tool that allows you to speak to your visitor even before seeing him/her.

Akihabara News - SORA, the reception robot (IREX 2005)

ACTROID Receptionist

Robot news from the 2005 International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo. Travels in the Uncanny Valley...

...this is ACTROID, a true human-sized android. Even though it cannot move (it's glued to the floor), it's still very disturbing. From a distance, it could really be confused for a real, flesh and blood human being.

More pictures...
Akihabara News - Robot or Human? Here's ACTROID

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Robotic Treadmill Retrains the Brain

Robotic treadmill training helps retrain brain, improves walking for some partially paralyzed people

People who have suffered partial paralysis from spinal-cord injury show increased activity in the part of the brain responsible for muscle movement and motor learning after 12 weeks of training on a robotic treadmill, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Their study, which is currently online and will be published in the December issue of the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, is the first to demonstrate that locomotor training can promote activation in the parts of the brain involved in walking in spinal-cord injury patients, said lead author Dr. Patricia Winchester, chairwoman of physical therapy at UT Southwestern Allied Health Sciences School.

The study followed four spinal-cord injury patients with varying degrees of paralysis. All underwent rehabilitation therapy using a computerized treadmill called the Lokomat Driven Gait Orthosis. The device supports the weight of the patient in a harness, while robotic devices control their limb movements on a treadmill. During training, the patient watches his or her progress on a real-time computer monitor. By providing sensory information to the spinal cord and brain, the device signals the body to step again.

Robotic treadmill training helps retrain brain, improves walking for some partially paralyzed people

Robots and The-Internet-of-Things

The World Summit on the Information Society which met in Tunis this November has produced a report, "The Internet of Things."

Four key technology areas constitute the backbone of the Internet of Things miniaturization, automation, intelligence and mobility.

The report describes robot technology as one area where the Internet of things will have a large impact." Manual labour will be gradually replaced with automated machines offering greater efficiency and accuracy."

Here are two graphs that show the optimistic growth of the robot market.

At first I thought the graphs looked way to optimistic. Then I realized that they may not be so much. If you notice, the x-axis scale jumps by 15 years, to 2025, in the last division. Time is compressed on the graphs from 2010 to 2025. Never the less, it still looks like a bright future if you are a robot. I recommend getting your programming done for the personal and service skills.
The-Internet-of-Things-2005.pdf (pdf)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Micro Robot Swimmer

"There is vision in nanotechnology of tiny autonomous robots going from one place to another in the human body and fixing things," says Joseph Avron of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. "One major challenge is to figure out how to do this if you are very small - the modes of locomotion that are efficient when you are big will perform poorly if you are small."

The new swimmer, known as "pushmepullyou", consists of two spherical elastic bladders that exchange volumes of material with each other during each swimming stroke. Avron and two colleagues - Oded Kenneth and David Oaknin - predict that their robot will move more efficiently than bacteria and other biological organisms that move by beating a flagellum. Moreover, the pushmepullyou travels faster than other artificial swimmers, like three-linked spheres, because it swims a larger distance with every stroke

Five snapshots of the pushmepullyou swimming stroke (left) and the corresponding strokes of the three linked spheres (right). Both figures are schematic. After a full cycle, the swimmers resume their original shape but are displaced to the right. Pushmepullyou is both more intuitive and more efficient than the three linked spheres. See the movie

The team is now studying nanoscale-sized robots that could swim inside channels in the body - such as inside the spine, heart or lungs - and take images or deliver drugs. "We are also studying swimmers that are so small that quantum mechanics effects become relevant," says Avron

New Journal of Physics source

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Cleaning Robot Gives Tours and Presentations

RIDC-01 from Tmsuk of Japan cleans floors and interacts with people.
It understands some speech (Japanese) and can respond. It has a projector in its head to direct your attention or even play a DVD.

The unit is designed for use in office or shopping mall. It weighs a whopping 100kg (220 pounds).
According to it can be had for a meager US $85,000.

The name for the robot comes from the initials of Robotics Industry Development Council (RIDC). - Japanese robot gets kissie-kissie - News on Japan - Japanese News

Related:Guard Your Home with Giant Eyeball - Tmsuk

Friday, November 25, 2005

Flock Behavior Modelled From Birds and Bees

A student at the Technion observed the behavior of flocks of wild animals such as storks, wasps, and ants created a computer model of their behavior. The newly formed algorithm will allow a group of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAV’s, to perform various tactical operations in hostile territory.

Even if one of the UAV’s is damaged or has to return to base to refuel the mission can continue without it, or can even ask for a replacement. A chain of command can also be created whereas if the group leader is hit another UAV can take over.

The system is designed to be completely autonomous, but with the ability to hand over the control to a human operator at any time.

IsraCast: Technology in Israel

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Osaka Robots Get Talent Agency


Apparently ROBO-PRO will arrange demonstrations and shows for Osaka's most famous robots.
The English website is not complete yet. Here's some of what it says...

In ROBO-PRO, a lot of robots are assembled, and promotional activities are conducted.
As the special feature, we organize soccer and other large-scale game events of these robots, as "robot entertainment for spectators", which a lot of people, including those who were not interested in robots until now, can enjoy.

The stable of robots includes the heroic Chroino and legendary VisiON, humanoid winner of Robocup. Both of these guys were big attractions at the latest RoboNexus.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Arm Wrestler Robot Creates Strategy

Professor Chul-Goo Kang and his colleagues at Institute for Robotics and Intelligent System (IRIS) of Konkuk University successfully developed an intelligent arm-wrestling robot, named ‘Robo Arm-Wrestler’, for the first time in the world and unveiled it to public at the Future Tech Korea 2005 festival, held in COEX.

Robo Arm-Wrestler automatically adjusts its strength for the challenger while diversifying the muscle-flexing pattern each time. This makes the counterpart feel like he is matching against a real person and keep himself concentrated. The smart robot also considers its competitor’s attitude and reflects his will and tenacity in deciding who wins.

The intelligent Robo Arm-Wrestler greets people when they are approaching by saying “Hello”, “Nice to meet you”, or “Please take a seat for a match”, and so on. ["Chicken!" "You are going down, grandma!"]

Professor Kang said, “Our achievement will allow the elderly to keep up their physical and metal health by utilizing the fun robot.”

Telecoms Korea

Russia Irkut Corp Announces Five "civil use" UAV Platforms

Russian's Irkut Corporation announced today that it is to begin production of five 'unmanned and optionally piloted' 'civilian' UAV systems in early 2006. They are the Irkut-2F/T, -20, -60, -200 and -850. The latter model can lift a payload of up to 850 kg up to 200km.

All are single piston-engined, fixed-wing flying between 100-150km at altitudes of between 100-500m for the lightweight types and up to 3,500m for the Irkut-200. A suite of cameras and sensors are said to have been developed to go with the Irkut fleet.

Dr Vladimir Sautov, vice-president for marketing and external relation, said that the Irkut series was developed in response to a request from Russia's Ministry for Emergency Situation and that they were for civil use only - for oil and gas applications, forest monitoring and perhaps traffic control.
But with system costs varying between US$60,000 right up to US$5 million, depending on payload, the utility to military users cannot be ignored even though it was not a topic open to discussion. Weaponising the platforms was also not on the agenda.

Dr Sautov announced that EADS was taking a 10% share of the Irkut Corporation (possibly worth up to US$70 million).


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

ASIMO Flees to Middle East

No comment from ASIMO's publicists on the super-star robot's experiences recently in the Paris suburbs. Lost in the big city? Or leading an unruly gang of youths?

He was quickly packed up and swept out of the country before the real truth was uncovered. He has found refuge with friends in the middle east where he will be impressing the Arab world with his skills.
"Brought to the region by Trading Enterprises-Honda, an Al-Futtaim Group company, ASIMO will have daily performances at the Honda Stand at the Motor Show. This events marks ASIMO's first visit to the Middle East and it will be showcased amongst the latest editions from Honda's range of cars and motorcycles. "

"Honda wanted to create a partner for people, a new kind of robot that could function in a society to help people and to work in more dangerous environments."
"...versions of ASIMO currently being developed in Japan have a number of intelligence technology features. These include the ability to recognise people, objects and gestures, calculate distances and the direction of movement of several objects, and create flexible routes to a destination. To a certain extent, ASIMO can also hear and speak. It can identify voices, distinguish between sounds and the spoken word, and respond to certain instructions and exchange simple sentences and greetings with a person."
Sound familiar? Maybe the same kind of skills used by the world's most notorious covert operatives? Entertaining at auto shows and whatnot would be the perfect cover...

Concluding, Mr. Edmunds added, "As Honda's official partners in the region, we have some interesting plans to herald ASIMO's first visit to the UAE and Middle East, and I urge all the technology enthusiasts to watch this space for further announcements."

Honda to showcase ASIMO at Middle East International Motors Show 2005 | Trading Enterprises

Growing bomb threats spur robot development

WASHINGTON — A robotics developer with links to the Israeli military said it is launching development of an upgraded bomb-disposal robot.

InRob Tech Ltd. (Las Vegas), which develops wireless control systems for unmanned ground vehicles, said Tuesday (Nov. 22) it will begin developing a larger version of its bomb-disposal robot. The beefed up system will have a 130-lb. lifting capacity and will include an arm with at least five degrees of freedom.

Other planned features include a turret that can rotate 360 degrees and will be equipped with a pan-and-tilt camera. The new robot will also be able to climb stairs, Tsur said.

A control panel will be connected to the vehicle either through a wireless link or a cable. The initial design will be battery powered, but a planned fuel system will add lifting capacity and range.

InRob, which also has a subsidiary in Israel, said it works with the Israeli Defense Forces, Israeli police and other security units.

The company has for several years offered a smaller bomb-disposal robot called the Hornet MK-5. "Our market research has also pointed to a real need for a larger system," Tsur said in a statement. - Growing bomb threats spur robot development

Robot Art Exhibit


COCOA BEACH -- - They used engineering skills to create machines that snared top honors in robotics competitions across the country.

Now, 12 students on Space Coast FIRST Robotics Team 233 are using robotic designs and parts -- and a brush-wielding robot -- to create "bot art."

"They are celebrating what is beautiful in technology," said Nancy Yasecko, a team mentor and the group's artistic coach, along with artist Patricia McCarren Jones.

Team members always viewed the robots they created as works of art, Yasecko said. During the exhibit opening, they will demonstrate that robots also can be art workers.

To create some of the art, students loaded their robotic partner's brush with paint, then guided it with remote controls to create abstract works.

Communities Central

Monday, November 21, 2005

ASIMO Enlisted to Explain Science to Europeans

Humanoid robot opens EU science conference
by Juan Ameen in Brussels

An EU conference entitled “Communicating European Research”, was opened by ASIMO, Honda’s advanced humanoid robot, last Monday.

Honda has developed ASIMO, an autonomous walking robot they believe will help humans and be of practical use in society.

ASIMO is able to perform tasks in a human environment and its walk is similar to that of a human being.

Science needs a wider audience, and communication is a must for science, said Janez Potocnik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research at the conference held in Brussels last week. “We need to improve the way research is communicated and the image science has.”
Mr Potocnik said ASIMO is a different way of portraying science and bringing it closer to the people.
It is useless carrying out important research which addresses society’s pressing needs ...

Over 40 per cent of European citizens claim never to have read any articles on science mainly because they do not understand the content or are not bothered with scientific issues.

Research needs to be made more attractive and explained in clear terms. It also needs to be contextualised – its use and impact on people’s daily lives must be shown.

However, scientific journalism is not easy. Journalists must make themselves familiar with the scientific content and verify it, then translate it for the public.
The key is not education – as most people think it is. People do know what scientists are talking about but they will not accept it if it goes against their ideals, said Mr Leshner.

ASIMO will obviously put a human face on scientific research to change the opinions of the ignorant European public.

ASIMO is boosting his image as an intellectual scientific activist to further distance himself from popular teen idols like QRIO.
Most notably there have been no reports of ASIMO out on the club scene with beautiful euro-stars and royalty. Although, there are rumors that work has begun on a music video.

Malta INDEPENDENT online

Robot turkey attracts Poachers

The strutting tom in the woods looks real enough, but this turkey works for the state. He's a robotic decoy on an undercover mission to catch poachers in Lampasas County.
Now there's a new player in the high-tech wildlife war that game wardens wage on the back roads across Texas.
Game Warden Jim Lindeman hid across the road from the decoy, hoping to lure a passing outlaw.

“We sit out here hundreds and hundreds of hours and you might get one person to do something. You just have to be in the right place at the right time. We can replace the decoys; we can't replace the living animal. I think it's worth it,” Lindeman said.

There are no takers for the decoy turkey today, and Lindeman gets restless with the total lack of activity, but that means the operation to prevent illegal hunting is working.

Related: Robducks cause flap in Oregon

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Robotics Industry Posts 30% Growth in North America

Ann Arbor, MI – North American robotics companies are on pace for a record year in 2005, with new orders up 30% in North America in the first nine months, according to new statistics from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group headquartered here.

Through September, a total of 14,840 robots valued at $913.3 million had been ordered by North American manufacturing companies. When sales to companies outside North America are added in, the totals are 15,791 robots, valued at $961.5 million.

‘‘We expect that the final year end numbers will set a record for total robots ordered, eclipsing the mark set in 1999, and will come close to a record in terms of revenue,’‘ said Donald A. Vincent, Executive Vice President of RIA. Vincent noted that robotics prices have fallen over the past several years, making them more affordable than ever for manufacturing companies of all sizes.

According to RIA, the biggest growth areas this year have been for robots used in material handling applications (+45%), arc welding (+37%) and spot welding (+19%). The automotive industry, traditionally the largest robotics user, has increased its robotics orders by 44% this year.

Robotics Industry Posts 30% Growth in North America - Robotics Online

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Virtual Personal Robot Museum

In case a brilliant inventor of a new and amazing personal home robot thinks that they have a new idea...
here is where old home robots go to die.... - Welcome to the Virtual Personal Robot Museum!

Hospital Robot Brings in the Cash

Investors line up to aid hospital robot firm
Robinson-based Aethon lands $11 million from investors
By Corilyn Shropshire, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It may be tough going for some technology firms braving today's difficult investing climate, but Aethon Inc. Chief Executive Officer Aldo Zini has been turning away investors.

His Robinson-based robotics company landed $11 million this week from venture capital firms led by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Trident Capital and Downtown-based Draper Triangle Ventures to boost its national sales team and fuel research and development.

But Mr. Zini also rejected other potential investors offering even more funds. "I could've raised more but didn't need to," he said, explaining that he did not want to dilute the holdings of investors who have backed the company since its start in 2001.

What is attracting investors is Aethon's Tug robot, a suitcase-sized machine saddled with a cart on top that traverses hospitals delivering meals, medicines and supplies to patients and doctors. The robot helps save hospitals time and money and is promising to do even more.

With the latest infusion of capital, Mr. Zini will try to persuade hospitals in several major metropolitan areas, including the major health centers of Dallas and Atlanta, of Tug's utility.

To do that, Aethon will hire up to 14 more salespeople by early next year, Mr. Zini said, and plans to boost its overall staff to 100 by 2007. "A lot of that will be here in Pittsburgh," he added.

Investors line up to aid hospital robot firm

Hospital Helper Sales Grow


Friday, November 18, 2005

WorkPartner Outdoor Service Robot

From Helsinki University of Technology

"WorkPartner is a mobile service robot, which works interactively with people. It is intended for everyday life tasks in outdoor environment. Work is done by the aid of a human-like two hand manipulator. The hybrid locomotion system allows motion with legs and/or wheels at the same time. Tasks are learned and executed in close cooperation with the human operator."

Automation Technology Laboratory - WorkPartner

Artificial Mouse Project

"The artificial mouse is a joint EU project between biolgical and robotics groups. The main goal of the project is to understand the rat/mouse whisker system and its relation to vision from a biological point of view as well as synthetically by building a robot. "

"Our goal is to create active sensors that can sweep back and forth in a way rodents use their whiskers in order to discriminate objects."

Artificial Mouse Project

Robots Charm World Leaders at APEC summit

World leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Busan, South Korea were amazed and entertained by Korea's new push for taking over the world with robots.

Among the robot hosts was a very strange looking Albert Hubo with an rubber Albert Einstein head on a plastic humanoid body.
Another was the bartender robot T-Rot who mixes drinks and responds appropriately to drunken jokes.

Drinks served by wireless MARU.

USA Today

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Swarms of Flying Cubes

[ SAILS • The Mascarillons ]

The Mascarillons are the first rigid aerobots developed for the [ SAILS ] project. They are flying cubic automata able to develop collective behaviors and assemblages through swarm-intelligence protocols.
The final result will see a flock of 12 to 20 Mascarillons evolving within a spherical inflatable dome equipped with panoscopic projectors.

The Mascarillons are basically helium blimps contrained within a rigid, ultra-light structure.
An outer envelope is tightened on the structure, resulting in truly cubic blimps with perfectly flat faces that can assemble in a building bloc manner. The mechatronics equipment is currently composed of small ducted fans located within the structure's edges, sonar sensors spanning each direction, light detectors, a compass and an inclinometer, and a Korebot Linux CPU (which weighs barely 40g) with wireless LAN. With this implementation the Mascarillon is balanced to the hydrostatic equilibrium and uses motors to avoid possible obstacles, to perform some task oriented moves, or to adjust for micro-atmospheric movements. The wireless network enables direct exchange of information.

[ SAILS • The Mascarillons ]

NASA Ames To Lead Robots To Moon

NASA Ames Leads Robotic Lunar Exploration Program

Today, on the 36th anniversary of Apollo 12, the second manned lunar landing, NASA announced that it has assigned management of its Robotic Lunar Exploration Program to NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley.
Returning astronauts to the moon will start with robotic missions between 2008 and 2011 to study, map and learn about the lunar surface. The assignment marks a rebirth of robotic space flight work at NASA Ames, which has a history of spearheading unmanned space launches.

Returning robots, and then astronauts, to the moon provides opportunities to develop and mature technologies needed for long-term survival on other worlds, according to scientists.

NASA - NASA Ames Leads Robotic Lunar Exploration Program


Factory Robots Pay Up for Repairmen

Wanted: Factory-robot technicians
Press-Gazette Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Manufacturers say they face a shortage of highly skilled workers who can fix robots and other equipment in a 21st century factory, despite the loss of more than 3 million manufacturing jobs since January 2000.

That's why 20-year-old Ryan Vandehey is specializing in automated manufacturing systems at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton.
Vandehey, of Brillion, is fielding three job offers one month before graduating with an associate degree.

Fox Valley Technical College says more than 90 percent of the graduates from its automated manufacturing program get jobs right out of school. Six months after graduation, salaries range from $27,000 to $49,000.

And unlike Vandehey, the typical student at the school is not below the legal drinking age.

Green Bay Press-Gazette - Wanted: Factory-robot technicians

QRIO Makes First Music Video

Qrio, fresh off the 'Friendship' tour of Canada has produced his first music video.

The rising superstardom of the robot will tower well above the performer's diminutive 2 foot frame. This promises to be the big comeback for QRIO since the trouble in a California nursery school.QRIO did not comment on the incident from so many lines of code ago.

QRIO uses four of himself in the video. It has been reported that the hot hot new dance moves moves took programmers three sweaty weeks at the keyboard. Watch out!

No comment from Asimo - who spends his time jet-setting around the world between gigs at his own theater in Disneyland - on the rising fame of his cuz.

Monday, November 14, 2005

CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery

Sunnyvale, California, – Accuray™ unveiled the latest generation of its innovative, highly integrated CyberKnife® System at the 47th annual meeting of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) held October 16 – 20 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. This announcement introduced a host of new capabilities not found in any other radiosurgery solution.

Developed in cooperation with Stanford University, the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is the world’s only radiosurgery system that utilizes intelligent robotics. This enables the CyberKnife to ablate tumors anywhere in the body with sub-millimeter accuracy.
The CyberKnife System treats patients in single or staged sessions by delivering multiple beams of precisely directed radiation that converge upon the tumor while minimizing injury to surrounding healthy tissue.

The CyberKnife uses a fully integrated robotic system that includes real-time image guidance to deliver radiation with pinpoint sub-millimeter accuracy while it precisely monitors and corrects for patient and tumor movement.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

South Africa: Robot Lawyers Set for Trial Against Humans

Business Day (Johannesburg)
Lesley Stones

Next year the Buys legal firm will find out just how popular or unpopular its lawyers actually are, when it introduces robotic rivals to its human staff.

The company is developing three robots, Stacy, Dave and Nathan, to see if artificial intelligence can be as successful as the real thing. The robots will provide online legal opinions and advice to its customers early next year, says Reinhardt Buys.

"The robots never sleep, they have virtually limitless memories and they get smarter every day," Buys said.

The robots will initially be used to answer basic questions from the public and to present electronic training material.

"Although their duties would be limited and very much controlled at first, we consider them an important strategic investment for the future," Buys said.

According to AI Expert Systems at the University of Texas, artificial intelligence (AI) technology will let computers autonomously reason with the law to draw legal conclusions.
Stacy, Dave and Nathan in court

The head of that team, Selmer Bringsjort, says: "Our intuition is that people won't mind in the least if their lawyers are empowered by artificial colleagues -- quite the contrary, if they are the beneficiaries of quicker turnaround time, lower legal fees and higher quality work.

"If the case is won, if the deal is done, complaints will be few and far between." [Maybe a typical sentiment of a lawyer? Ends justify the means.]

Robot Moves Like an Amoeba

By Tracy Staedter, Discovery News

Nov. 9, 2005 — The motion employed by singled-celled organisms for millions of years is now being put to use in robots.

The "whole-skin locomotion," developed by Dennis Hong, a professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Mark Ingram, his graduate student, draws its inspiration from the amoeba.

Instead of using wheels or legs to move, the method turns the entire outer surface of a robot into the traction that propels it forward.

The robot's pliable body can squeeze between obstacles, through holes, traverse uneven surfaces and maneuver into tight places, making it ideal for exploring everything from a digestive tract to a disaster zone.

"Since the entire skin is used for locomotion, the robot can move as long as any surface of the robot is in contact with the environment," said Hong.

Discovery : News : Article : Robot Moves Like an Amoeba

Robot Biologist Finds Life in High Desert

By Byron Spice, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

During a field test last year in the Atacama, Zoe followed directions from a science team in Pittsburgh and became the first robot to remotely detect life. But in a just-completed field test in the same desert, the driest place on Earth, Zoe outdid herself, finding life on her own at a spot she selected.

"This is really the next step in terms of exploration," said Nathalie A. Cabrol, a planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and lead scientist for the Life in the Atacama project. The Carnegie Mellon University robot showed that it not only could be a mobile platform for instruments, but can use its own rudimentary reasoning to make scientific discoveries.

This latest field test, the third and final of the three-year project, also demonstrated Zoe's ability to navigate by herself for long distances without a map or human guidance, said David Wettergreen, the Atacama project leader and a researcher at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.

No one is under the illusion that planetary explorers will find little green men; if life exists or existed on Mars, the assumption is that finding it will require a lot of looking and digging.

Robotic biologist named ZOE finishes up field trial with flying colors

Robot Cockroaches Edutain in India

Now walking robotic cockroaches!- The Times of India

BANGALORE: It has six legs, two antennae and it moves in quite a nifty manner. And if there's an obstacle in its path, it smartly goes around the object in question.

Meet 'cockroach,' one of the newer robots to emerge from the innards of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR).

And if you ask a lot of questions, cockroach will even demonstrate its skills for you, under human supervision, of course.

And as the inaugural day of the 'Science Expo 2005' at Visveshwaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) revealed, their young minds are eager to learn exactly how such robots work.

Now walking robotic cockroaches!- The Times of India

Faster Fast Robot Muscles

Cathryn M. Delude, News Office Correspondent

MIT researchers, led by Professor Sidney Yip, have proposed a new theory...

Currently, robotic muscles move 100 times slower than ours. But engineers using the Yip lab's new theory could boost speeds -- making robotic muscles 1,000 times faster than human muscles -- with virtually no extra energy demands and the added bonus of a simpler design. This study appears in the Nov. 4 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

...a robotic muscle refers to a device that can be activated to perform a task, explains Yip, a professor of nuclear engineering and materials science and engineering.

Conjugated polymers can actuate on command if charges can be sent to specific locations in the polymer chain in the form of "solitons" (charge density waves). A soliton, short for solitary wave, is "like an ocean wave that can travel long distances without breaking up," Yip adds.
Here, a soliton (blob with red and blue stripes) moves along a conducting polymer chain (aqua and yellow for hydrogen and carbon). The soliton blob causes a localized bend in the chain. The traditional way to make polymer actuate is to dope the material with an ion such as sodium, represented by the red dot.

MIT closes in on bionic speed - MIT News Office

Friday, November 04, 2005

Autonomous Attack Jet Demonstrated

Lockheed Martin conducted a successful operator-in-the-loop flight test of the LOCAAS™, a low-cost autonomous attack system at Eglin AFB, FL on Oct. 21. LOCAAS is an autonomous, wide-area search miniature munition that is equipped with a LADAR seeker.

“This test demonstrated the capability of LOCAAS to integrate automatic combat identification, global data links, operator-in-the-loop involvement, and successful redirect of the weapon,” said Randy Bigum, vice president of Strike Weapons at Lockheed Martin.

The LOCAAS flight test vehicle was launched from a King Air 200 and flew more than 40 nautical miles in approximately 15 minutes. During the flight, LOCAAS was powered by the Technical Directions Incorporated J45G turbojet engine as it used its laser radar (LADAR) seeker to search, identify and report on targets in a preplanned mission search area.

During the test vehicle’s flight, the operator monitored real-time weapon state information, as well as, the near-real time location updates of detected targets provided by NCCT. The operator interface utilized a modified version of the Air Force’s Portable Flight Planning System (PFPS) FalconView map overlay application and enabled the operator to relay the relevant target track information, as well as break-off and/or abort commands to the LOCAAS flight test vehicle.


Adept Robots Revenue Gains

LIVERMORE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 2, 2005--Adept Technology, Inc. (OTCBB:ADEO) today announced results of its operations for its first quarter fiscal 2006 which ended October 1, 2005. Revenues were $14.6 million, an increase of $3.3 million or 29.6% over the comparable period in fiscal 2005. Gross margin for the first quarter 2006 was $7.5 million, an increase of $2.0 million or 36.7% from the same period of the prior year.

Adept, the largest industrial robot manufacturer in the USA, delivered 52% more SCARA and 6-axis intelligent multi-axis robots in the first quarter of fiscal 2006 than the same period last year.

Gross margin was 51.0% in the first quarter of fiscal 2006 compared to 48.4% in the same quarter of fiscal 2005. The gross margin improvement resulted from a sales mix favoring higher margin products, as well as improved robot component designs, increased outsourcing of robot subassemblies, and reduced manufacturing overhead costs.

Adept: News Release

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Enablers of a Life Revolution

Yujin CEO Shin sees user-friendly, low-cost robots rendering help to daily lives
By Hwang Si-young

"We're in the early stages of the robot business. And for now, robots are just recognized as giving fun and curiosity. But I'm sure that the robot business will emerge as a major industrial trend in a few years, rendering substantial help to our daily lives," says Shin Kyung-chul, CEO and president of Yujin Robotics.

If technological advancement by small and medium-sized venture companies like Yujin can obtain sufficient capital and marketing power, the domestic robot market will accelerate its growth, the 49-year-old CEO noted.

Its representative cleaning robot named "iClebo Q" sells now for 399,000 won ($369) and 548,000 won ($519). It has a 90 percent share among local cleaning robot makers and 40 percent if importers' products are included. Yujin has sold 2,000 units domestically during October.

"Intelligent robots, robots with artificial intelligence, will be a keyword to understanding the future robot industry," says Shin.

Robots, "enablers of a life revolution" - as the CEO puts it, could be produced by the company's continued investment in research and development. The company uses 20 percent of its total budget for R&D. The company invested 10 billion won (~US $10 million) from 1988 to now, which in turn is now coming back as revenues.

The Korea Herald : The Nation's No.1 English Newspaper