Thursday, June 30, 2005

Painted Face Mannequin Conversation Robot

The life-size, made-to-order "Chatty" is a mannequin with a face that is an empty screen until turned on to play DVD images from inside the body. If one is in the mood for conversation, sound can come from a separate speaker.

"It is a device that can show a person's face, looks and mouth movements," said the developer, Ishikawa Optics and Arts Corp. of Tokyo. "It forms realistic images as if he or she were really talking to you."

Company president Jun Ishikawa said he wanted to produce historical figures such as ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra.

Japanese get a chance to chat up Cleopatra with DVD-powered mannequin - Yahoo! News

Robot Furniture Friends

Furniture with a mind of its own. Benches that get moody and maybe decide they don't want you sitting on them. Maybe a bed that tells you a bedtime story, rocks you to sleep, then wakes you gently in the morning.

The Lonely Home bench

The Lonely Home bench, by Tobi Schneidler and, is a "socially intelligent design object", part domestic furniture and part robotic pet. You can use it as a normal bench but it will come alive unexpectely to confront you and challenge your presence. It might, for example, try to throw you off when you sit down and moves when you stroke it.

The Lonely Home bench is at Victoria & Albert Museum London, until August 29th 2005, as part of the Touch Me exhibition.

we make money not art: The Lonely Home bench

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Korea Introduces Home Robots

Internet-hooked robots make debut

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) on Wednesday (June 29) took the wraps off several URC robots, which are all hooked up to the Web via the Internet.

...the ministry will start a feasibility test with five of them designed for home usage by releasing 64 dummies of the five models to households in Seoul and its vicinities in October.

“After confirming the commercial viability of these models through a pilot run, we aim to launch home machines with a price range of between 1 and 2 million won late next year,” said Oh Sang-rok, MIC project manager who is in charge of the URC scheme.

Instead of pouring money to catch up with sophisticated robots like Japan's Asimo, arguably the world's most advanced walking robot, the ministry took a unique approach of using the country's state-of-the-art Internet infrastructure.

Oh's team braced for a paradigm shift of outsourcing most sensing and processing capabilities through connection to the high-speed Internet, while moving capabilities are provided by the robots.

Internet-hooked robots make debut | News

Robotic Breast Exams

developing robotic arm capable of doing breast exams
by Tom Oswald

Women living in remote areas who don’t have easy access to health care will someday be able to have a potentially life-saving breast exam thanks to robotic technology being developed at MSU.

Physicians from MSU’s Department of Surgery are teaming with researchers in the College of Engineering to develop a robotic device that can check for lumps and other abnormalities in a woman’s breast and, at the same time, get an ultrasound image.

Here’s how it will work: A physician or other health-care provider, located in a hospital or clinic, will slip his or her hand into a glove-like instrument. That will allow him or her to move the robotic arm that is with the patient in a remote location.

“That arm, which actually looks like a hand, is equipped with sensors,” said Carol Slomski, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Surgery and co-director of the project. “As the hand touches the patient, the sensation from this touch comes back into my hand. When the robotic fingers feel a lump or some other abnormality, I also feel it.”

“Often the ultrasound and exam are done separately. But if the physician can look at the image and feel what he or she is seeing, it’s a huge advantage.”

Slomski said that with a potential shortage of surgeons looming, especially those located in more remote areas, technology such as this will make life easier for both patient and health-care provider.

MSU Today

Labels: ,

Questioning the Robot Agenda

...robotic devices being showcased this week at the International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics hosted by the Rehab Institute and Northwestern University.

Robot technology raises ethical issues that will be addressed at the conference: Will robonurses remove the human touch from medicine? And do the benefits of systems such as BrainGate justify the risks of brain surgery, including infections and brain damage?

"We want to be pretty sure the function you get is worth it," Weir said.

BY JIM RITTER Health Reporter
Robots help patients help themselves

California Teachers Replaced by Robots?

Robotic Teacher Enthralls Toddlers
Sony Develops 'Teacher-Bots'

SAN DIEGO -- An experimental robot teacher is being tested on toddlers at the University of California, San Diego's early childhood education center.
The 3-foot-tall, slightly "pudgy" robot is named Rubi. She was created by a team of scientists at UCSD's Machine Perception Laboratory.

Children like interacting with Rubi because she shows human emotion, according to the scientists.

"If Rubi didn't have the capacity for facial expressions, much of the interaction would be lost," said Javier Movellan, of the Machine Perception Lab. "It would be kind of a sterile interaction as opposed to a personal interaction."

Rubi can track movements and respond to questions. She is ticklish and can greet children by name.

Sony is helping to develop future teacher-bots, NBC 7/39 reported. Researchers say next year's model will be able to move around the room on her own. - Health - Robotic Teacher Enthralls Toddlers

UCSD Press Release

This is the same nursery school that included Qrio in the class

India Dreams of Robots on Moon

ISRO plans to put a 'robot on the moon'

A robotic arm sent to the moon to bring back samples? That is what Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is dreaming to do in space exploration next.

"It is only a dream at this stage. If it takes off at all, it will take time to fructify," ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said on the sidelines of an international conference on planetary exploration and space law in Bangalore.

The project, according to Nair, will cost around Rs 10-15 billion. That is almost three to four times the expense of the `Chandrayaan-1' mission to moon project, which ISRO has slated for 2007-08. "But it is possible. We will need the support of the scientific community and the government," Nair says.

The Astronautical Society of India (ASI), in association with International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), is organizing a twin-event - IAA Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on "Advances in Planetary Exploration" and the IISL Space Law Conference - 2005 on "Bringing Space Benefits to the Asian region" at Bangalore during 26-29 June.

ISRO plans to put a 'robot on the moon'

Indian Robots will not be alone:

Robots Prepare Moon for Colonists

Japanese Robots to Mine Moon
Chinese Robots for Lunar Exploration


Robots Make Small Work of Engine Blocks

“Intelligent” Robotic Handling, … Degating, and Deflashing, too

The F-200iB parallel-link robot is engineered for applications requiring extreme rigidity and exceptional repeatablity.

Among the notable attractions at Cast Expo in St. Louis in April was a demonstration of “intelligent” material handling, degating, and deflashing of castings by FANUC Robotics America Inc. The exhibit featured the company’s new M-900iA/350 robot transferring automotive engine blocks from an overhead conveyor into finishing operations.

The robot then transferred the part to two F-200iB pedestal robots that simulated final deflashing.

“The impressive 600-kg payload of the M-900iA/600 creates opportunities in application areas where robots have never been applied,” claimed Jhaveri. “The M-900iA/600 will help reduce manual labor costs and diminish the need for expensive fixed and custom automation equipment like gantries, hydraulics, chains and saddle devices.”

“The bottom line is enhanced productivity with significant cost savings,” Jhaveri added.

Related Post:
Robots Save American Factories

Foundry Management & Technology - “Intelligent” Robotic Handling, … Degating, and Deflashing, too

Japanese Robot Is Powered by Hydrogen Fuel Cells

TOKYO, June 28 Asia Pulse - Robot development firm Speecys Corp. has developed a small bipedal walking robot powered by fuel cells.

Capitalizing on the fact that fuel cells do not emit carbon dioxide or need to be charged, the company developed the Speecys FC for use in research and at special events. It is 50cm tall, weights 4.2kg and is operated by a personal computer via a wireless local area network.

The robot is powered by five fuel cell stacks located in its arms. A 16-liter canister of compressed hydrogen is inserted near the robot's neck and provides enough fuel for around one hour of operation.

The company will begin manufacturing it on a build-to-order basis for universities, research institutions and companies in July, with the robot to be priced at 2.5 million yen (US$22,850).

Fuel Cell Today - Japanese Robot Is Powered by Fuel Cells

Lab Robots Help Hospital

NUH, Tan Tock Seng Hospital labs to automate with robotic technology
By Julia Ng, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE: By year's end, you wouldn't have to wait long to get your test results from the National University Hospital (NUH) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).

The two hospitals are automating their laboratories with robotic technology.

The automation - which costs $14m - will make these two labs the most sophisticated in the region, boasting the first automation line in the area to integrate chemistry, haematology, immunochemistry and coagulation tests.
The laboratories at NUH and TTSH handle over 5,000 samples every day, churning out the results between one and three hours.

Faster lab results mean patients now get their test reports in half the time.

The automation also relieves hospital staff of mundane administration work. - CNA/ir


Chinese Chimney Sweep Robot

Central air conditioner-cleaning robot developed
Shanghai-based Donghua University has developed a robot specially for cleaning central air conditioners. It is the first air duct-cleaning robot for which China has its own intellectual property rights and has applied for four patents. Currently dozens of cleaning companies have contacted with the university for commercialization, according to report by Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post.
32 centimeters long, 16 centimeters wide and 21 centimeters high, the robot looks like an electronic toy but outdoes any other products of its kind in China even the world in terms of technology and performance.

...with some renovation and special design, the robot can be used for lunar probe mission.

People's Daily Online -- Central air conditioner-cleaning robot developed

Robot is All Ears

Speech recognition by humanoid robot in real environment

Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), an independent administrative institution, has developed a speech recognition function in real environment using an array of microphones, successfully extending the sensing capability of humanoid robot under the Humanoid Robotic Project HRP-2 "Promethee".

The microphone array consists of eight omnidirectional microphones mounted around the robot's head (Fig. 1 left). The sound source is located on the basis of difference in times for arrival to individual microphones, and at the same time, a camera mounted at the robot's head detects, tracks and locates a person giving the vocal instruction. Stable speech recognition is obtained by combining information derived from the microphone array and the camera and by isolating and eliminating noises. Hardware to eliminate noises in real time has been developed and built into a robot, making it possible for a human operator to give robot vocal instructions, and to control IT appliances through a robot, even in a field where multiple noise sources such as TV exist.

Speech recognition by humanoid robot in real environment

Similar to NASA efforts

Monday, June 27, 2005

NASA, Xerox to Demonstrate 'Virtual Crew Assistant'

Date Released: Friday, June 24, 2005

NASA, Xerox to Demonstrate 'Virtual Crew Assistant'

Intelligent conversation with robots - long the bread and butter of science fiction authors - soon may take another step closer to reality for astronauts on the International Space Station.

Scientists from NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley and Xerox Corporation (NYSE:XRX - News) will demonstrate a sophisticated, voice-operated computer system on June 26 at the Association for Computational Linguists' 25th annual meeting at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Called Clarissa, the system was developed in an effort to ease astronaut workload
"Clarissa is a fully voice-operated 'virtual crew assistant,' enabling astronauts to be more efficient with their hands and eyes and to give full attention to the task while they navigate through the procedure using spoken commands," said Beth Ann Hockey, project lead on the team that developed Clarissa at NASA Ames.

"NASA wanted the system to be ready to assist at any time and without requiring artificial activation commands," said Renders. "Therefore, a simpler 'Star Trek' solution - like having crew members address the computer by stating a specific word such as 'computer' before posing a question or speaking a command to the system - wasn't a viable solution. We needed to improve the performance of the system in discriminating between commands and conversation."

The technology developed by Renders to address the NASA speech-recognition problem is also being used at Xerox to improve categorization results for printed or digital documents. Xerox researchers at Grenoble have developed a number of leading-edge software capabilities that make it easier for Xerox customers to manage document content.

This significantly increases the system's ability to determine the difference between commands directed to the system and side conversations. According to Renders, the improvements have cut the error rate of the system by more than half.

Clarissa currently supports about 75 individual commands, which can be accessed using a vocabulary of some 260 words. The team plans to increase the commands and add to the vocabulary in the future.

Xerox Press Release

NASA, Xerox to Demonstrate 'Virtual Crew Assistant' | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference

Korean Hearings on Japanese Robot Imports

Korea holds hearing on Japanese robot pricing

SEOUL - The South Korean government held a hearing on Wednesday to determine if Japanese industrial robot manufacturers are hurting domestic competitors by unfairly undercutting prices.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said provisional anti-dumping duties ranging from 8.76% to 19.48% were already imposed on the robots, used mostly on automobile assembly lines, on February 22.

The trade commission's investigation was started at the behest of South Korean robot manufacturer Hyundai Heavy Industries Co in August 2004.

In the commission's preliminary ruling, Nachi Robotics was slapped with an anti-dumping duty of 19.48%, followed by 16.16% levied on Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.
(Robot Products)
Yaskawa Electric Corp and Fanuc Ltd were levied punitive duties of 13.41% and 8.76%, respectively, while other Japanese robot manufacturers must sell their products here after paying 15.01% anti-dumping duties.

The Japanese companies cited are world leaders in this sector, and as of 2004 account for 53.3% of the South Korean market. Local car manufacturers Hyundai, Kia and GM-Daewoo are among their customers.

The South Korean market reached 59.3 billion won (US$58.8 million) last year. Of this, 33% was manufactured locally, while 66.2% was imported.

South Korea selected industrial robots as one of 10 next-generation growth industries in August 2003 and has encouraged investment and resources to be put into this sector.

Medical Robots in Korea

Earlier activity

Asia Times Online :: Korea News and Korean Business and Economy, Pyongyang News

Robot Guards in Japan

Japanese robot guards to patrol shops, offices

Equipped with a camera and sensors, the "Guardrobo D1," developed by Japanese security firm Sohgo Security Services Co., is designed to patrol along pre-programmed paths and keep an eye out for signs of trouble.

The 109-cm tall robot will alert human guards via radio and by sending camera footage if it detects intruders, fires, or even water leaks.

"In the near future, it is certain that securing young and capable manpower will become even more difficult ... and the security industry will feel the full brunt of the impact," the company said in a statement.

Around one in five Japanese are now 65 or over and the proportion is expected to rise to one in three in 2040, according to government data

Science News Article |


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

CSI Robots

Robots recruited to help solve crimes

June 22, 2005

ADVANCED robotics will be used to help solve crimes in South Australia.

The State Government will install the automated systems at the forensic science centre to speed up the processing of DNA material.

Administrative Services Minister Michael Wright said the robots would be put in place over the next year and would help cut the time taken to process DNA samples from the current two weeks.

Mr Wright said at present there were also 5500 samples taken from crime scenes awaiting to be compared to DNA samples on file.

He said these tests were producing 40 matches a week linking suspects with crimes or linking previously unrelated crimes.

The Australian: Robots recruited to help solve crimes [June 22, 2005]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Robot Pet for Dogs

Robotic best friend for dogs


STEP aside K9 - dogs left home alone will soon have their own robotic friend to see them through the long, lonely hours of the working day.

Gayle Walker, an Aberdeenshire degree student, realised that extended working hours for owners meant dogs were left on their own for a large part of the day - often wreaking havoc out to boredom.

She watched her friend's spaniel tear up cushions and curtains, and came up with the idea of the Big Buddy, a "friend" for lonely mutts.

A silver tower gives the pet company with the timed release treats inside.

Ms Walker, 21, said: "Dogs have needs just like humans - they need a sense of purpose, otherwise they may become depressed. I designed Big Buddy to ease their stress and anxieties."

Big Buddy is on display at Creative Energies, Gray's School of Art's Degree Show. News - Sci-Tech - Robotic best friend for dogs

Brewster Rockit

Monday, June 20, 2005


From Wow Wee ,
maker of Robosapiens

Dinosaurs are back and roaming the earth in the 32” long Roboraptor, an advanced fusion of technology and personality. With his advanced artificial intelligence personality, realistic biomorphic motions, direct control and autonomous (free-roam) modes, the Age of Dinosaurs has truly returned. Roboraptor comes to life with the following features:

Fluid bi-pedal motion: walking, running and predatory gaits
- Realistic body movements: turning head and neck; whipping tail actions
- Three distinct moods: hunter, cautious and playful
- Autonomous environmental interaction: responds with mood specific behaviors and sounds
- Mood dependent behavior: aggressive/hunting mood; nervous/cautious mood; friendly/playful mood


About Roboraptor

Hacking Tips

New Robot Resists Explosions

Kuka Robotics Corp. says potentially explosive situations are just fine for its new industrial robot.

The Kuka KR 16 EX is a six axes robot with a payload capacity of 16 kg and a reach of 1610 mm. It is designed for use in environments such as paint rooms where fine gases, dust and vapors pose a potential explosion risk. The robot is pressurized and sealed, and meets multiple explosion protection certifications.

KUKA Robotics Corporation, with its parent company KUKA Roboter GmbH, Augsburg, Germany, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of industrial robots, with an annual production volume approaching 10,000 units, and an installed base of over 60,000 units. The company's 5 and 6 axis robots range from 3kg to 570kg payloads, and 635mm to 3700mm reach, all controlled from a common PC based controller platform.

News Release
IndustryWeek : New Robot Resists Explosions

Patient Simulator Saves Lives

Nursing students practice on robot
Carmen Greco Jr
Published June 19, 2005

CHICAGO HEIGHTS -- The pulse was elevated, the breathing rapid, and the figure on the gurney seemed on the verge of cardiac arrest. That's when the nursing students stepped in.

"Has your pain been relieved?" one asked the uncannily human-like robot on the gurney.

"No, I've never had pain like this before," it responded.

Thinking quickly, the Prairie State College students administered a milligram of morphine to ease "SimMan's" distress before trying to stabilize him, drawing approval from teaching assistant Auggie Bamonti.

"The first time we did this, someone gave him 40 milligrams of morphine," Bamonti said, noting the result would be lethal.

Fortunately, SimMan is wired to endure a thousand classroom deaths, all in the name of medical science.

He arrived at the Chicago Heights college's nursing school earlier this year, a $30,000 state-of-the-art creation that simulates real-life medical conditions

SimMan is the latest innovation of Norway-based Laerdal Co., which introduced "Resusci Anne" in the 1950s, a widely used, lifelike mannequin designed to teach mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. SimMan is a high-tech descendant, simulating everything from human breathing and heart disease to allergic reaction and change in pulse rate and blood pressure.

See earlier post
Chicago Tribune news : South/Southwest

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Flock of Flying Robots

By Alexander Wolfe
TechWeb News

A computer-science professor has combined a $99 Linux single-board-computer, called Gumstix because it's roughly the size of a stick of chewing gum, with a motor and propeller and sent the package aloft, maintaining control via a wireless LAN connection.
A computer-science professor at the University of Essex has created a novel, airborne robotics application.
"So far we've flown one fixed-wing aircraft and one helicopter," said Owen Holland, who is also the head of computer-science research at the British school. "The helicopter development has gone amazingly smoothly. It appears to be stable and it's still reasonably maneuverable. We're now concentrating on achieving visually controlled autonomous flight on a single helicopter."

As the project moves forward, Holland is looking to create a bigger buzz by building a whole a collection of flying automatons. "There are two almost independent aims: to get the helicopters to fly autonomously in the same way as a flock of birds; and to achieve Beowulf-like cluster computing using wireless," he explained. "The long-term objective is to do both at once, in an [project called] UltraSwarm."

Holland's application could be a harbinger of a wave of low-cost robotics projects spurred by the availability of the tiny Gumstix board, which appears to be gaining popularity among a home-brew and commercial users. The Gumstix board is made by a small embedded-hardware vendor of the same name in Palo Alto, Calif.

He points to George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va., where a group of computer science students have set up a Wiki where they share tips on building what they call an "open" robot for about $800. Along with the Gumstix board, the robot has a servo-controlled camera, a "gripper" capable of picking up small cans, an intrusion sensor, a flat surface for pushing boxes, five infrared rangefinders to help with positioning, and a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack.

To extend its robotics reach, Gumstix on June 24 is planning to launch a $49 companion expansion board called "Robostix," which is intended to make it easier to control robotics peripherals. "It's a series of interfaces, control pads, and servo controls for running a robotics device," said Don Anderson, vice president of marketing at Gumstix.

InformationWeek > Robotics Apps > Tiny Linux Computer Has High Hopes For Robotics Apps > June 17, 2005

Ultra-Lifelike Robot Debuts in Japan

June 10, 2005—Quick, which one is the robot?

Repliee Q1 (at left in both pictures) appeared yesterday at the 2005 World Expo in Japan, where she gestured, blinked, spoke, and even appeared to breathe. Shown with co-creator Hiroshi Ishiguru of Osaka University, the android is partially covered in skinlike silicone. Q1 is powered by a nearby air compressor, and has 31 points of articulation in its upper body.

Internal sensors allow the android to react "naturally." It can block an attempted slap, for example. But it's the little, "unconscious" movements that give the robot its eerie verisimilitude: the slight flutter of the eyelids, the subtle rising and falling of the chest, the constant, nearly imperceptible shifting so familiar to humans.

But given Q1's reported glitch-related "spasms" at the expo, it may be a while before androids are escorting tour groups or looking after children—which may be just as well. "When a robot looks too much like the real thing, it's creepy," Hiroshi told the Associated Press.

Link to more pictures and creepy videos

Photo in the News: Ultra-Lifelike Robot Debuts in Japan

Friday, June 17, 2005

Robotic Arm Controlled by Brain Implants

Brazil to Have World's First Robotic-Arm Surgery Controlled by Patient's Brain
Written by Newsroom
Thursday, 16 June 2005

Miguel Nicolelis, a world-renowned Brazilian neuroscientist will perform the world's first operation on a human that will allow the brain of the patient being operated on to control robotic arms.
The Teaching and Research Institute of the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital in São Paulo (Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa do Hospital Sirio-Libanes), announced today a unique scientific agreement in Brazil.
Nicolelis, who is a professor of neurobiology and biomedical engineering and do-director of the Neuroengineering Center of Duke University, signed an agreement on behalf of the Alberto Santos Dumont Association to Support Research (Associação Alberto Santos Dumont de Apoio à Pesquisa - AASDAP) with the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital to provide for the first operation on a human that will allow the patient's brain to control robotic arms.

With the help of specialists from the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital on the surgical team, within about three years, the first operation in the world to implant a neuro-prosthesis (brain-machine interface) to restore mobility to the arms of a patient with severe body paralysis should take place. The patient will use impulses from the brain to control the movement of mechanical prostheses.

Brazil News 24/7 - Nothing But Brazil - Brazzil Magazine - Fresh news daily - English-language Magazine on Brazilian Culture - Brazil - Brasil - Br�sil

Zombie Mice Robots

Ananova - Robot scientists control live mouse

Robotic scientists in China have succeeded in 'controlling' live mice.

Experts at the robot research centre in Shandong Technology University controlled white mice by stimulating micro-electrodes on their heads.

Your wish is my command

The mice obeyed computer-generated commands to, in succession, "turn left", "turn right" and "move forward".

Ananova - Robot scientists control live mouse

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Korean Robots To Dominate the World Market

The Korea Times : Korea Seeks Global Leadership in Robotics
By Seo Jee-yeon
Staff Reporter

Korea on Friday unveiled its plan to become one of the world’s top three in intelligent robotics by 2013.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) and the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) jointly developed the roadmap and announced the plan in the Intelligent Robot Industry Development Strategy Workshop held at COEX in southern Seoul.
Under the plan, the nation’s intelligent robotics industry is to secure 15 percent of the global market. It means a national output of 30 trillion won, exports of $20 billion, and the creation of 100,000 jobs, the MOCIE said.
The plan is divided into three parts. In the first stage from now through 2008, both ministries will concentrate on developing robots that will provide convenient and entertaining services to consumers.

Between 2008 and 2010, they will develop robots to help those in need, including the elderly.

By 2013, the two ministries will develop robots that have feelings and emotions like human beings, termed humanoids.

The Korea Times : Korea Seeks Global Leadership in Robotics

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Flying Camera Robot Tested at NASA

Work on the volleyball-sized Miniature Autonomous Extravehicular Robotic Camera (Mini AERCam) moved forward with successful initial tests on its docking system. The Mini AERCam is designed to help astronauts and ground crews see outside the spacecraft during a mission. During ground-based testing, the device was able to work with the docking system that serves as an exterior home base for housing and refueling the nanosatellite.

For Shuttle or International Space Station missions, Mini AERCam could support external robotic operations by supplying situational awareness views to operators, supplying views of spacewalk operations to flight and/or ground crews, and carrying out independent visual inspections.

Free-flying spacecraft such as Mini AERCam will be particularly critical for external inspections during long-duration missions, as spacewalks will be kept to a minimum and external camera views may be limited.

The Mini AERCam prototype is just 7.5 inches in diameter and weighs only 10 pounds. The tiny free flyer is designed to be operated by on-orbit flight crews or by ground control personnel. Either could command the nanosatellite to fly automatic maneuvers.

Technology innovations include rechargeable xenon gas propulsion, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, custom avionics based on the PowerPC 740/750 microprocessor, "camera-on-a-chip" imagers with video compression, micro electromechanical system gyroscopes, precise relative GPS navigation, digital radio frequency communications, micro-patch antennas, digital instrumentation networking and compact mechanical packaging.

NASA - NASA Successfully Demonstrates Innovative Nanosatellite System

Drug dealing robot goes berserk

Tries to 'exterminate' the Doctor
By Nick Farrell: Thursday 16 June 2005, 07:13

A PATIENT and a doctor fled a robot used by the University of San Francisco Medical Centre to deliver drugs after it seemed to develop a mind of its own.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the robot, Waldo, has been delivering drugs without problems for ages.

Then, according to an anonymous caller to the news room, it suddenly snapped.

It apparently shot past the pharmacy and barged uninvited into the examination room in the radiation oncology department.

A doctor was examining a cancer patuent, but Waldo would not leave. The Doctor and the patent fled leaving the robot behind.

Alas, the yarn is in one of the Chronicle’s columns so does not appear to have been posted online.

Drug dealing robot goes berserk

Taster Robot

Teasing the Robot

According to Gizmag, NEC robotic playmate Papero can be equipped to taste food for you.

Papero is famous for their resemblance to Cartman.

...if it has the food registered in its database, it can identify the type of food and even the brand in some cases. Most importantly, it can give you a reading on how good the food is for you...

It appears that the Papero does not actually eat the food but point to it with a special sensor finger.

Foodie Friend

This would be a perfect companion for the paranoid despotic ruler in your family.
Slap That Robot

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Robotic Eldercare

Ronald Arkin, director of the Robot Mobile Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology, adds, "There's always danger associated when people start to bond with nonhumans or nonhuman artifacts. What the long-term effect on the social fabric will be is largely unknown and under-studied."

Dr. Takanori Shibata, the creator of Paro, has found similar results. Shibata and his colleagues found that robot interaction lowered stress, elevated moods and decreased depression. Additionally, Paro encouraged communication and social behavior among subjects. What's more, Shibata found that brain activity increased 50% in patients with dementia after just twenty minutes with Paro. Caretakers were positively affected as well: The robots not only decreased nurses' stress levels but also gave them something to discuss with their elderly patients.

And newer robots have the potential to serve as much more than companions. The machines could monitor aged patients, watching out for falls, and remind them to take their medications. Additionally, they could serve as communication tools, providing wireless voice and video links to distant friends and family members.

Anecdotal reports are encouraging. According to the nursing staff, Paro, which responds to human voices and caresses, has become part of the family. In fact, nurses often find elderly patients covering the robot in blankets and trying to feed it cake or other snacks, despite the fact that Paro can't really eat.

Nanto City, Japan: Robotic Companions -

Toyota in eldercare robot market

Toshiba Homecare robots

Robot to throw out first pitch at Pirates-Orioles game tonight

Call to bullpen: 'Give me R2-D2'

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
By Corilyn Shropshire, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

While Pirates pitcher Oliver Perez's job is in no danger, coaches and others who pitch batting practice before games could one day be relegated to the bench by a robot.
A preview could come tonight, when the S-3 Platform Robot, built by Aliquippa-based RoPro Design and Beaver County Area Vocational Technical School, will deliver the first pitch as the Pirates square off against the Baltimore Orioles on "Robotics Night" at PNC Park.
The "first ever" robotic pitch is in conjunction with the Department of Defense's Joint Robotics meeting program, which will host more than 200 government employees working in the robotics field, in Pittsburgh today and tomorrow.
The S-3, which weighs about 200 pounds and resembles a small car, will be joined by a handful of other robots that will be on display on Federal Street prior to the game. These include the Sherpa DM, a heavy-duty robot made for the Army by Lawrenceville start-up Re2 Inc., and the Talon, which is made by a Boston firm and is being used by American troops in Iraq to disarm bombs.
"We want the public to be aware of the importance of the robotics industry to the region and see the neat products that are being developed locally," said Bill Thomasmeyer, president of the Lawrenceville-based National Center for Defense Robotics.
The S-3 will throw the first pitch to an honorary catcher, Tech. Sgt. Noel Murphy, an Air Force specialist who recently returned home from active duty overseas.

Call to bullpen: 'Give me R2-D2'

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Advanced Robotics E-Symposium - AdRob 2005

The Advanced Robotics E-Symposium (AdRob) is an international 1-day online event (with up to 15 speakers) which takes place once a year.
Organised by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the Web Conference is broadcast via cutting edge webcasting technology which is accessible to anyone with a computer, a soundcard and an Internet connection.
World-renowned speakers will present the latest research & developments as well as extensive case studies in fields such as service robotics, personal robotics, mobile robotics, field robotics, medical robotics, artificial intelligence and other intelligent and OEM technologies.
The presentations consist of a slideshow coupled with the speaker's live, spoken presentation.

6 July 2005

Advanced Robotics E-Symposium - AdRob 2005

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Robots to Teach Japanese Students

High school looks to robots as way to foster whiz kids

OSAKA (AP) Ten teenagers huddled over a Transformer-like robot in a classroom are pioneers in the "super science" initiative -- a nationwide effort in public education to nurture future leaders in technology.

"But educators have noticed for some time that the abilities of Japanese students in science and math have been going down," said Hideo Tsuchida, one of the teachers for the robotics class at Tennoji High School.

The high school in the city of Osaka will receive 50 million yen over three years in government money meant to produce technological whiz kids.

The government has budgeted 1.3 billion yen a year for the program, splitting the money between 82 high schools, which are using their grants to focus on rocket engineering, genetics and solar energy.

Robotics is one area where Japan is still among the world's leaders, according to Shigeaki Yanai of the Japan Robot Association, a trade group.

The Japanese market for next-generation robots is expected to grow to 1.5 trillion yen by 2010, and to more than 4 trillion yen by 2025, according to the association.

An official from Japanese robot-maker Vstone Co. Ltd. was an invited guest at the class, but he was no education expert and his presentation was heavy on jargon. The students looked puzzled.

"Robots are about dreams," he said, adding he wasn't sure about his future occupation. "I want to make the robot do something spectacular, maybe make it dance."

The Japan Times Online

Asimo Gets His Own Theatre at Disneyland

Disneyland welcomes ASIMO robot to new Innoventions exhibit hosted by Honda

Asimo and Mickey

Asimo, recently returned from the UK, will begin to appear daily in his new Asimo Theater in Disneyland.
It is rumored that he has been looking to purchase a home nearby.
It has not been confirmed that he has been looking at the house of a former Hollywood robot star who has recently shown up on ebay.

The Disneyland Report - Disney News - Disneyland welcomes ASIMO robot to new Innoventions exhibit hosted by Honda

Exoskeleton Robot to Aid Elderly

'Robot suit' to enhance human power
From correspondents in Tokyo
June 07, 2005

JAPAN has taken a step into the science-fiction world with the release of a "robot suit" that can help workers lift heavy loads or assist people with disabilities climb stairs.
"Humans may be able to mutate into supermen in the near future," Yoshiyuki Sankai, professor and engineer at Tsukuba University who led the project, said.
Exoskeleton Robot

The 15kg battery-powered suit, code-named HAL-5, detects muscle movements through electrical-signal flows on the skin surface and then amplifies them.

It could also move on its own accord, enabling it to help elderly or handicapped people walk, developers said.

'Robot suit' to enhance human power | World Breaking News | Breaking News 24/7 - (07-06-2005)

Spider-like Robot for Disaster Search

Disaster rescue robot unveiled by Osaka Univ

OSAKA — Researchers at Osaka University unveiled on Monday a six-limbed robot that can be used for disaster rescue as it walks on unleveled ground and moves by hanging from net-shaped wires.

The robot, developed by Osaka University professor Tatsuo Arai and his colleagues, is 52 centimeters long and has six limbs with four junctures each. Named Asterisk, the robot carries a video camera and can be operated by remote control through video images it sends through wireless local area networks. (Kyodo News)

Japan Today - News - Disaster rescue robot unveiled by Osaka Univ - Japan's Leading International News Network

Monday, June 06, 2005

Robot Patrol Boat to Guard Singapore Waterways

June 4, 2005: The U.S. Navy has developed its Spartan Scout USV (unmanned surface vessel) to the point where a foreign navy (Singapore) has bought several of them. The Spartan Scout is a two ton, 22 foot long, radio controlled boat. It is armed with a .50 caliber machine-gun and a number of sensors (mainly day and night vidcams.)

Singapore will use the Spartan Scout for harbor reconnaissance.

Spartan Scout can stay out for up to 48 hours, depending on how much high speed (it can hit up to 80 kilometers an hour) running is done. It also has a loudspeaker and microphones, so that the operator, who is usually so far away that he can't see the USV) can converse with crewmen on small ships.

News about Naval Forces at's How to Make War.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Ballroom Dance Robot

Shall we dance? Robots offer a hand on the ballroom floor
June 05, 2005, 22:36 gmt

CHINO, Japan (AFP) - Ballroom dancing is no longer just for the romantic. Japanese researchers have developed a robot capable of taking to the floor by predicting how its human partner will move.

Ballroom dancing is no longer just for the romantic. Japanese researchers have developed a robot capable of taking to the floor by predicting how its human partner will move.


The Partner Ballroom Dance Robot -- or PBDR in robot talk -- has a woman's face, a sensor around its waist and can move in all directions on its three wheels hidden underneath an evening gown.

As its partner takes steps, the robot analyzes his movements and figures out how to accompany him with its shoulders, elbows, waist and neck.

The robot was unveiled last week in Chino in central Nagano province after six years of research by a team led by Kazuhiro Kosuge, professor of the Department of Bioengineering and Robotics at state-run Tohoku University.

Ass-end view

He said, however, that there was still a long way to go until robots will be reliable enough to perform important tasks such as holding a hand out before an elderly person stumbles.


Dokumat 500

Take the drudgery out of producing documentaries with this documentary video robot.
Use it for filming atrocities, historical sites and whatnot.
A video with the full story is here.

Dokumat 500

The one thing that the robot lacks is a loudspeaker. That would come in handy during the on-location filming in front of the headquarters of baby-killer corporations...
"Why won't you give us a statement for the camera? What are you trying to hide? We just want to ask a few simple questions..."

link via we make money not art

Baseball Robot Hits Any Pitch

Sunday, June 5, 2005 at 06:14 JST
HIROSHIMA — A Hiroshima University researcher has developed a robot theoretically capable of hitting a baseball traveling as fast as 300 kilometers per hour by instantly analyzing its path using images captured with precision cameras.

Idaku Ishii, 35, an associate professor at the university's Graduate School of Engineering, said he plans to exhibit the robot at the Prototype Robot Exhibition opening next Thursday as part of the ongoing 2005 World Exposition in Aichi Prefecture. (Kyodo News)

Hiroshima U Robotics Lab

Japan Today - News - Robot can hit 300-km pitch, theoretically - Japan's Leading International News Network

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Underwater Robot Aids United Nations in Tsunami Cleanup

VideoRay Underwater Robot Aids United Nations in Tsunami Cleanup

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) rushed to Phuket, Thailand with Expert Training

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS - ) is coordinating the UNDP Reef Recovery and Rehabilitation Project in Thailand, along with the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC - ).

Underwater helper

"We need to get the tonnes of debris from houses, boats, and other man-made material which fell on the reefs removed as quickly and efficiently as we can, using mainly volunteer labor." Said Ms. Hill. "We're very excited about the use of VideoRay - a device that has no limits on depth, dive time, or the other physiological constraints we must live with when we dive. The VideoRay will check out sites before we dive them, and work alongside of divers during cleanups - saving us time and making us far safer and more efficient. And, with the ability to capture video and stills to our laptop computer, we'll have better documentation of our project."

VideoRay Underwater Robot Aids United Nations in Tsunami Cleanup


Friday, June 03, 2005

Feelers for insect robots

Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg and the University of Bielefeld have developed a touch-sensor incorporating the principle [of insect feelers]. It delivers more information about its environment than conventional touch-sensors and is more robust and less expensive than optical measurement techniques which use cameras.

Insect with feelers

Two motors move the sensor-rod in an oval-shaped circular path, with an acceleration sensor on its freely oscillating tip. Unlike conventional touch-sensors which only react to pressure on the tip, the feeler can be used as a sensor along the whole of its length.

Depending on the point at which the feeler touches an object – perhaps in the middle or in the front third – the sensor measures a different oscillation frequency at the tip.

Feelers for insect robots

Underwater Robot Woodstock

Autonomous Undersea Vehicle Fest 2005

With more than 40 vehicle systems from 17 organizations participating, AUV Fest 2005 will be the largest such in-water AUV event ever conducted, both for the number of AUV demonstrations as well as the number of vehicles operating simultaneously at a Navy underwater range facility. The event is focused on assessment of maturing AUV/UUV technologies, new vehicles, cooperative behavior, & Fleet mission applications.


Robots, Airmen defuse unexploded ordnance

by Senior Airman Shaun Emery
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

6/2/2005 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- With the help of new, faster and more agile robots, explosive ordnance disposal Airmen here have an opportunity to keep their distance from bombs set to harm servicemembers off the base.

Staff Sgt. Brian Robert Butler, an EOD technician here, said he looks at the robots as the unit’s best friend and cannot imagine doing his job here without them.

The robots take the place of EOD Airmen in the field. Using a remote control, Airmen guide the robots to the location of the munitions. They use the robot’s extending arm and cameras to figure out the type of ordnance and the best way to diffuse it.

“We can put two of these robots in one truck before we roll out,” he said. “It’s vital that we have more than one in case the first one breaks down. When it all comes down to it, the robots allow us to stay out of danger.”

Helping Robot Partner out of the truck

“If it’s not a robot out there, then it’s the team chief,” he said. “One mistake and we lose the person with the most knowledge in the shop. It’s OK to lose a robot, they’re replaceable. We’re not.”

Robots, Airmen defuse unexploded ordnance

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Mine-sniffing underwater robots

Navy buys mine-sniffing underwater robots
May 31 2005
by Steve Ranger
Fleet of submarine mine-hunters take to the seas..

The battery-powered Remote Environmental Monitoring Units - known as Remus - will operate at depths of up to 100m, scanning the seabed to make sure there are no mines lurking to destroy ships and landing craft.

The 1.6m long torpedo shaped vehicles use "advanced detectors" to pin-point the location of mines, before returning to their naval handlers for the raw data to be collected and evaluated, the Ministry of Defence said.

It will be the first time the Navy has had an unmanned vehicle capable of detecting mines in shallow water. Previously this dangerous job would have been carried out by naval divers.

The Defence Procurement Agency will buy 10 of the robots, manufactured by Hydroid Inc, as part of a £2.75m programme. The robots will start work early next year and are expected to stay in service until 2011.

...the robots will also help the Navy by supporting search and salvage operations and protecting ports and harbours against terrorist attack.

Navy buys mine-sniffing underwater robots -



Medical robot patent applications on the rise in Korea

Medical robot patent application on the rise

It has been reported that medical robots, which help diagnose human diseases or operate are actively being developed.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office on May 25, the number of medical robot –related patent applications has been on the sharp rise from only 5 each in 1997 and 1999 to 17 in 2000. It has continued to increase year by year to 27 in 2002 and 28 in 2004.

To take a look at those patents reveals that operation robots tops the list, accounting for 60%.
Among the next are automatic examination robots, endoscopy robots and rehabilitation assistant robots, as 19%, 14% and 7%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information said that the medical robot market would be expanded further. It is expected that 4,720 operation robots and 140 rehab robots for the disabled would be additionally installed by 2006.

Medical robot patent application on the rise - fondation priv�e 'europa korea' private foundation - europe cor�e - europe korea

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Robot Watchdog Giant Eyeball

Roborior is interior decor, guard dog
Associated Press

TOKYO - It looks like a watermelon-sized eyeball on wheels that glows in hues of purple, blue and orange while gurgling with whimsical buzzes and rings.

The new Roborior gadget works as interior decor, but it's also a virtual guard dog because it has a digital camera, infrared sensors and videophone capability - to notify you of intruders while you are away from home.
The $2,600 (280,000 yen) contraption by Japanese robot maker Tmsuk Co. and electronics company Sanyo Electric Co. can connect with the owner's mobile phone to relay streaming video taken on the robot's digital camera.
It can be remote-controlled with a handset to go forward, backward, left or right. The buttons also adjust the angle of the digital camera to look up or down.

Set the robot on "house-sitting mode" and it will call you on your cell phone when an intruder is detected by one of its three infrared sensors, designed to monitor all sides.

"This is a robot that can actually be used in people's home," Yuji Kawakubo, the official in charge of Roborior, said Wednesday. "It is inspired by jellyfish, a type of living creature that communicates through light."

Tmsuk has already produced the four-legged security robot Banryu, which is about the size of a large dog and sells for $18,000 (2 million yen). But the company, based in Kyushu, southwestern Japan, wanted to make a smaller robot that can better blend into homes.

Banryu 2002

AP Wire | 06/01/2005 | Roborior is interior decor, guard dog


Growing Investment in Robot Army

The Pentagon predicts that robots will be a major fighting force in the American military in less than a decade, hunting and killing enemies in combat. Robots are a crucial part of the Army's effort to rebuild itself as a 21st-century fighting force, and a $127 billion project called Future Combat Systems is the biggest military contract in American history.

The military plans to invest tens of billions of dollars in automated armed forces. The costs of that transformation will help drive the Defense Department's budget up almost 20 percent, from a requested $419.3 billion for next year to $502.3 billion in 2010, excluding the costs of war. The annual costs of buying new weapons is scheduled to rise 52 percent, from $78 billion to $118.6 billion.

Despite the obstacles, Congress ordered in 2000 that a third of the ground vehicles and a third of the deep-strike aircraft in the military must become robotic within a decade. If that mandate is to be met, the United States will be spending many billions of dollars on military robots by 2010.

The Pentagon today owes its soldiers $653 billion in future retirement benefits that it cannot pay. Robots, unlike old soldiers, do not fade away. The cost of a soldier from enlistment to interment is about $4 million today and growing, according to a Pentagon study. Robot soldiers are supposed to cost a tenth of that or less.

Berkshire Eagle Online - Today's Headlines

The Scent of a Robot

According to this Sydney Morning Herald article, Malibu, California based research consortium HRL Laboratories is working on a pherobot.
The robot swarm will communicate by each robot laying a trail of an artificial pheromone to attract other robots when they find prey. Very much like ants.

Robot swarms must learn to bee hive
By Celeste Biever

When a pherobot finds an object of interest, it emits a series of artificial pheromones. David Payton and colleagues at HRL Research Labs in Malibu, California, avoid the need for centralised control by using virtual pheromones.
Each of Mr Payton's pherobots is a wheeled cylinder about seven centimetres tall, 11 centimetres in diameter, and equipped with a transceiver that beams out and receives infra-red light. A PDA and several attached chips process the signals and steer each pherobot.
When a pherobot finds something of interest, it emits artificial pheromones that code for a number. Its nearest neighbours pick up the signal, increase the number by one, then re-transmit it to the nearest bots while also saving the number. This continues until a trail of bots has formed with numbers increasing incrementally the further they are from the source. It means other bots can follow this trail simply by interrogating each bot they meet.

"It looks cool, but ultimately we need to expand into 3D space," Mr Payton says. "We haven't found the killer application yet."

Robot swarms must learn to bee hive - Next - Technology -

more on robot swarms:

More Money for Swarms

Money for Swarms