Monday, January 30, 2006

Rehab Robots

The LA Times has an article boosting the benefits of rehabilitaion robots, especially for recovery from stroke.

Rehab's robotic revolution
By Chris Woolston

... KineAssist is just one of a legion of smart machines poised to bring physical therapy into the high-tech age. Researchers envision a day when robots will become standard equipment in rehabilitation centers, giving stroke patients — and possibly patients with spinal cord injuries — a chance to take their recovery further than previously possible.
The KineAssist was developed at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
The machine already has Food and Drug Administration approval as an exercise device, and formal clinical studies are in the planning stage.

Stroke-damaged arms are the target of another kind of robot: the MIT-Manus, which was designed by engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As part of their rehabilitation, patients play video games while wearing the MIT-Manus. The robot uses sensors to track the arm's motion. If a patient can't make a certain movement, the robot will guide his arm or rotate his wrist.
Studies have found the therapy can improve arm function by 25% to 30% — about double the improvement of standard physical therapy.

MIT has recently developed an "ankle-bot" designed to give strength and flexibility to stroke-damaged ankles. The ultimate goal, researchers say, is to create a team of robots to cover all of the major joints — a shoulder-bot, a hip-bot and more.

Rehab's robotic revolution - Los Angeles Times

Related: Robotic Arm Aids Stroke Survivors

Protector Naval Combat System

An Israeli company - Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd. - has developed an unmanned autonomous speed boat called the Protector.

The 30-foot-long 'Protector' boat can reach speeds of up to 43 miles per hour and is fitted with a radar system, cameras that can identify targets, and a light machine-gun.

Each boat is equipped with at least four cameras, as well as a sonar or radar system, and electro-optics capable of providing a three-dimensional image. The machine gun on board is a mini-Typhoon type, also developed by Rafael. The Typhoon system allows the gun to stay on target as the unmanned surface vehicle (USV) bounces across the waves.

According to Dr. Noam Brock, who was in charge of the Rafael team that developed the Protector, the boat operates well at night and can cope with very rough sea conditions. Its systems are so advanced that they can track the flight of a single bird. [Good for duck hunting]

"The next step for the future will be to equip the system with greater attack capabilities."

...the world market for unmanned ships like the Protector could reach $1.8 billion by the year 2011.

Israel21c: "Protector "

Singapore Unmanned Patrol Boat

Company Mating News

Innova Holdings Signs Letter of Agreement to Acquire CoroWare

FORT MYERS, FL – January 25, 2006 – Innova Holdings, Inc. (IVHG:OTCBB) today announced that it has signed a letter of agreement with CoroWare, Inc. (Bellevue, WA) under which Innova Holdings will acquire all of the assets of CoroWare, including the newly formed CoroWare Test Labs subsidiary.

CoroWare is the only mobile service robotics company to join the Microsoft ® Windows Embedded Partner Program. CoroWare uses the Windows XP Embedded operating system to power its mobile service robots, which are based on de facto standards, off-the-shelf hardware and proven software.

“The U.S. Government has appropriated $33 billion to develop an unmanned fighting force. The goal is to convert 30 percent of its fighting force to unmanned systems by 2010. We believe robotics will play a key role in future armament and guidance systems for this unmanned force,” explained Walter Weisel, Chairman and CEO of Innova Holdings, Inc. “CoroWare has demonstrated the development and integration expertise necessary to tie together mobile and embedded systems for such advanced robotics applications employing the latest in software platforms.”

“This acquisition will benefit the Innova Holdings subsidiaries, Robotic Workspace Technologies (RWT™) and Innova Robotics, as we team to advance robotic technologies, applications, and product offerings,” Weisel concludes.

Innova Holdings - Bridging Innovative Technologies

Coroware press release

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Robot Home Security Surrogate

Sentinel, a home robot offered by a Toronto company, Dr. Robot, will guard and monitor your home.

You can monitor the sight and sounds of your home over the internet as the guard robot does his rounds. You can also remotely direct him and speak through him.

You can trust his sophisticated navigation system to let him roam free through your house and to find his own way back to his charging station.

I wonder if you can get one with a vacuum cleaner. I'm just saying, since it is wandering around the house anyway it might as well do a little cleaning.

"The Sentinel package includes everything you need to deploy a fully autonomous intelligent robot in your home."

Dr Robot Inc.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ralph the Fingerspelling Hand

The recent news about a Japanese sign language hand robot brought to light an invention by engineers at Stanford University and the VA Palo Alto Rehabilitation Research and Development Center.

Ralph, for Robotic Alphabet, was designed for person to person communications with deaf-blind people. The hand takes input from text or keyboard and translates it into hand fingerspelling language.

Although the spelling hand has been around for a few years there has not been much commercial success. According to David L. Jaffe, the lead engineer on the project, "There have been plenty of interested people and companies, but there has always been a lack of resources: money, time, expertise."

If you have the need or have some development bucks floating around, Dave says to contact him directly. He's happy to discuss Ralph's inner workings.

Check out the movie of Ralph in action.

Ralph - Technology Transfer

Other Technology Transfer projects

Friday, January 27, 2006

Robot Drivers For The Big Rigs

Oshkosh Truck Unveils Next Generation of Unmanned Defense Logistics Vehicle

OSHKOSH, Wis., Jan 23, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Oshkosh Truck Corporation (NYSE:OSK) announced today that it has unveiled an unmanned version of its Palletized Load System (PLS) vehicle at the U.S. Army Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Component Technology Demonstrations in Yuma, Ariz. Showcasing the immediate application of the technology for the U.S. Army fleet, Oshkosh is demonstrating a real-world mission scenario as the driverless truck transports cargo between destinations seven miles apart in the Arizona desert.
The unmanned navigational kit being applied to the PLS was tested at the 2004 and 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge races, and has undergone additional testing in desert environments, similar to those in the Middle East.
Oshkosh is partnered with Rockwell Collins (NYSE:COL) and the University of Parma, Italy, on the development this unmanned navigational kit.

The current "manned" Oshkosh(R) PLS transportation vehicle is a 10-wheel-drive truck and trailer system. The PLS is designed to transport containers carrying ammunition and other critical supplies, or large tanks holding fuel or water.
The original PLS and the PLS Unmanned Ground Vehicle have a 16.5 ton payload capacity and an on-board material handling system that quickly unloads and loads cargo.

Oshkosh Truck Corporation - News Release

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sony Announces Cutbacks

In shocking financial news today Sony announced that they are setting robot dog AIBO out to pasture and laying off corporate robot superstar QRIO.

New product development for AIBO has already ceased, and production is targeted to stop by the end of fiscal year 2005. However, after-sales support will continue.
There will also be no new development for QRIO. R&D in the AI area which was developed in the AIBO and QRIO businesses will continue and will be deployed in a broad range of consumer electronics products.

QRIO, just off a career high music video release, is known to mix with the party crowd. Although he has been recently seen out with the ladies, he has remained silent about the Sony announcement.

AIBO spokesdog Pedro, who recently acquired enough bandwith to attain conciousness, commented yesterday, "Have you ever been overseas?"
(Maybe he did not see the news yet.)

Sony Corporation -- Global Headquarters

Company Offers Robot Temps

(Kyodo) _ [The ironically named] People Staff Co. said Wednesday it will begin offering the use of robots to care for residents of homes for the aged or work as receptionists at offices, beginning in February.

"Humans and robots will likely collaborate in various places in the future as the working population seems to be on the decline amid the falling birthrate," a company spokesperson said.

The nursing robot, named Yorisoi ifbot, quizzes seniors in order to help prevent them from becoming senile.

The receptionist robot, called Hello Kitty Robo, which is equipped with a camera, greets a visitor with a voiced message upon recognizing him or her with a sensor and transmits the image and voice of the visitor to the computer of a user in another room.

The robots were developed by Business Design Laboratory Co. and were displayed at Expo 2005 Aichi.

The monthly usage fee is 45,000 yenm to 53,000 yen. (US $390 - $460)

Firm to offer use of robots to care for aged, work as receptionists

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stainless Steel Robot Helps US Dairy Industry

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. --(Business Wire)-- KUKA Robotics Corporation today announced its system partner, Forte Automation Systems, has installed a KUKA KR 15 SL stainless steel robot into Dean Foods' dairy product manufacturing facility.
The robot is the first stainless steel robot to be installed in North America. Dean Foods, a division of PET Dairies LLC, is using the KUKA KR 15 SL robot in its dairy case packing process.

"Dean Foods came to us needing to increase their case packing production using their current staff," said Toby Henderson, president of Forte Automation Systems.

Said Bill Schaefer, general manager of Dean Foods. "Anytime you can move workers from tedious assignments to more mentally challenging ones the more productive you will be - which is exactly what we wished to accomplish by adopting this new robot and process."

The KUKA KR 15 SL robot is a six-axis articulated robot is made of stainless steel. The use of stainless steel and the robot's high IP rating makes it suitable for all applications with stringent requirements for hygiene, sterility and absence of particles such as required in the food and beverage or medical industries.

The use of robots in the dairy industry in the UK is credited with saving their domestic factories from moving to Eastern Europe.

Blue Collar Robot With Household Skills

The construction robot HRP-2 from Kawada Industries adds another skill-set to his repertoire.

In a demo in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Technology(AIST) showed off HRP-2's service side.

The robot is upgraded to include autonomous self-directed operation and understanding of spoken commands.

A person seated at a table told a robot to bring him some juice. The robot delegated the command to another robot who went to the refrigerator, moving chairs out his way, got the juice and brought it to the human.

The HRP have also demonstrated skills for building bridges, and a proficiency in martial arts.

Pink Tentacle

Robot Bartender for the Home

What better application of robot technology can there be than serving man a beer?

Asahi Breweries (Creating New Levels of Satisfaction) just announced a special promotion for their low-malt beer.
They've designed a robot beer refrigerator and will be giving away a total of 5,000 of the robots, fully stocked with beer, to applicants selected by a lottery drawing.

Push the robot's start button and it opens the can, tilts the glass, and pours the beer with a perfect head every time. The refrigerator section of the robot can cool six 350 ml cans and two beer mugs.

Asahi is only running this promotion in Japan.

UPDATE: see the video here.

A ROBOT's DREAMS - Robosapien, Roboraptor, Robopet, Micromouse, Mindstorms, and other cool robot adventures: Promotion Features Beer Pouring Robot in Japan

2006 Robot Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

NORTHBORO, Mass., and FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Robotics Trends and IDG World Expo today announced that Carnegie Mellon University's Robot Hall of Fame will hold its 2006 induction ceremony at the 3rd annual RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition. The conference and exposition will be held at the Sheraton Station Square in Pittsburgh, PA on June 20-21, 2006.

Past inductees to the Robot Hall of Fame include some of the most significant and well known robots in the world including Honda's Asimo, NASA's Mars Pathfinder and Unimate, the first industrial robot arm that worked on the assembly line.

Robotic Trends also produces the annual RoboNexus Conference.

Carnegie Mellon's Robot Hall of Fame Joins RoboBusiness 2006 Conference and Exposition: Yahoo! Finance


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ursula, Party Robot

"Ursula" the Female Android is a remote-controlled full-size stationary robot that talks, dances, and more.

Special features of "Ursula" may include fiber-optic hair, remote-controlled water guns and on-board video cameras.

From Florida Robotics

Ursula the Robot by Florida Robotics.

XRay Robot Follows Patients for Moving Pictures

A University of Florida engineer has designed a robot to shadow and shoot X-ray video of sufferers of orthopedic injuries as they walk, climb stairs, stand up from a seated position or pursue other normal activities – and maybe even athletic ones like swinging a bat.

“Our goal is come up with a way to observe and measure how joints are moving when people are actually using them,” University of Florida Engineer Scott Banks said

Banks hopes his robot – actually, a system that uses two robots because one robot will be necessary to shoot the X-ray video and another to hold the image sensor — will lead to a radical improvement.

The robot, which has a one-meter mechanical arm, is a commercial product normally used in robotically assisted surgeries and silicon chip manufacturing that Banks and his graduate students have re-engineered. The robot can shadow a person’s knee, shoulder or other joint with its hand as he or she moves.

In its completed form, the hand will hold lightweight equipment capable of shooting X-rays, while another robot will hold the sensor that captures images of the body as moving videos. Although the robots will be attached to a fixed base, there is room for a person to move around normally within their reach. And in the future, said Banks, “we could put these robots on wheels and they could follow you around.”

University of Florida News - For orthopedic injuries, a robot that follows patients as they move

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Robot Protestors

Another groundbreaking robot via We Make Money Not Art:
Autonomous non-violent agents
Exellent use of technology!

However, these may be another group for police robot baton-skills practice.

Inspired by a news article describing the US military's plans to develop a robot army, La Fabricadecosasbonitas (The Factory of Pretty Things), decided to create their own army of non-violent protestors.
Their protestor robots will be quick and strong enough to resist the attacks of police while the remote humans stay completely out of harm's way.
They also do not need to eat, sleep or be motivated to work hard.

The robots will be life-sized. The upper body will have camera and microphone and be able to carry a protest sign. They can also be dressed in clothes sporting their message of peace.
The lower body will have wheels and sensors to guide the civil-disobedience-bot around obstacles.
All made from recycled materials.

The ANA (Autonomous Non-violent Agent) Project has recently won funding from Vida 8.0 to build 20 protestors for the 2007 G8 Summit in Germany.

Another great use of this would be to find sponsors who really care but do not have the time to travel to the protest location. They can sit at home in, say Hollywood, while their avatar brings their message to the streets.

we make money not art: Autonomous non-violent agents


Here's a guy who has been dreaming of a robot friend from since he was a kid.
So one day he decides to build one for himself.

"So many "sexy" things for robots are so easy: Speech output, camera, microphones, speech control, remote control via WLAN, facial expressions just by using a display as the head, behavior and navigation based on advanced programming.
I also wanted a handsome robot. I didn't fear size or weight, it just should be a nice, dressed robot and not a flat heap of wires. "

This robot became a true friend - never making him angry or sad.
And they lived happily ever after.

He gives you some instructions so you can try to build one for yourself.

English summary

BomBot to be Built in West Virginia

FAIRMONT, W.Va. - The West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation has captured a $9.6 million contract from the United States Navy to manufacture the BomBot™, a robot designed to disable and dispose of improvised explosive devices.

Innovative Response Technologies, Inc. (IRT)
, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the WVHTC Foundation, was awarded the contract by the U.S. Navy EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Technology Division. The contract calls for the manufacture of remotely controlled BomBot units, robots that can be rapidly deployed to place explosive charges on or near an improvised explosive device (IED) without exposing the operator to danger.

Congressman Alan B. Mollohan, D-W.Va., secured a total of $3.75 million in the 2004 and 2005 Defense Department spending bills for the WVHTC Foundation to prototype, test and evaluate the BomBot. Its success led to the new contract award.
"Advanced robotics is a field with long-term potential. With our traditional manufacturing expertise and our ever-increasing high-tech capabilities, northern West Virginia is positioned to be a significant force in the development of these systems," Mollohan said.

Earlier versions of robots cost more than $100,000 to build, while the BomBot costs under $5,000.
The BomBot is a miniature, modified, 4x4, remote controlled truck that has been equipped with a camera that can pan and tilt. The BomBot has a simple explosive charge dispenser that acts in much the same way as the bed of a dump truck. This robot, which weighs an estimated 15 pounds and is 20 inches by 20 inches in size, can reach speeds of 30 to 35 miles per hour and is able to quickly and more covertly place a device near an IED to destroy it.
The BomBot is designed to carry up to 10 pounds of explosives to a suspect improvised device, drop off the explosives and move away from the explosives so that the operator can detonate them.

WVHTC Foundation News

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

FedEx Opens Robot Institute

With contributions of money and human resources from FedEx Corp., the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis is launching a new research center dedicated to the exploration and development of robotic systems with direct implications to everyday life.

This will be the first new research center at the FedEx Institute since its opening in 2003, and will grow to comprise a team of faculty, students and researchers, a consortium of industrial and government sponsors, and a program of academic work, public events, and research that will range from homegrown inventions to pragmatic test bed and real-world trials with FedEx and other partners.

Eric Mathews, associate director for corporate research and development at the Institute, said, “Robots will be hard to ignore in our lives in the near future. The creation of this center is done in guidance with FedEx Corporation, and collectively we would like to take the initiative to make the future of robotics happen faster. That’s why we exist.”

Press Release

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Robot Beggar Works for the materially deprived

Beggar (a robot for the materially deprived)

Beggar talks to you and passers-by can put money on his retractable arms. If you call the phone number hanging around its neck, a computer voice explains the purpose of the robot's action.

"Žicar" can step up in the name of the materially deprived, while at the same time preserving their anonymity and dignity. It has access to areas normally off-limits to beggars, such as shopping malls and community events, where the richer part of the society frequents - the part of society that is only able to show some sympathy towards the marginalized if they communicate from a safe distance and via a technological interface.
The robot for the materially deprived is constructed entirely from old computer hardware and a few spare parts that can be obtained at no cost. Computers are nowadays more or less treated as basic home equipment and cultural code, no longer reserved for a few privileged individuals as a technology.

A work by Saso Sedlacek

This will give something for the new Korean police robots to train on.

More picures

we make money not art: Beggar, a robot for the materially deprived

Robot Police Project Launched in Korea

By Hwang Si-young

The Korean government announced yesterday it will start developing "robots for social safety" beginning as early as the later this year.

Robots for social safety means robots serving public purposes like public security, night guard, military duties, fire suppression and work at prisons, according to officials of the Ministry of Information and Communication.

A task force, composed of related industry experts and researchers, will first examine the viability of the so-called social safety robotics project in terms of technicality and marketability, hopefully to embark on the project later this year.

Robots functioning like dogs and horses

Further, the MIC, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Defense, plans to develop robots used for loading/unloading processes.

Dubbed literally as "robots functioning like dogs and horses," - dogs and horses in a Chinese phrase signify people who do not spare their efforts - they are currently being developed by the Agency for Defense Development and the Korean state think tank Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, said Hyung Tae-gun, director-general at the MIC's Information and Communication Policy Bureau.

Development of these six-legged robots, designed to perform dangerous tasks such as walking through minefields, deactivating unexploded bombs or clearing out hostile buildings, will be completed by 2009.

Three billion won (US $3 mil)is earmarked for the loading robotics project this year and 3-4 billion won will be gradually invested during the three-year period 2006-2009, Hyung said.

Also, the MIC reaffirmed yesterday its commitment to develop intelligent robots priced below 1 million won (US $1000)this year.

The definition of intelligent service robots has yet to be made, but will include robots for entertainment, education, home security and household chores.

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

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Robot hand translates speech into sign language

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A microchip in the robot recognizes the 50-character hiragana syllabary and about 10 simple phrases such as "ohayo" (good morning) and sends the information to a central computer, which sends commands to 18 micromotors in the joints of the 80 cm robotic hand, translating the sound it hears into sign language.

The aluminum robot was developed by a team led by the Fukuoka Prefecture Education Center in Sasagurimachi head instructor Keita Matsuo, 39, and Hirotsugu Sakai, 38, who is attending a long-term training program for schoolteachers.

They studied a book on sign language, and spent about two months creating the system, increasing the number of joints in the hand to 18 so that it could sign smoothly.

They added that in the future, hundreds of thousands of words could be programmed into the voice recognition unit and the robotic hand could function as a receptionist.

Robotic hand translates speech into sign language : Culture : Features : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

Remote Controlled Hummer

LAS VEGAS, PRIMEZONE) -- InRob Tech Ltd. (OTC BB:IRBL.OB), announced that it has successfully completed the development and field trials of a remote control system installed on a Hummer jeep.
Any function that a driver can perform in the vehicle can now be remotely managed by an operator at distances of up to 1.8 miles.
Moreover, in the same way that a driver can see the dashboard and in-vehicle dials and meters, the operator can see all these parameters on his control unit.
In addition, other add-on systems such as observation, transmission or video can be installed on the vehicle and operated by InRob Tech's same remote control system.

Ben Tsur Joseph, CEO of InRob Tech. ``The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) put our system through the most rigorous of testing and we are very pleased with the results and positive feedback."

InRob Tech's remote control system for the Hummer sells for approximately $70,000 per unit.

InRob Tech Ltd. Completes Military Trials of Remotely Controlled Hummer: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Robot Accepts Linux Code - Online

From Michael Shiloh:, a small wheeled robot runs around this guy's office and is available to be programmed by anyone who desires.

Upload your linux code or modify code on the robot.
You can watch the results of your efforts on the robot's webcam.

So far I have not seen the robot move at all.

This is a good idea. It would be nice to have a robot at your web-linked beck and call in some cool place like Disneyland or out on the street somewhere.

Linux Robots Wiki: HomePage

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mathematical Method to design better robots, structures

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Mechanical and civil engineers have created a new mathematical method to design better structures, machines and versatile computer-controlled robots called "robot manipulators."

Civil engineers design structures such as buildings and bridges using mathematical formulas, or theorems, that deal with the science of statics. Mechanical engineers designing robots, machinery and mechanisms use their own set of theorems dealing with kinematics, or the science of motion

The research is detailed in a technical paper that will appear in the January issue of the Journal of Mechanical Design(or another version here pdf), published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The paper was written by Gordon Pennock at Purdue University and Offer Shai, a civil engineer in the Department of Mechanics, Materials and Systems at Tel Aviv University.

The mathematics associated with kinematics must factor in the effects of velocity and acceleration resulting from motion. Static structures, on the other hand, are inherently strong in one position but could become weak if that position changes due to unpredictable motion. Combining the mathematics of kinematics and statics provides the best of both worlds by enabling engineers to better design structures that can withstand the "loads" resulting from motion-related forces.

"Current robots, however, have a single platform, but we showed how the dual theorems will enable engineers to design more functional robots with more than one platform," Pennock said.

One example is a 12-legged robot that has two flat platforms: a lower platform that has six legs standing on the ground and an upper platform that is connected to the ground by four legs and to the lower platform by two legs.

Engineers create mathematical method to design better robots, structures

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Laboratory Robot Handles Infectious Disease

BD Diagnostics, a segment of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), (NYSE:BDX) today announced FDA clearance and immediate market launch of the BD Viper System™ for in vitro infectious disease molecular diagnostic testing.

The BD Viper System is a novel, patented approach to laboratory automation using an industrial class of robotics known as Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA). This classification indicates that the robot is multi-jointed (4-axis), similar to the human arm.
Incubations, amplification and detection all occur on the BD Viper System, with repetitive pipetting labor delegated to the robot. The SCARA robotic approach delivers an extremely robust instrument by eliminating all pumps, syringes and reagent tubing, commonly thought of as the “Achilles’ heel” of traditional laboratory equipment regarding maintenance and reliability.
The high throughput of the BD Viper System also helps address the critical shortage of technologists in laboratories.

- News & Events - BD Diagnostics Announces FDA 510(k) clearance of the BD Viper™ System

Life Size Fighting Robot

This robot, Fighting Android FA1, is designed for training in boxing and martial arts. I wonder if you can use it for protection and just forget the training.
It would be fun to taunt people with it in bars. Get it into fights.

Medical research has shown that boxing and contact martial arts can lead to numerous acute health problems.

Self Defense Technologies, Inc. (SDT) has developed the world’s first “true” fighting android. Specifically, SDT’s invention is known as an electromechanical training apparatus or Fighting Android FA1.

The apparatus is human-like in shape, size and appearance to include a head, torso, legs and arms.
The invention embodies a life-like electromechanical device that moves backwards and forward, rotates and dodges to the left and right to avoid punches with human-like movement.
The device can throw an array of punches towards the fighter with either hand. Some of the punches capable of being thrown include, a straight punch, a single or double jab, an upper cut, a right or left cross, a hook, and various combinations of these punches. The device typically throws these punches towards the head, torso or arm regions of the fighter. Alternatively, the device may assume a defensive posture or throw a counter punching sequence towards the fighter.

Impact recording sensors may be placed at strategic locations on the device, such as the face, chest, arms and ribcage regions for awarding points. Data output from these sensors may be fed into an added circuit that counts the points scored for display on a screen. The points scored may include the total number of delivered punches landed in each region. Various point values are assigned for hitting different regions and for the amount of force delivered by a punch.

Self Defense Technologies, Inc.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Machine Intelligence Prize

The 2005 Fourth British Computer Society's Annual Prize for Progress towards Machine Intelligence sponsored by Electrolux has been won by IFOMIND, a mobile robot system that demonstrates intelligence as it meets a new object in its world.
Based on Khepera, a robot commercially available from K-Team, the machine intelligence system was designed and programmed by a team led by Professor David Bell from Queens University, Belfast.

IFOMIND reacts initially in an 'instinctive' way to its first perception of an unknown object that it encounters; at first it is generally fearful. However, because the robot is equipped with a human-like capability of inquisitiveness, it realises that it can react in another way and does not have to be scared of something that may not be harmful to it. So, the robot observes the object from a distance and takes note of how it behaves and how it reacts to different approaches; the robot is then able to decide on the best approach– or whether to avoid it. This knowledge can then be retained by the robot as it carries on and meets many more objects. This is a remarkable leap forward in the domain of Machine Intelligence as IFOMIND is able to use logical thought processes in order to decide the best way to interact with the objects that it meets.
David Bell from the IFOMIND team explains, "A system that can observe events in an unknown scenario, learn and participate as a child would is a major challenge in AI. We have not achieved this, but we think we've made a small advance." - David Bell

BCS Machine Intelligence Prize: "Prize for Progress towards Machine Intelligence"

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Robot Attacked in Posh SF Neighborhood

Apparently humans can be just as dangerous and unpredicatable as industrial robots.
It is unclear if this is an anti-robot motivated attack.

San Francisco Chronicle
Matier and Ross

About two years ago, Robert Mailer Anderson, author of the book "Boonville," installed a giant, metal robot sculpture in his yard overlooking upper Broadway -- just a few houses down from the well-heeled Gettys.

Goliath (as he is referred to by his owner) is the creation of Berkeley artist Nemo Gould. And what a creation he is -- Goliath comes with a light in his head and a red-and-white swirling "hypno-vision" wheel in his chest.

Goliath is also anatomically correct -- some might say overly correct -- with a very long steel gas pump nozzle and hose for a penis.

"Ninety-nine people out of a hundred seem to think it's a nice thing," Anderson said. "But there is always one person who doesn't like things."

According to a police report, on the night of Dec. 19, someone bashed the living daylights out of Goliath, busting open his head and tearing off other pieces as well -- though not his oft-attacked appendage.
"The sculpture is lucky to be alive,'' Anderson said. He estimates damage at between $5,000 and $10,000.

...there was a trail of robot pieces -- including a Santa hat -- that led across the street, in the direction of the home of Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

Apparently, Ellison's college-age daughter Megan Ellison had thrown a party the night of the attack. Putting two and two together, it appears a couple of revelers may have been the attackers.

"We're trying to keep a low profile, but obviously from your call, people have been talking," he said.

Goliath the robot attacked in Pacific Heights

Disgruntled Robot Kills Factory Manager

This really is tragic. We should take a lesson from it though. Most factory robots have absolutely no comprehension of the consequences of their actions.
Humans should pay attention or robot can turn on them before they know what hits them.

Japanese hit by robotic arm dies

PENANG, Malaysia: A Japanese factory manager died after a robotic arm knocked him on the head in Bayan Lepas here.

Noritaka Suzuki, 31, was checking on the machine, which had malfunctioned, when the incident occurred at 6.40pm on Thursday.

It is learnt that the machine was not switched off when Noritaka checked it. The robotic arm hit him so hard that he was thrown a few metres away.

Robot safety is an important topic of study for Automated Imaging Association, Robotic Industries Association, and US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Asimo Does Las Vegas

Asimo has been spotted all over the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Here is a report that he has been seen dating a geek blogger from the UK. 'Brokeback' Asimo?
What happens in Las Vegas...

Word is that he is not allowed anywhere near the blackjack tables. His brain is practically a computer. Count cards? Piece of cake! This robot does more calculations just to walk backwards!

Our spies are watching the wedding chapels - Asimo has been known to be swept away in the moment sometimes.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Robot Dog Keeps Photo Blog

A Sony Aibo named Pedro keeps a photblog of his adventures. There is a photo journal that he updates himself wirelessly.
"Pedro wanders freely around our house. Every day from noon to 3.30 pm GMT, he takes a photo every half-hour with his nose camera and mails it to this blog through his wi-fi internet connection."

You can also request a photo from him through email.
It's not quite Big Brother because the view is always from 4 inches off the floor.

Or, read the blog with commentary from Pedro's human.

There are also links to dozens of other Aibo diaries.

Aibo Roblog #1: Pedro

Friday, January 06, 2006

Yujin Selects Navigation System for Home Robots

PASADENA, Calif.--Jan. 5, 2006--Evolution Robotics announced today that Yujin Robotics has selected its NorthStar(TM) product as the primary localization method for their home robot prototype, Jupiter.
Jupiter has been used for pilot testing in ordinary households since the beginning of October 2005 and is one of the key milestones of a project organized by the Korean Ministry of Information and Communication ("MIC").
NorthStar is an infrared LED technology that enables any electronic product to know where it is in real time.
NorthStar's localization system is comprised of two components: NorthStar Detector and NorthStar IR Projector. The NorthStar detector uses triangulation to measure position and heading in relation to IR light spots that can be projected onto the ceiling (or other visible surface). Because each IR light spot has a unique signature, the detector can instantly and unambiguously localize.

Jupiter is the first robot pilot in Korea being tested at a regular household environment where MIC uses three different types of robots and has a total of 64 units installed.

Yujin CEO and president, Shin Kyung-chul, has expressed great faith in the future of home robots. He has said, " ...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." Robots will enable a new 'life revolution.'

Yujin Robotics Selects Evolution Robotics to Guide Their Home Robot, Jupiter; NorthStar(TM) Gives the Jupiter Robot the Ability to Know Where It's at at All Times


Wowwee Shows Off New Robots at CES

Wowwee, the maker of RoboSapien,RoboV2, robopet and roboraptor, has revealed their latest creations at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

There is RS Media: A Robosapien with media entertainment built in. It includes, "a full color LCD screen, speakers and subwoofer, a USB connector and MP3 and MP4 Players; RS Media can display and store data easily from your PC."
What no cell phone?

Next is P.E.A. Bot, Personal Evolved Android.(Photo from pocket-lint) This two-wheeled robot is the first to use Segway's balancing technology. They say it can carry a beer without spilling a drop. Also..."With a repertoire of quirky animations the P.E.A. Bot is one surprising robot. P.E.A. Bot also has advanced artificial intelligence and IR Vision allowing for multiple levels of environmental user interaction and mood dependent behavior."

And another animal robot, Roboreptile.
"Roboreptile™ is an advanced fusion of technology and individuality- the ultimate herpetological species. With his low menacing stride and striking animations this futuristic reptilian has both direct control and free roam functions. Advanced sensor technology allows his awareness to reach new levels. Realistic biomorphic motions and advance natural dynamics enable Roboreptile to move in two emotionally aggressive gaits and two different speeds-walking on four legs and running on two legs. Watch as Roboreptile jumps, whips his long tail and springs into action. Roboreptile's acute vision and sound sensors allow him to avoid obstacles, and when in guard mode make Roboreptile a formidable sentry."
" While his cowl is on, Roboreptile will become docile and friendly; remove the cowl and you better stay on your toes!"
And whatever you NOT feed the reptile after midnight!

Giant Robot Worm Lurks Under NYC Streets

The Welding and Inspection Steam Operations Robot (WISOR) was developed for Con Edison of New York by Honeybee Robotics as a semi-automated means of maintaining subterranean steam pipes. While tethered to the surface for power and fiber optic visuals, WISOR uses an inch-worming motion for mobility through straight pipes where it mills and welds flanges. It is equipped with five cameras for inspecting damage and repairs, a milling device, and a MIG class welder that can rotate a full 360 degrees.
It will enter a steam pipe, inch-worm its way to a flange, mill in preparation for resealing, and then perform a structural weld to seal the flange.

The 800 lb. WISOR is a semi-autonomous system with a 200-foot umbilical cable that connects it to a control center in its truck, which allows engineers to see where WISOR is going and what it mills and welds. WISOR is currently undergoing testing and debugging with an anticipated delivery to Con Edison in late 2006.

Gothamist: WISOR for Official New York State Robot!

You can also buy the video at Amazon

Thursday, January 05, 2006


LEGO Group today announces LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ NXT, a new system that redefines the consumer robotics category the company created in 1998.

The heart of the new system is the NXT brick, an autonomous 32-bit LEGO microprocessor that can be programmed using a PC.
After building their robots, users create a program within easy-to-use yet feature-rich software, powered by LabVIEW from National Instruments.
Downloading programs to an invention is easy using wireless Bluetooth or USB.

NXT includes new sensors for sound, sonar and touch.

LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT will be available in August 2006 and will have a suggested retail price of $249.99 (USD) and $ 379.99 (CAD). MINDSTORMS Press NXT : Whats NXT LEGO Group Unveils LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Robotics Toolset at Consumer Electronics Show

Robot Park Opens in Korea

By Cho Jin-seo
Staff Reporter, The Korea Times
Puchon, Kyonggi Province, S. Korea

After six months of preparation, Robo Park opened last week as Korea’s first and only year-round robot museum in Puchon (Bucheon), a town sandwiched between Seoul and Inchon. The park has some 30 kinds of household and industrial robots on display, and most of them are purchased from 17 companies located in the very same building as the museum.

``First, we built it as a showroom for robot manufacturers in the industrial complex,’’ said Byun Jong-hwan, director of Robo Park. ``But while we were working with the plan, we came to think that it would be able to serve the regional community as well, providing a good educational opportunity for young children.’’

Director Byun says that one visitors’ favorite is a six-member troupe of Robonova, which give a 3-minute dancing performance on a classical number using their 14 human-like joints. Another popular figure is Mr. Face, which can make 10 facial expressions using its mechanical muscles.

The park was funded by the city and central government 50-50, and it is a part of South Korea’s plan to foster the smart robot industry.

Aiming to make robot technology a key growth engine in the country, the Ministry of Science and Technology last month said that it aims to make it a 100-trillion-won industry by 2020.
Also, the Ministry of Information and Communication announced a plan to prompt local firms to commercially launch household robots, such as robot vacuum cleaners and guard robots with an affordable price range of between 1 million and 2 million won this year.

The Korea Times : First Robot Park Opens in Puchon: "Robo Park "


Robots For Elderly

A research team at Sogang University in Korea recently developed a robot that helps disabled people and the elderly who have trouble with mobility. A person is attached to the robot's metallic arms at the waist, and the machine slowly leads the person, step by step. The robotic arms also support the person when he or she is sitting down.

It not only helps the elderly get around, like the robot developed by the team at Sogang University, but can also fetch items that a person requests, such as orange juice.
The robot can turn on a television and even water plants. Its software programming can inform the owner of the timetable for taking medications.

INSIDE JoongAng Daily


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Online Robot Cleared in Illegal "Bush Bashing" Case

Robots can be partisan too...

From Going to the Mat:
Last week, the Federal Election Commission released documents related to MUR 5485 (pdf), a complaint lodged against Conversagent, Inc. The complaint alledged that a program known as a conversation robot, called SmarterChild, that children could use on AOL's Instant Messenger service, had been initially programmed to be a Kerry supporter in the 2004 election. According to a news article attached to the complaint, the program, created by Conversagent, Inc., iniitally responded to an input about George W. Bush by replying, "George W. Bush is way uncool." When the robot was asked why it thought Bush was "uncool" the system replied, "I have my reasons. I really, really don't like George Bush."
The complaint alleged that Conversagent made a contribution to the Kerry-Edwards campaign in violation of the ban on corporate contributions because it was advocating for Kerry.

Conversagent responded (pdf) that the conversation robot had been initially programmed to aggregate the opinions of users to form what appeared to be its own opinions. Intial users loaded the program with large number of pro-Kerry, anti-Bush messages that the robot began to use a "George Bush is uncool" message. After complaints, the company altered the programming to remain neutral with regard to the presidential candidates.

The FEC, based upon a recomendation from the General Counsel's office, dismissed the case (pdf) as a bona fide commercial activity and said that no further action need be taken in the case.

Going to the Mat: Robot Advocacy?

Robot Turtle Spies From Russia

Research by neurologist Professor Aleksey Burikov at Rostov State University in southern Russia has produced turtles which carry cameras or sensors on their shells and can be remotely operated for covert missions.

Turtles turn out to be excellent agents for spy agencies because they can go for very long times without food and can carry many times their own weight.

"Pigeons turned out to be poor learners and rats needed too much food," said Professor Aleksey Burikov.

The turtles are not trained with rewards but are directed remotely with electrical signals.

The Advertiser: New breed of spy crawls in from cold

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Rescue Robot Fails in Mine Emergency

Mine robot bogged down in mud in West Virginia rescue
Associated Press

TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. - A robot designed to search mines during emergencies was bogged down by mud Tuesday, and was at least temporarily out of service in efforts to locate 13 miners trapped in West Virginia.

The rescue robot developed for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration was sent into the mine Tuesday morning, but was no longer being used by noon, said Ben Hatfield, chief executive officer of mine owner International Coal Group Inc. of Ashland, Ky.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin said officials hoped to use the robot again despite those problems.

The rescue robot - 30 inches wide and 50 inches tall - was designed to find possible escape routes and determine whether it's safe for humans to enter.

The The $265,000 robot was unveiled to the public in August at MSHA's district office in Hunker, Pennsylvania.

AP Wire | 01/03/2006 | Mine robot bogged down in mud in West Virginia rescue

Robots Can Save America

Buy A Robot And Save America
Robert Malone

The average wage for a U.S. warehouse or distribution worker is around $15 per hour (plus benefits). The average wage for this same work in China is about $3 per hour. The average wage for a skilled UAW U.S. automobile worker is $25 to $30 per hour, plus the staggering costs of health care coverage and retirement.

The average cost per hour to operate an industrial robot is, “30 cents per hour,” according to Ron Potter, director of robotic technologies of Factory Automation Systems.

Even if this figure is doubled to 60 cents and includes a vision system, a software package and yearly maintenance, it is still only one-fifth the cost per hour of a Chinese laborer.

Close to 15,000 industrial robots, worth more than $900 million, have been purchased in North America. These figures are on track to double--then double again--at which point the U.S. might catch up with Japan. This would decrease the need to outsource many manufacturing and distribution jobs to China.

Buy A Robot And Save America -

Snake Arm Robots For Flexible Reach

OC Robotics announced two contracts in December:

Completed a contract with Comau Pico Inc. studying the use of snake-arm robots for aerospace coating applications.
"Currently, standard industrial robots are used to coat the surfaces of separate parts of a structure before it is assembled. These robots are not able to reach the most awkward areas of the assembly.

"...completed an initial contract with British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd to conduct a feasibility study and specify a design for a snake-arm robot for use at Sellafield. The proposed snake-arm will be OCRobotics' longest, at around 10 metres, and is intended for inspection, instrumentation and repair activities on site."

OCRobotics - Manufacturers of snake-arm robots for restricted access applications

Robot Zombie Cockroaches

"Insects can do many things that people can't, " Isao Shimoyama,the head of the bio-robot research team at Tokyo University says. "The potential applications of this work for mankind could be immense." Within a few years, electronically controlled insects carrying mini-cameras or other sensory devices could be used for a variety of sensitive missions - like crawling through earthquake rubble to search for victims, or slipping under doors on espionage surveillance.

"We had an incident last week where we sent a roach into an duct to test for an air leak, when we asked the roach to turn right, it responded by asking for our email addresses and offered to send us viagra in return." said Assistant Professor Isao Shimoyama, head of the bio-robot research team.

Far-fetched as that might seem, the Japanese government has deemed the research credible enough to award $5 million to Shimoyama's micro-robotics team and biologists at Tsukuba University, a leading science center in central Japan.

...they select roaches to equip with high-tech "backpacks" - tiny microprocessor and electrode sets. Wings and antennae are removed. Where the antennae used to be researchers fit pulse-emitting electrodes. With a remote, researchers send signals to the backpacks, which stimulate the electrodes. The pulsing electrodes make the roach turn left, turn right, scamper forward or spring backward.

"The technology isn't so difficult," he said. "The difficulty is to really understand what is happening in the nervous system."

Perhaps trying to motivate the roaches instead of controlling them would help.

corrosion roach robot Corrosioneering Newletter InterCorr International: "Tsukuba University"

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