Thursday, March 30, 2006

Lego Robot Replaces Girlfriend

From Craig Davison at the Purdue student paper, The Exponent:

Stanley, a graduate student at Purdue University, has an ongoing exhibit in the West Gallery of the Patti and Rusty Reuff Galleries in the Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts called "Mechanisms," and the small rolling robot is one of the stars.

The idea to use a robot in his art came about when his girlfriend and studio partner for four years went to study in Philadelphia.
Being without his regular studio partner caused some anxieties and even caused him to consider dropping out. According to the artist, he began to isolate himself and become more wired "as a means of temporarily replacing my partner."

The robot, made from a $200 Lego set that is powerful and modifiable, hasn't been named and isn't the best studio partner. He can't hold a conversation with it and it has a tendency to fall apart from time to time.
But, since the robot came to life five months ago, it has made close to 50 smaller drawings and about 20 larger ones,

"It's not a very sexy robot, but it gets the job done," said Stanley.

[Picture is not of Stanley's robot but some other Lego robot from somewhere on the net]

The Exponent - Purdue's Independent Student Newspaper

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Interactive Robot Art

Robots perform.
Robots are used as a medium to express ideas through interactive art.
A way to automate expression maybe.

"Thomas Edwards is a technological artist living near Washington, DC. His work seeks to explore the interface between people and electronic machines, often by encouraging true interaction between them."

"Sycophant explores the relationship between viewers and a human-like robot. The human head is mounted on a motorized base which moves along a track. As a viewer walks by, the head follows on the track, while plying him or her with a cornucopia of compliments such as "I really like your hair" and "You look really hot!"

Robobaby - "Combining the best of natural genetics and robotic technology."


Thomas Edwards: Technological Art

Tech Art Blog

Man Convicted of Shooting Robot Moose

A man from Pugwash Junction, Nova Scotia, pleaded guilty yesterday to attempting to kill an endangered species.

He is the first person in Nova Scotia to be found guilty of the crime after shooting Bullwinkle, a full-sized robot moose decoy used by the Natural Resources Department to help combat the poaching of mainland moose.

The animals became an endangered species in 2003.
[I think the article means that the moose is the endangered species, not the robot decoy.]

He shot the decoy near Thomson Station, N.S., on Nov. 2.
He has been banned from hunting for 20 years and must also pay a $4,025 fine, and forfeit his car and rifle. - Canada - Man shoots robotic moose

New Bomb Sniffer Robot

Robowatch Technologies and Diehl BGT Defence will announce the global launch of their modular reconnaissance and defusing robot ASENDRO on 11 April 2006.

The robot is capable of detecting persons and weapons, climbing stairs and reaching every nook and cranny. With its gripper arm it can examine suspicious objects and defuse them. Its small size, relatively high speed and modular design makes ASENDRO for operations inside buildings and public transport.

To register for the webcast:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

US Navy Enlists 213 More Packbots

BURLINGTON, Mass. (AP) -- Robot maker IRobot Corp. said Monday it signed a $26 million contract with the Navy to build 213 bomb-disposal robots.

Under the contract, the company will build PackBot Man Transportable Robotic System robots, which enable experts to locate and disable bombs from a safe distance. The company has already sold the Navy two orders of PackBot robots worth $17 million, the company said.

The U.S. military has requirements for up to 1,200 PackBot robots through 2012, the company said.

More than 300 PackBot robots have been deployed worldwide and have performed tens of thousands of missions, the company said.

IRobot Gets $26 Million Navy Contract: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance



Monday, March 27, 2006

“Crusher” Unmanned Combat Vehicles

UQM TECHNOLOGIES, INC. (AMEX: UQM), a developer of alternative energy technologies, announced that two additional hybrid electric “Crusher” unmanned ground combat vehicles powered by UQM® high torque propulsion systems and generators have begun field testing by the U.S. Army.
The 6.5 ton “Crusher” vehicles are being developed and built by a team led by the National Robotics Engineering Center, a unit of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.

The two Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles (UGCV’s) are greatly upgraded versions of the original 8.5 ton “Spinner” which began field demonstrations over three years ago and was powered by an earlier generation of UQM® propulsion motors and a micro-turbine generator.

The 6-wheel drive machine can run on any 'feature rich' terrain crunching anything in its path. It can even flip over and continue to drive upside down.

The prototypes are an Advanced Technology Demonstrator that complements the Army’s Future Combat System (FCS).

The Spinner is also used as a platform for DARPA's Unmanned vehicle PerceptOR Integration (UPI) project.
PerceptOR, for Perception for Off-Road Robotics, tests advanced sensors and control algorithms for autonomous vehicles.

Spinner video (car crushing finale)
UPI movie

Two Additional Hybrid Electric “Crusher” Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles Powered by UQM Propulsion Systems and Generators Begin Field Testing and Evaluation

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Chatty Face Robot

The folks at Pink Tentacle have found some video of the Chatty painted face robot from Ishikawa Optics & Art Corporation.

The face of the robot is projected from inside the head to give a spooky realistic effect.

watch the 'humpty dumpty' video.

Chatty Page

Adding Brains to Robots

SPRINGFIELD, TN--(MARKET WIRE)--Mar 24, 2006 -- Spider Technologies, Inc., a company partly owned by eMax Holdings Corporation, signs a reseller and distribution agreement to sell Dr Robot's products. Spider Technologies, Inc. is Dr Robot's first US based Distributor and Reseller.

Spider Technologies is now experimenting and developing artificial intelligence technologies that will work seamlessly with robots designed and built by Dr Robot, Inc.

Michael Reynolds, President and CEO of Spider Technologies, Inc. stated, "Artificial Intelligent products or services are the wave of the future. This technology alone is incredible. The ability now to combine this technology into one of the highest quality commercial grade robots opens many possibilities."

"We are very interested in partnering with Spider who has broad IT technology background and shares the same robot vision. Dr Robot's network-based robot architecture and robotic system will be an ideal foundation for an AI technology development company, like Spider Technologies, Inc., to explore and develop powerful and high level robotic applications and services," Dr. Haipeng Xie, CTO of Dr Robot, Inc. said.

Dr Robot has recently been promoting their $6300 security robot for the home, Sentinel.

This is another example of technology companies combining their complementary efforts to advance the robot agenda.

UPDATE: Spider technologies has started a website, Spider Store, to sell their services along with Dr Robot machines and accessories.

Spider Technologies, Inc. Signs Distribution and Reseller Agreement With Dr Robot, Inc.: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Friday, March 24, 2006

Korea's Home Robots

Engadget got a picture of the final version of one of the home robots for Korean families.
Korean Ministry of Information and Communication launched a project to get a robot into every household by 2020.

The robots are designed to help with household tasks like home monitoring and cleaning.
They will also help to watch and teach the kids.

The robots are not so smart themselves, but they stay connected and do their thinking on the internet.

The picture looks like the Hanool Hanuri-RD1 research robot. Hanool along with Yujin Robotics are working with the Korean ministry to develop the home robots.
There are three robot species planned: an intellectual robot to watch and teach the kids, a cleaning robot maid and a telecommunications secretary robot.

The fact that the robots will always be connected to a government ministry does not seem to bother anyone.

Korea's domestic robot gets a smiley face - Engadget

See more...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pittsburgh Robot City

Carnegie Mellon University wants to build a research center called Robot City to develop the next generation of robots.

CMU would use the space to build and test prototypes of robots that would plant grass, mow the lawn, harvest crops, provide cleanup, oversee security and do other tasks. University officials hope the move will bring Pittsburgh closer to living up to the monicker given it by The Wall Street Journal: "Roboburgh."

"The community has been waiting for an exciting vision for that site, and this could be it," said Maxwell King, president of The Heinz Endowments. "It's the kind of vision that can not only lead to an exciting neighborhood but to economic development for Pittsburgh."

The first step is to move a faculty-student research team that is developing robotic vehicles into an old roundhouse that once serviced steam locomotives. Renovations are expected to begin on the roundhouse this spring, and university officials hope to complete the move this year.
Once the roundhouse is completed, CMU will seek a financial partner to develop the Robot City research center.

"It'll take years to fulfill the vision of Robot City, but that doesn't get in the way of starting now and having real machines and people on the ground and in action," said William "Red" Whittaker, Fredkin Research Professor at CMU's Robotics Institute and the leader of the university's Red Team. The team's two robot vehicles finished second and third in the 2005 Grand Challenge, a 130-mile race of robot vehicles across the Mojave Desert in October.

"Robot City is the next step in the evolution of robots, robotics enterprise and taking this work to the world," he said.

CMU plans Robot City -

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

WowWee Partners with Evolution

Evolution Robotics today announced a strategic alliance with WowWee Robotics(TM) to integrate Evolution's technologies for vision and navigation into the next generation of WowWee products.

WowWee will incorporate two of Evolution's unique technologies in their line of products: ViPR(TM) and Northstar(TM).
ViPR (Visual Pattern Recognition) is visual recognition technology, and provides reliable and fast recognition of patterns, objects, and locations in realistic environments.
Northstar, known as "Indoor GPS," is for position-awareness for consumer robots, and enables robots to navigate autonomously and intelligently.
Both of these technologies will be used by WowWee as they continue to create breakthrough robotic companions and entertainment products.

Evolution Robotics works with leading consumer brands to make their robots smarter using breakthrough solutions in vision and autonomous navigation. Earlier this year Evolution announced that they had been selected by Korean company Yujin Robotics for the navigation system of a household robot.

WowWee has recently been showing some of their new robots. They have both stationary and mobile home robots coming out soon.

Evolution Robotics


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Robot Tourguide for Museum

A 1.5-metre-high robot named Cicerobot will soon be guiding tourists around a Sicilian archaeological collection .

The bright red robot moves on wheels and is equipt with a keyboard, a monitor, video camera and sensors.

"Cicerobot is able to plan out tours in accordance with the needs of individual visitors," explained Antonio Chella, head of the Palermo University robotics laboratory that invented the mechanism .

"His sensors allow him to guide tourists around the museum, avoiding obstacles and queues" .

Cicerobot will also be on the internet so that people from all over the world can join in as he gives tours around the museum.

The creators hope that robots will be widely used in museums around Italy. They can also double as security guards. - News in English - Robot guide for museum visitors

Robot Arm to Help India Compete

In an effort to develop robotics and automation, which could almost end the complete dependence on imports of robotic arms in industrial manufacturing, a 'pick and place robot (PP robot)' has been developed as part of the 'Home Grown Technology Programme' on the initiative of Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

"The capability to built sophisticated robots is already in the country," says Dr Jagannath Raju, Director of Bangalore based Systemantics India, which manufactures the robot.

"But the initiative has to be moved into the private sector (to be able to replace all imported machines)," he added.

IBNLive : Eureka! Desi robotic arm developed

Friday, March 17, 2006

Robot Muscles Powered by Alcohol

University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Nanotech Institute has made alcohol-powered artificial muscles that are 100 times stronger than natural muscles, able to do 100 times greater work per cycle.

They have developed two different types of artificial muscles that, like natural muscles, convert the chemical energy of an energetic fuel to mechanical energy.

The breakthroughs are described in the March 17 issue of the prestigious journal Science.

The new muscles simultaneously function as fuel cells and muscles, according to to Dr. Ray H. Baughman, an author of the Science article.

Just like humans, the robots will not need to be tied to a power source or carry batteries.

Fuel-powered charge injection in a carbon nanotube electrode produces the dimensional changes needed for actuation.

In another of the described artificial muscles – currently the most powerful type – the chemical energy in the fuel is converted to heat by a catalytic reaction of a mixture of fuel and oxygen in the air.

UTD NanoTech Institute - News

Robot Gossip Contest Update

Remember, the first Robot Gossip Contest is to identify when civilization as we know it has become dependent on robots.
It may have already happened but, so far there is no winner in the Robot Gossip Contest.
Most importantly keeps your comment posts and emails coming. Also, here is some update information...

This update includes 3 points:
1. How can you win?
2. Ideas that may already be winners.
3. ATM's are not robots.

How can you win the first Robot Gossip Contest?

Let me start explaining this by a negative example. An email or comment that says something like, "What about welding robots?" or "What about bomb robots?" cannot be taken seriously as a contest entry. I do need some kind of evidence - at least in the for of links to pages that might give the evidence. I gave an examle in the origninal posting.
Which brings me to the second point:

Ideas that may already be winners.

I have the feeling that JakeH (see comments) may be on to something by saying that the electronics industry, and so, modern civilization, is already dependent on robots. It was seconded by others in comments and emails. However, no one has really come up with any real examples of machines, companies or descriptions of processes as concrete examples.
It would also be nice to know when and why this happened. For example: "Since Semifacturing broke the sub-milli-bar limit with the Megon chips in 1998, things have never been the same." Something like that, but with real words and some links for reference. I will do some research but not all of it. If I do all the research then I would win the contest and that would just be silly.

Another area that may qualify is welding. Robot welders, it seems, have so much better capabilities than humans that many products - from hand tools to jets to ships - would not be possible without them. The robots are able to make ultra-accurate repeatable welds, self-inspect, collect statistics and adapt to changing conditions. However, I have not found evidence yet that we are truly dependent on these enhance welding skills.

This contest is not meant to be a guessing game. I do not a preconceived idea for a winning entry. So you can keep sending your ideas, like, "What about that robot? from that car company in japan? You know, the one that dances? The white one?" But the winner must show their work.

ATM's are not robots.

Finally, the suggestion that we have become completely dependent on ATM's is probably correct. But ATM's are not robots, they are Kiosks.
What is the difference, you ask? Kiosks are sort of robots inside-out. They may think like robots but they act like part of the geography. By that, I mean that they are part of the landscape, or service desk or architecture. That is how they have so effectively crept into every thing. Kiosks are sneaky.
An ATM might be considered a robot if it were turned inside out - like if it had mechanical fingers that counted out the money and handed ot to you. Or if they had some kind of real social interaction. For example if, instead of acting like a smart spot on the wall, they came out on the sidewalk to get people to talk to them, "Hey! You! You look like you need some cash! C'mere! Check out my cash box!" You know, weaving in and out of the pedestrians, hitting on the ones that made eye contact. Then I might admit that those sidewalk ATM's were robots. Today they are kiosks.

Kiosks have already taken the banks, gas stations, airports and just about all other public transportation. They are quickly moving into fast food, hotels, car rentals, grocery stores and discount departent stores. They will soon become so pervasive that the job of 'cashier' will be an odd nostalgic memory.

"Remember back at the turn of the century when they had people whose whole job was to press the keys on the cashier? Like at McD's you say,'I want a hamburger' and they press the hamburger key. 'I want french fries' and they press the french fries key. Man, people must have been stupid back then!"

According to an article in Self Service World magazine (formerly Kiosk magazine) there are 439,000 kiosk units in North America, 157,000 in Asia-Pacific, and 129,000 in Europe. And the numbers are growing exponentially. They are not only replacing human workers but they can also do the jobs more quickly, more accurately and offer more services. Kiosks, ATM's in particular, are a good example of a technology that we have become dependent on. But kiosks are not robots.

Keep the ideas coming!

Smart Floors Tell Robots Where to Go

Hamlin, March 2006 - After over three years of targeted research, Vorwerk Teppichwerke from Hamlin, Germany has successfully developed the first "smart floor" to series-production capability.
A textile underlay, the "smart floor" is equipped with electronic Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) microchips and can be installed beneath nearly all suitable floor coverings.
"Smart floor" is the first product to be realised from the ongoing research project "thinking carpet" begun in 2003. That project has been run by Vorwerk jointly with chip manufacturer Infineon towards developing intelligent supplementary functions for textile floor coverings.
A co-operation partner, InMach Intelligente Maschinen GmbH from Ulm, Germany, designs intelligent robots for everyday service tasks such as cleaning work or transporting goods and persons.

The basis of the "smart floor" is a network consisting of RFID microchip "tags" which have been integrated into a polyester weave.
Each RFID tag within the network can be electromagnetically enscribed and read out. The tag is thus able to not only transmit locational co-ordinates to a robot, it can also store data.

Each of the RFID chip tags has its own ID number which can be detected and identified by an RFID reader via wireless data transmission (13.56 MHz) across a distance of 10 centimetres. The power required for this process is supplied exclusively by the robot. The RFID chips themselves are completely passive, meaning that no electrical voltage whatsoever exists on the underlay itself.

The smart-floor technology was demonstrated at the CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany.

Vorwerk & Co.Teppichwerke GmbH & Co KG

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Roomba Frogger

Every once in awhile a robot comes along that captures the essence of meaning of technology for civilization.

It is an application of technology that rises above mundane manufacturing and keeping humans alive.
It is a robot that shows how the partnership of humans and robots can rise above the animal kingdom.

Roomba Frogger is exemplary.

A week or so ago Phillip Torrone of Make was demonstrating his modified Roomba by battling it out with other modified housekeepers. The units have bluetooth interfaces installed so they can be operated remotely with a pc.
CNET news has reported that Mr. Torrone and cohorts have taken their modified Roombas on the road, literally, for some live-action Frogger.

Dateline Austin, Texas outside a hotel during SXSW.

The Roomba, dressed as a frog, darted back and forth across four lanes of traffic desperately trying to avoid certain death.

The fearless Roomba/frog lasted 10 crossing before it was pancaked.

Roomba takes Frogger to the asphalt jungle | CNET

Robots, Fashion, Cool & Hot

Robot designer Tatsuya Matsui seen recently in Tokyo with fashion designers showing off the Mori mannequin robot from FlowerRobotics.

"Veteran Japanese designer Hanae Mori hates what automation has done to the industry. But bringing back her classic Chrysanthemum Dress after 40 years, she has enlisted a robot as her model.

The robot, Palette, slowly moved her arms, body and head to show off the dress, while the other mannequins at the show were all planted firmly on poles.

"The idea of using a robot for beauty is innovative, as robots are usually made for factories or wars," said Tatsuya Matsui, who designed the robot."
[Update from Yahoo news]

Matsui will also be participating in the symposium New Design Japan: Cool Ideas & Hot Products at the Japan Society in NYC from March 18-20.

From NYT...

“Posy is a 3-year-old girl,” he said, who “hands out flowers to people, like a flower girl for weddings.” (left)
P-Noir, meanwhile, “is a feminist,” the alternative to the “‘Terminator’-type robot.” (on right)

robot designer Tatsuya Matsui and fashion designer Hanae Mori

Creating Jobs for Robots

The robot agenda exposed.

"Nearly a million robots are used in major factories around the world. The EU-funded project "SMErobot" FP6 wants to give smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) similar access to robotics technology."

There are an estimated 23 million SMEs in the European Union providing over 75 million jobs and accounting for 99% of all enterprises. In some sectors, such as textiles and construction, they contribute up to 80% of employment. SMEs are also considered vital to achieving the Union’s revamped Lisbon goals of more and better growth and jobs.

The EU SMErobot project aims to develop new, inexpensive versions of industrial robots especially for SME needs.

The four-year project includes leading research institutes, universities and the top five robot manufacturers in Europe.
Thanks to increased automation, robots offer a number of advantages to industry, including high throughput and speed, generally better accuracy and improved safety conditions for staff.

European community programmes - Industrail research : robots for SMEs !

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Military Killer Bee UAV

SAN DIEGO, March 14, 2006 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has demonstrated its KillerBee low-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the U.S. Air Force, highlighting its ability to provide real-time streaming video and precision targeting information to warfighters.

Designed by Northrop Grumman and Swift Engineering, the version demonstrated for the Air Force has a 9-foot wingspan and carries electro-optical and infrared sensors.

Bill Walker, Northrop Grumman's director of business development for the KillerBee program said, "We demonstrated our ability to launch and recover the aircraft without a runway, provided real-time video, displayed low-altitude flight and the potential for autonomous long-endurance operations."

This concept will provide unprecedented situational awareness as multiple KillerBees work together to form a robust, tactical UAV system.

Northrop Grumman Corporation

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Robot Dream Dog

ARIN, is modeled after a native Korean Jindo Dog and from a character in children's show's "A.I.TOY" and "Park’s Adventure(Imagination Man)"

It is designed to act like a real dog except the tail is a joystick, it has a small screen on its back and you play DVD's by cramming them in the dog's butt.
Other than that it is exactly like a real dog.
Oh, except it can also be used as a computer and a cell phone.
It can run and respond to voice and touch.
Who would want a stinky real dog anyway?

The size is not shown on the Parkart website. It looks like they are searching for a manufacturer.

via Raw Feed

Robot Koi Carp

A robot fish from a consortium of Hiroshima, Japan engineering companies.
From Pink Tentacle:
"The robot is modeled after a Nishiki koi carp as a form of tribute to Hiroshima Castle (whose nickname Ri-jo means Koi Castle). The 80-cm (31-inch), 12-kg (26-pound) fish has a white body with bright red spots. Though the smooth tail movements closely resemble those of a real fish, the remote-controlled koi is capable of moves that a genuine koi is unable to perform, such as swimming in reverse and rotating in place."

"The robot is Ryomei Engineering’s fifth in a line of fish robots that includes a sea bream, a prehistoric coelacanth, and a golden carp. New features added to the robotic koi include a CCD camera built into the head and sensors for analyzing water quality."

Pink Tentacle

Other Robot Fish

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Robot Beasts

Here is a group of robot videos from Boston Dynamics that have been floating around for awhile. You may have even seen some of them on CNN.

Big Dog
A pack mule robot for soldiers. It is about the size of two men carrying a small coffin but without the upper bodies. It runs off a lawnmower engine. The video is 28 meg but it is worth the download. This robot looks like it has a good attitude even if it may not know if it's coming or going. The way the legs move it looks like it is in a big hurry to get to work. They even show a guy trying to kick it over and it just continues to clomp along.

Little Dog
Your basic headless robot toy dog. This does give you a better look at the mechanics of the legs used in Big Dog.

Six legs, a long tail, walks up walls, about the size of a large rodent. If you had one of these as a pet then you would not have many visitors.
Also see here and here


Ground runner. Ingenious flop-along legs that work on loose or uneven surfaces and climb over small obstacles. It even works in water.

Boston Dynamics: The Leader in Lifelike Human Simulation

Become the Robot: Parasitic Humanoid

Parasitic Humanoid

From the mad scientists at NTT Communication Science Laboratories comes the amazing Parasitic Humanoid.
The wearable robot consists of sensors to measure the motions of the body and transducers to induce the body to move. The human provides the mechanics of the robot.
The sensors build up a history of motion for the wearer and then predict the behavior.
"Through symbiotic interaction, the internal model and the process of human sensory motor integration approximate each other asymptotically.
In essence, we are designing the nervous system."

The Parasitic Humanoid consists of over 100 input sensors for body position, eye movement, audio and visual sensors. There are sensors mounted to the fingernails that can measure the pressure applied by the finger. The computations are done on a seperate computer.

The robot controls the human through stimulators.
Oscillators in the soles of the shoes can control the walking rate.

Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) electrically stimulates the inner ear control of balance and motion.

When stimulated the GVS transducers make the human automatically turn in the desired direction. (More on GVS)

Aplication examples:
Training for sports. The user can record in detail their actions during a golf swing. They can review their swing and compare it to Tiger Woods swing for example. They can download the professional swing into the Parasitic Humanoid and symbiotically work toward the ideal.

Dual Conciousness. Visual sensors could look behind the wearer and translate the information into action without the intervention of the user. For example, if these "eyes in the back of the head" see a car coming toward you from behind, PH will automatically have you turn and walk out of the way.
"The wearer doesn't have to pay attention to any annoying verbal information in his continuing behaviors."

Share Experience. The action information from one person can be fed to another to share the exact or complimentary movements

See more here-
Parasitic Humanoid

Robot Sludge Mole

Thermo-Systems Gmbh of Germany developed a solar drying system for sewage waste sludge.
Drying the waste reduces the weight to one tenth of the original water-filled state. This dramatically reduces the problem of disposal.

The solar drying takes place in a greenhouse environment. To effectively dry, the sludge must be turned regularly to allow all the waste to be exposed to the air.

The 'Electric Mole'works 24 hours a day to ensure that no sludge remains un-turned and all the sludge gets dried evenly.

Thermo-System - Solar Drying of Sewage Sludge

Friday, March 10, 2006

Security Robot With False Credentials

Even a cursory background check of the Hitachi security robot displayed recently may show that it is not what it appears.

According to robot manufacturer Mobile Robots, the Hitachi robot is actually one of their Pioneer-DX robots which has been available for four years.

So take a lesson. Before you hire a security robot make sure you do a background check and look under the plastic bubble head.

Robots for Commercial & Research Applications


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Running UAV's From Helicopters

L-3 Communications (NYSE:LLL) announced that a Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) developed by its Communication Systems-West (CS-West) division was used to remotely command and control a Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from an Apache helicopter as part of the Hunter Standoff Killer Team (HSKT) Advanced Concept Technology Development (ACTD).

This demostration shows that unmanned robot aircraft can be controlled by and fly missions with manned aircraft.
This synergy of this new ability could allow radical changes in the way air forces are deployed.

The capabilities of manned aircraft can be extended through the use of remote flying escorts.
And, the range and capabilities of the unmanned flyers could be enhanced with nearby manned aircraft ready to move in.

BUSINESS WIRE: The Global Leader in News Distribution

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Robots Blocked My Blog

I did not post for the past two days because 'spam-prevention robots' had disabled posting to this blog.
I guess they heard I was talking about them.
Sorry, but it's going to take me a few days to catch up.

Fish Drive Robot Bowls

Another work by Ken Rinaldo called Augmented Fish Reality.
He gives control of robot fish bowls to the Siamese Fighting fish inside them. The fish can see what is going on outside their bowl and drive over to get a better look by swimming to one side of the bowl or the other.
The fish bowls have video cameras under them and a 'fish eyes' view is projected on the wall.

Ken is allowing the fish control of the robots to help in trans-species communication. The fish are given the tools to expand their ability to interact with humans.

This was shown at Ars Electronica 2004.

Ken Rinaldo, interactive installation intersecting organic and technological cultures

Autotelematic Spider Bots

Showing at AV Festival 06, an Electronic Arts festival in the UK.
Autotelematic Spider Bots is an installation by Ken Rinaldo and Matt Howard.

The spiders interact with the human observers, each other and their environment.

Ken says: “My work is related to research of living systems. I am interested in the intertwined symbiosis of all living things at all levels and scales.”

According to John Marshall's Designed Objects the spiders were a bit confused at the opening by the crowds but tey settled down after it quieted down.

Check out his pictures on flickr.

Designed Objects

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Shipbuilding robots

A top shipbuilding company has licensed a commercial, real-time embedded Linux operating system for use in three robotic manufacturing devices, including two currently in production. FSMLabs says its Korean partner, RealTimeWave, helped Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) develop the robotic shipbuilding devices, which are based on RTLinuxPro.

SHI's current RTLinux Pro-based robots include a "Spider" welder, said to autonomously guide itself over a ship's membrane wall, and a pipe alignment robot. A third "Stewart-Gough Type 6-axes parallel robot" based on the real-time, commercial Linux variant is also under development.

SHI managing director Jae-Hun Kim says, "We think there will be much future growth [in the ship automation and building automation system markets], and RTLinux is a key technology for us in this area."

Quoted from:
Real-time Linux powers shipbuilding robots

Rolling Observation Robot

Rolling security guard robots seem to be a very popular job for robots these days.
Here is Hitachi's entry into the market:
About 2-foot tall sphere with a camera that pops out of the head like a periscope. It does not need navigation markers because it generates its own map of the building and can navigate around on its own. It uses laser sensing to create the maps and avoid running into things.
The pattern recognition software allows it to compare the scene as it does its rounds and tell you if anything has changed.

Mainichi Daily


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

WowWee Robot Media Hub

From, lance Ulanoff reports that WowWee is showing off their latest robot home appliance.
The SCOTY, for Smart Companion Operating Technology, will monitor your home, play music, and just be a pal.

The immobile robot is made of lighted panels with only a moving 'head'.
SCOTY is meant to be used in combination with a pc which would run its software and do the heavy thinking - like face recognition, voice to text and turning things on and off.

According to the article, SCOTY was developed jointly with Phillips. In fact it looks very much like the earlier Phillips HDS.
Perhaps WowWee is also working with Phillips on the more expressive iCat?

The SCOTY should be available late this year for around $400.

News from PC Magazine: WowWee Unveils First Robot Media Hub

Robot Mushroom Picker

Engineers from University of Warwick's horticultural school, Warwick HRI, have designed a robot to help mushroom farmers.
The robot finds only perfectly ripe mushrooms and gently picks them with a suction cup and quick twist of the wrist.
So far, the robot is only half as fast as human pickers but it can work 24 hours a day, does not make mistakes, and does not require flogging.

Robots To Slash Farm Labour Costs


Mini Robot Soccer League

"The RoboCup CITIZEN Mini League project is a joint research effort supported by CITIZEN Co. Japan and JST ERATO Asada project. We are aimed to the development of a new RoboCup league based on the CITIZEN's new miniature robot, the Eco-Be! .

This new league is intended to cover a wide range of different fields of research by offering a flexible and versatile augmented reality environment were real and simulated artifacts interact with each other."

The battle field (futbol pitch) is projected onto a table. The postions of the little players will be monitored through a camera and fed to an off-field 'coach' computer. They will take their instructions from the coach who will yell commands to the players through infrared sensors.

Citizen will sell the robots and is continuing development of the Eco-Be! to improve their performance and add more sensors.

CITIZEN Eco-Be! League | Where simulation meets reality.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Robot Bridge Contract

March 6, 2006 (Cambridge, MA) – TIAX today announced that it has been awarded a Phase II contract by the U.S. Army to design, develop, and build a prototype of a next generation robotic military bridge for the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS). TIAX created initial designs for the bridge under a Phase I contract awarded in 2005.

Mobile bridges, or GDTs (Gap Defeating Technologies) as they are known in the military, are essential for land-based operations, but the current designs are bulky, difficult to transport, and require manual assistance during launch and retrieval.

TIAX plans to develop a design for a lightweight, compact, and fully-automated bridge that does not have to be manually launched and retrieved. The bridge will be built using lightweight materials, yet will be sturdy enough to support the weight of tanks and weaponry, carrying at least 30 tons across gaps that span more than 14 meters.

TIAX Awarded Contract to Build Scale Model of Robotic Military Bridge

Sunday, March 05, 2006

More Obedient Luggage

Will the suitcase be man's next best friend?

Maybe. Here is another obedient luggage concept. Instead of radio contact, this biddable case will recognize the owner's voice from up to 450 meters away.

The Fidobag concept from Samsung-Italia will bark and follow the master's voice. Also if the bag is molested by a stranger it will furiously bark at 197 decibels.

I'm beginning to picture airport baggage claim areas with bags jumping off the carousel and scampering around like a bunch of kids just let out of school, looking for their parents.
Rich people, of course, would bring a big pack of cases that would push their way through the crowd like they owned the place. Some stupid luggage in the corner banging against the wall. Prissy luggage avoiding dirty spots on the floor. Shy luggage. Arrogant luggage.

Thanks to an anonomous comment for the tip on FidoBag.

In Italian FidoBag

Translated to English