Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Robots Label Australian Cars With Microdots

How do you mark every car in the country with permanent traceable microdot identifiers?
You train robots to do the job, of course.

Datadot Technology
DDT microdot labels have been used on cars for a few years. They are microdots engraved with the car VIN and painted invisibly on the car. They can be found with a UV light then read with a magnifier.
Until now the datadots have added $150 to the cost of the vehicle because they take up to 7 minutes to apply by hand during the assembly of the vehicle.

But they are about to get much cheaper. With a $1.5 million AusIndustry grant and another $500,000 from National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, Datadot will install robots in automaker production lines to paint the dots for less than $20 in under 40 seconds.

Datadot also plans to get in on the business in New Zealand where they are about to require every car sold, new or used, up to 15 years old, to be marked with microdots.

Next step? They will probably let robots roam the streets to read the dots and keep track of the cars.

Automotive editorial - News

Robot Warehouse Maker, Kiva Systems, Gets Money for Expansion

Instead of runners in a warehouse collecting parts from shelves, Kiva Systems is developing the idea of the warehouse shelves delivering the parts to the workers.

According to Kiva Systems founder Mick Mountz, “The system moves inventory around a warehouse like computers move data around in memory. This frees up logistics professionals to focus on the business of filling orders and not managing locations and searching for products.”

Like a giant vending machine or living hive, the robot warehouse brings the right product to the right station at the right time.

According to Forbes, Kiva Systems has run large scale pilot runs with Staples and shown 200% improvement in warehouse efficiency. Staples is continuing to convert warehouses into Kiva Systems apiaries.

Bain Capital Ventures has recently led a group of investors to invest another $10 million in Kiva Systems to allow them to continue to expand.

Kiva Systems collects $10M in third round - Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology:

Combined 6 axis and Linear Robot

Clinton Township, Michigan — KUKA Robotics Corporation introduced the new KUKA Jet robot, a 6 axis robot mounted on a linear unit.

The 6 axis robot is mounted either upside down or sideways on the linear rail and is available in four configurations with different reaches and maximum payloads from 30 to 60 kg.

The combination of linear motion and 6-axis handling will allow the robot arms to work on multiple work-stations with an easy traverse between them. Or it can be used to help maneuver into hard to reach work-stations.

While this is not a robot that walks around the factory, it is another step in that direction.

KUKA Industrial Robots - KUKA Robotics introduces combined 6 axis and linear robot

China and Italy Jointly Develop Moon Robots

People's Daily Online
Italian and Chinese scientists have jointly invented a prototype robotics system for Moon exploration, professor Carlo Ghezzi of the Polytechnic University of Milan (PUM) told a visiting Chinese journalist delegation in Milan.

"The prototype robots are under control test," Ding Xilun, a Chinese professor who heads the Space Robots Laboratory of the Beijing University of Aerospace and Aeronautics, confirmed to Xinhua in a telephone interview on Sunday.

The project was initiated in 2004 with Alberto Rovetta, director of the Robot Lab of PUM's Mechanic Department.

The Novel Robotic System for Space Exploration, or "NOROS-1" for short, involves a robot family with one host robot and four assistants.

Upon the project's completion in 2008, these robots, each measuring 40 to 80 cm in diameters and weighing 12 to 30 kilograms, would be equipped with a wheel/leg locomotion system which allow them to move as they want and respond to the land situation on the Moon.

These intelligent robots would cooperate with each other like human beings and remain unaffected by the malfunction of other robots.

"Once the products are put to use, there will be an automatic robotic system on the Moon to manage and improve satellite communication. They can also be used to explore the environment of the Moon and collect soil samples on the Moon,"

People's Daily Online -- China, Italy jointly invent prototype robotics system for moon exploration

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gecko-footed Robot Walks Up Glass

Engineers at Stanford University have copied the action of Gecko feet to make a robot that can walk up smooth surfaces - even glass.
The robot, StickyBot, uses anisotropic compliant adhesion to attach itself to surfaces.
Just like the toes of a Gecko, there are very fine hairs that stick to the surface from van der Waals force at the molecular-sized tip of the hairs.
In this design they stick in one direction then easily peel away in the opposite direction.
The StickyBoty has wide flat feet to allow for large surface to spread the load.

Movie of StickyBot in action
New Scientist Tech - Technology - Gecko-like robot scampers up the wall

Asimo Researches Telepathic Control

Honda Research Institute Japan showed a video in Tokyo demonstrating new mind control technology for robots.
Their research, along with ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, uses MRI images of a brain to move the fingers on a robotic hand.

A person in the MRI machine made a fist, spread his fingers and then made a V-sign and the robot hand under his control made precisely the same movements.
[This body-less hand would be perfect for rock-paper-scissors using only mind control!]

Honda envisions the brain-reading MRI can be shrunken down to the size of a baseball cap. Then the Brain Machine Interface would allow Asimo to read your thoughts and obey your every wish.

Researches want to make the brain wave receiver user friendly and avoid having to surgically attach wires to the person's brain.

Their research goals include:
"To understand Brain Machine Interface (BMI), we will focus on the non-invasive measurement and decoding of natural brain activities that accompanies human states such as recognition, emotion, intention and motion. The anticipated results will provide fundamental novel man-machine communication technologies and novel algorithms for brain-like computing. "

Asimo watched the demonstration video silently. He was later seen puzzling over how to make that V shape with his fingers.

He liked the idea of communicating telepathically with humans and is looking forward to listening to human thoughts but hoped that the interface would be full duplex. He would like to be able to train the humans properly.

The China Post

Asimo Parties Vegas

Asimo Rehab "Upgrade"

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Vstone robots, sponsor of Robocup champs Team Osaka, has introduced their latest robot for hobbyists. The Robovie-i is a small and relatively inexpensive robot for experimenters. The -i in the name stands for 'introduction' to the exciting world of robots.

After you assemble the robot it basically just walks and dances.
It comes with 'RobovieMaker' software to edit the movements. The file is then downloaded to the little robot.

Once you master training your Robovie-i to walk you can step up to other Robovie humanoid robots.

You can also get an optional remote control.

They are taking reservations now for delivery beginning in July.
Cost 29400 Yen (US $262).
The remote control will be available for 31500 Yen (US $280)
Movie here.

ヴイストン株式会社 Vstone Co.,Ltd.

Vstone Engrish page

Robot Detective Surrounded By Mystery

The robot Arturito gained noteriety and controversy last year for its discovery of long lost treasure buried on "Treasure Island," the island that inspired the book Robinson Crusoe. The gold bars were identified by the robot at a depth of 15 meters below the surface of the ground.

The discovery started a brouhaha over who was the rightful owner of the treasure. The Chilean government claimed ownership. The robot and his company, called Wagner Technologies, offered to donate more than half the proceeds to charity instead. They have been in a stalemate ever since. It is unclear whether anyone has seen the actual treasure.

Even before the discovery Arturito was famous in Chilean crime fighting circles. The robot by designed by inventor Manuel Salinas to locate abandonded land mines but also found service for his 'Geo-Radar' to locate buried weapons and explosives for Chilean police.

Arturito now is moving into prospecting by identifying underground copper, oil and water resources. Scientists at Colombia's Universidad Tecnológico Metropolitano (UTEM) found the robot to be, "98 percent effective in finding and mapping underground copper deposits at depths of up to 600 feet (183 meters)."

Unfortunately others are not convinced. Leopoldo Soto, President of the Chilean Physics Society is very doubtful.
"If the apparatus does what they say," Soto told Chilean magazine Ercilla, "it would be truly stunning … given that with what we know today of physics, it is not possible in any part of the world."

"In other words, they would have had to discover a new physics."

Another physicist, Mario Favre, a professor at Catholic University in Santiago, is not so polite:
"What the owners of the machine say is simply delirious," Favre said.

The inventor stubbornly is keeping the exact method of detection a secret and the robot is not talking either.

So, while Arturito travels the country solving mysteries of hidden treasure and uncovering new sources of underground deposits, the mystery surrounding his wonderous abilities grows.

Mystery Robot Solves Crimes, Finds Mines in Chile

Monday, May 22, 2006

Robot Baby Seal Paro to Star in Own Movie

A Danish film director, Phie Ambo, has been filming the latest project for everyone's favorite baby seal, Paro.

The film entitled "Mechanical Love" will star the loveable robot in touching scenes with Alzheimer's patients and other feeble humans at nursing homes.

Paro spent 6 months soothing visitors to the 2005 World Exposition held in Aichi and reputedly has been inducted into Guiness Book of World Records as the most adorable robot. He is now trying to reach an even wider audience with his irresistable charm.

"The 57-centimeter-tall, 2.7-kilogram furry seal robot can express emotions and react sensitively to humans by cooing, moving delicately and opening and closing its eyes. It looks happy when patted on the head and gets angry when ignored."
But the big question on everyone's mind is, "Can he act?"

More details of the film will be revealed at a press conference on May 30 at the conference of the International Federation on Ageing. Paro will also be at the conference promoting the film.

The world awaits to see of Paro will be our next robot movie star.

Danish director shooting documentary on Japanese therapeutic robot

Paro at RoboNexus

Paro visits Hospitals

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Factory Robots Monitor Their Own Health

How are you feeling this morning robot?

I'm okay but I could use a squirt of lubricant in my knuckle joint.

Mitsubishi Electric's latest generation of robots knows how it feels and will beg for service only when the time is right.
"The system calculates the next maintenance date very precisely on the basis of nearly 200 individual parameters, such as operating time, handling payload weight and the acceleration rates of the gripper arm.
The benefits are obvious: unnecessary and expensive down time is avoided, and the staff can plan the service work well in advance so that it does not conflict with normal operations."

It also has crash detection and joint strain limits to immediately stop if it gets into trouble.

According to this article, the self-aware robot arm has a life of 20,000 hours or, assuming 24 hours a day 365 days of the year, 2.3 years of life. For a single-shift workday the robot will live for 7 years.

That means to get robot years from human years you would multiply by 33 for 24-hour worked or by 11 for a day-shift bot.

Robot avoids crashes and calls for service: News from Mitsubishi Electric Automation Systems

Monkeys Lose Space Jobs to Robots


"Lemur," short for the Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot, was originally conceived to help maintain future spacecraft and space stations. It weighs in at just 26 pounds (12 kilograms) and is small enough to hitch a ride on the space shuttle or NASA's planned crew exploration vehicle.

"Lemur could be an astronaut's pet monkey," says JPL engineer Brett Kennedy, principal investigator for the robotic project. "It can perform tasks that are too small for astronauts to do easily. It's built to get into the nooks and crannies of a structure."

To make Lemur flexible and versatile, Kennedy and his team combined the body styles and abilities of an octopus, a crab and a primate into a six-limbed robot with Swiss army knife tendencies. Attachable tools fit onto each limb and perform a variety of functions. Lemur can support itself evenly on three legs while two other limbs are freed up to work. And the sixth limb? "It's a bonus, and besides, five limbs would look funny," Kennedy says.

Since there's no gravity in space, Lemur could work upside down, as long as one limb is anchored. Astronauts could instruct Lemur to perform simple fixes inside or outside a spacecraft, eliminating the need for a human spacewalk.

n JPL test labs, Lemur has already learned some impressive tricks. For example, one limb has fastened a screw into a structure, with another limb shining a flashlight on the operation. In one experiment, engineers attached an ink pen to one of Lemur's limbs and developed a set of computer programs to teach the robot how to write its name.

With all its gadgetry and talents, Lemur might have a bright future not only as an assistant astronaut, but also as a Martian rock climber. Lemur could scamper up much steeper hills and cliffs than the Spirit and Opportunity rovers that are currently wheeling around on Mars. "We built Lemur with limbs so it can use both arms and legs just as a biological primate would," Kennedy said.

JPL.NASA.GOV: Feature Stories

Guidelines for Robot Conduct to be Written

Japan's industry ministry plans to compile safety guidelines for next-generation robots that will be providing services in areas like nursing, security and cleaning, ministry officials said Saturday.

The guidelines will require manufacturers to install enough sensors to minimize the risk of the robots running into people and use soft and light materials so they do not cause harm if they do so, the officials said.

They will also be required to install emergency shut-off buttons, they said.

Calls have been mounting for safety guidelines on the next-generation robots as they may be used for various purposes because of possible labor shortage due to Japan's sharp population decline.

While safety guidelines are set under the Occupation Health and Safety Law for the current generation of robots, which are typically used on factory production lines, there is the opinion that different guidelines are necessary for the advanced models.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to complete the guidelines by the end of the year, the officials said.

The ministry will also consider establishing an independent organization to conduct safety tests on robots and legal systems to provide insurance in case of accidents.

Safety guidelines to be set for next-generation robots

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Robot Performs Surgery While Doctors Attend Conference

From UPI and ANSA.it

MILAN, Italy, May 18 -- For the first time, a robot surgeon in Italy has carried out a long-distance heart operation by itself.

"This operation has enabled us to cross a new frontier," said Carlo Pappone, who initiated and monitored the surgery on a PC in Boston, ANSA reported. Pappone is head of Arrhythmia and Cardiac Electrophysiology at Milan's San Raffaele University.

The 50-minute surgery, which took place in a Milan hospital, was carried out on a 34-year-old patient suffering from atrial fibrillation. Dozens of heart specialists attending an international congress on arrhythmia in Boston also watched.

Pappone has used the robot surgeon in at least 40 operations.

"It has learned to do the job thanks to experience gathered from operations on 10,000 patients," Pappone said, pointing out that the robot carries the expertise of several human surgeons used to boost its software.

The new robot will be available for sale in late 2006.

United Press International - NewsTrack - Robot carries out operation by itself

ANSA.it in English

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

India PM Promises Robot Army

New Delhi, May 14:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country would soon embark upon production of cutting edge technology weapons in sensors, robotics, propulsion systems, stealth and fighting wars through use of remote technology.

The Prime Minister said such futuristic weapons systems were also needed to contend with trans-national actors and unconventional forces which were emerging as threats to the international order.

"DRDO aims to create new range of products and technologies. These include cutting technologies in propulsion systems, camouflage and stealth technologies, sensors and micro-electromagnetic systems, as well as precision guided munitions, robotics and unmanned vehicle technologies," Singh said after inaugurating the Defence Research and Development Organisation`s (DRDO) new building adjacent to South Block.

Emphasising that DRDO had to bring commercial value to the laboratory both directly and indirectly, Singh suggested to defence scientists that weapons production should also have commercial spinoffs, which would generate profits to be recycled into more effective research.

"We must link industry, consumers and even our defence industry in a virtuous circle which benefits all players", the Prime Minister said.

High tech weapons development to start a 'virtuous circle which benefits all'? Hmmmm. Could there be some unintended consequences of this plan?

Zee News - India to embark upon robotics, remote tech weapons: PM

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nigeria Buying Robot Navy to Protect Coast

Nigeria is developing a national coastal defence based mainly on unmanned platforms.

Under a US $260 million contract signed in March, Israeli Aeronautics Defense Systems will design and build the naval array, providing manned and unmanned naval and aerial systems, coastal radars and command-and-control centres.
This structure will cover all of Nigeria's 853 km coastline and will be designed to protect its territorial waters and the offshore oil platforms in the Niger River delta.

The array will be based on Aeronautics' Aerostar tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and the Seastar unmanned surface vehicle (USV). Three Aerostar systems will be provided, each including three to six platforms, and three Seastar systems, including several USVs.

Both systems are controlled through Aeronautics' Unmanned Multi-Application System terminal and software.

The 11 m-long Seastar USV provides a mission range of 350 n miles and can carry payloads up to 2,500 kg. It could be equipped with day/night sensors, electronic surveillance measures, electronic intelligence/communications sensors, sonar and a stabilised gun system.

For Aeronautics, the new contract marks substantial growth. "It is one of the largest projects in the world in the area of unmanned systems," a spokesperson for Aeronautics told Jane's.

Aeronautics Press Releases

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WiMo. Mobile Phone Goes Mobile

WiMo uses a Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone as the central "brain" of the robot.
This Smartphone sits directly ontop. The Smartphone communicates to a microcontroller via Bluetooth and also communicates with a Pocket PC (and soon to be desktop pc instead) via WiFi.
The Pocket PC can be used to remotely control WiMo.

WiMo is learning to make conversation and respond to voice commands via some new prototype APIs in Voice Command. These APIs are not available yet, but we are looking to make them available in the future. WiMo can respond to his name, tell jokes if asked, and even dance!

Assembly instructions will be posted to this link soon:
Windows Mobile Team Blog : Hi! My name is WiMo. I'm ready to play!

Appliance with Attitude

You think your alarm clock has a difficult user interface? Put yourself in its place.
Imagine yourself as a rational home appliance. Try to express yourself to these stinky humans running around. They seem to communicate by rolling their eyes and contorting their faces. It would be hopeless to try to learn a language that complex.

Here comes iCat. This robot research platform from Philips Research Technologies puts a cute plastic face on your household machines.

The little yellow friend will not only add voice and voice recognition but also an expressive face to your household interface.

What is driving this desire to talk to machines?
iCat's 'father', civil engineer Dr Albert van Breemen, has a simple answer:

"Because we humans like it. We use facial expressions in everyday communication, and when a speaking robot does the same thing, we very quickly lose our reserve and start treating it as a pet, or even a person. Since the whole point of iCat is to make people use technology in a spontaneous, and even instinctive fashion, it just had to have facial expression."

Now instead of worrying that your household machines might break down, you may have to worry about offending them and making them cry.

Check out this link to an iCat video: Playing tic-tac-toe.

Earlier post
What's for dinner?
Another interface robot, SCOTY.

RNW: iCat, the empathetic robot

UK Businesses Not Hiring Robots

A survey of robot sales in the UK produced by British Automation and Robot Association (BARA), based at the University of Warwick, has revealed UK small businesses are failing to exploit a significant fall in price of industrial robots at a time when US figures are showing record sales of robots to US small businesses.

The BARA/University of Warwick survey shows a continuing trend for robot prices to fall.
Despite this, robot sales in the UK in 2005 were static with very few sales to small companies. By contrast, data collected in the US is showing record robot sales with an overall 30 per cent growth in robot sales and in particular major growth in sales to small businesses.
Dr Ken Young, chairman of BARA, said, “It seems strange to me that our culture drives us to work hard rather than to adopt technologies that allow us to work smart."

Quoted from:
The Engineer Online -

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chinese Robots: An Artist and an Expressionist

Quoted from China Economic Net:

Two newest robots to mimic humans developed by the Institute of Automation of the Chinese China's Academy of Sciences faced the public in the afternoon of May 9th at the foundation laying ceremony of the China Science & Technology Museum's new facility at Beijing's Olympic Park.

These two versions of robots were individually China's first robot, called Tong Tong, that can mimic human expressions and China's maiden robot called Bei Qi that can draw like humans. The former can show expressions through its eyes, using winks and blinks and the latter can draw on the spot. Both represent the current highest level of achievement of China's robotic research aiming to mimic humans.

Research analysts said that these two types of robots were both first of its kind to be created in China and exhibit some unique characteristics in certain critical technological areas. They can be used extensively in arenas such as science exhibition halls, malls and toyland and have very expansive market prospects.

Chinese robots can "wink" and "draw"

Relationship Robot Goes Virtual

NEC's research robot PaPeRo has the new ability to slide online and become virtual. The table-top friend can upload himself to your PDA and become 'PaPeRo CG'. You can interact with the CG robot in the same way you would with the physical model then download the memory back into the plastic butler when you get home.

PaPeRo is a robot designed to interact with people. It has face and voice recognition and changes personality depending on conditions. It is also allowed to explore on its own - both physically and online - when left alone.

NEC has been using the PaPeRo platform for various ways of improving interface with humans. One version has been outfitted with special sensors in the hand to identify food to help monitor your diet.

NEC has PaPeRo training
with a popular Japanese comedian, Zenjiro, in order to improve its ability to communicate with humans.

It is of course most widely known for its resemblance to the rude little brats on South Park.

NEC's Companion Robot Gets A Virtual Buddy

Horse Robot Teaches Riding

By combining a mechanical horse with simulation software Racewood Simulators and Equitech Software have come up with a pony that never gets tired.

Although it has no legs, it still will bounce you along and obey your instructions.

From Racewood:
This is the first time a simulator has automatically changed from a trot to a canter by kick of the leg, just like the 'real' horse it goes faster with applied pressure from the heels, the first kick will make the horse walk a second a trot and kick again to get the cantering action. It steadies or stops with a pull on the reins.

The machine also judges your riding skills and keeps track of your progress.
And you don't have to clean up after it.

Riding schools embrace horse robot - Horse&Hound online

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Robot As Artist

The latest artist robot from Leonel Moura - A New Kind of Art - is RAP, Robotic Action Painter.

From the web page:

RAP is a new generation of painting robots designed for Museum or long exhibition displays. It is completely autonomous and need very little assistance and maintenance.
RAP creates it's own paintings based on an artificial intelligence algorithm, it decides when the work is ready and signs in the right bottom corner with its distinctive signature.

The algorithm combines initial randomness, positive feedback and a positive/negative increment of 'color as pheromone' mechanism based on a grid of nine RGB sensors.
Also the 'sense of rightness' - to determine when the painting is ready - is achieved not by any linear method, time or sum, but through a kind of pattern recognition system.

via we make money not art: Robotic Action Painter

Other Painter Robots:
Students Create Robot Artists

LEGO Robot Artist Shares Studio

Talon Gets Elephant Trunk

NewScientist.com news service
David Hambling

Most robots rely on mechanical gripping jaws that have difficulty grabbing large or irregularly shaped objects. Replacing these with tentacle-like manipulators could make robots more nimble and flexible.

The tentacle-like manipulators, known as "Octarms", resemble an octopus's limb or an elephant's trunk. They were developed through a project called OCTOR (sOft robotiC manipulaTORs), which involves several US universities and is funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Just like a real tentacle, an Octarm simply wraps itself around an object in order to manoeuvre it.

Each Octarm is powered by compressed air and has surface pressure sensors, positional sensors and a camera mounted at its tip.

The Octarms developed so far are each around a metre long, although the design could easily be scaled up or down, the researchers say. Only one has been attached to a robot at a time, but the researchers say several could work together in future.

Check out OCTOR videos here

New Scientist Tech - Breaking News - Robotic tentacles get to grips with tricky objects

Company Fined for Robot Attack

An auto parts manufacturer based near Toronto, Canada was fined $150,000 May 4 for two violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in a serious head injury to an employee.

On Jan. 20, 2005, a worker was repairing a robotic machine when the machine's robotic arm suddenly activated and struck the worker in the head.

The worker suffered a fractured skull.

Following a trial, the company was found guilty of:

Failing to lock out the robotic machine to prevent it from starting, as required by Section 76 of the Regulations for Industrial Establishments. This was contrary to Section 25(1)(c) of the act; and

Failing to provide the injured worker with information, instruction and supervision on lockout procedures to protect the worker's health and safety. This was contrary to Section 25(2)(a) of the act.

No word on what has become of the violent robot.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Experts Fear Flying Terrorist Robots

Interesting summary in DefenseTech.org, Terrorists' Unmanned Air Force

We are all at risk of attack from terroists by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's). The technology is becoming cheap and availble to anyone.
The availability of remote control or remote targeting make them well suited for a surprise attack.
They can be made small and fly close to the ground so that they are not detected by radar.

From the article:
Eugene Miasnikov of the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT, calls the UAV a suicide bomber on steroids, basically. Unlike a suicide bomber, a drone can easily penetrate security and threaten otherwise safe areas (eg the Green Zone) or reach crowded public places like sports stadiums. Dense crowds would lead to large numbers of casualties from fragmentation bombs, and an attack by multiple UAVs could cause panic and further injuries in the crowd. And don't even get us started about chemical, biological or ‘dirty bomb’ radioactive payloads.

Defense Tech: Terrorists' Unmanned Air Force


Remote Controlled Bulldozer Development

LAS VEGAS, May 4, 2006 -- InRob Tech Ltd. (OTC BB:IRBL.OB - News) announced that it expects a joint venture to be signed in the near future with a division of Israel Aviation Industries (IAI) and Caterpillar (Israel).

InRob will use its expertise and experience to develop a dedicated remote control system to adapt Caterpillar's multi-terrain loader to military uses.

Mr. Ben Tsur Joseph, CEO of InRob Tech. stated `` InRob's expertise and experience contribute an important layer of controllability to these multi-terrain machines. The integration of InRob's military-qualified remote control systems paves the way for a range of military uses for this platform worldwide. Our joint venture is uniquely positioned to make the most of the significant global potential of a reliable, rugged remote-controlled multi-terrain loader.''

InRob Tech is already selling add-ons to convert Hummers to remote control.

InRob Tech Ltd. to Enter Joint Venture With Israel Aviation Industries -- IAI -- and Caterpillar Israel: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Android Eve Makes Her Debut

The Korean Institute for Industrial Technology (KITECH) has introduced a new android to the world. Eve R-1 came out for Children's Day at Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Energy.

Eve is a human look-alike with full movement in the face and upper body. Her skin is made of a soft silicone gel and feels similar to human skin.
She can see through her eyes so that she looks directly at a person in conversation. She undestands 400 words and the motors in her face can feign happiness, anger, sadness and delight.

The R-1 model can articulate only the upper body and always sits. The R-2 model, expected to be complete later this year, will have a wider range of expression and will be able to sit or stand.

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

iRobot Corporation Financials

BURLINGTON, Mass., May 2, 2006 – iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT) today announced its financial results for the first fiscal quarter ended April 1, 2006.

First-Quarter 2006 Highlights Include:

* Revenues for the first quarter of 2006 grew 123 percent to $38.2 million, compared with $17.1 million for the same quarter one year ago.
* Gross profit for the first quarter grew 193 percent to $12.2 million (31.9 percent of sales), compared with $4.2 million (24.3 percent of sales) in the first quarter of 2005. This growth in gross profit as a percentage of sales represents an improvement of 7.6 percentage points in Q1 of fiscal 2006 when compared to Q1 of fiscal 2005.
* Net loss in the first quarter of 2006 was $2.9 million, or $0.12 per share, compared with a net loss in the first quarter of 2005 of $4.1 million, or $0.42 per share.

iRobot is the maker of the household flooor cleaning robots Roomba and Scooba and of the military Packbot.

Their stock, which was released in an IPO in December 2005, has been hammered lately due mainly to deep discounting of the newer wet-wash robot Scooba and fears of poor sales for the units. CEO Colin Angle reported in a conference call yesterday that the price discounting was started by one particular retailer who will be cut off from future deliveries.

For a complete analysis of iRobot's quarterly results check out the blog iRobot Stock News.

iRobot Corporation: Press Release