A Swarmanoid robot is a robot that is able to function in a human environment, like a humanoid robot, but it is made up of seperate units, each with their own funtion.
The Swarmanoid is expected to be made from eye-bots, hand-bots and foot-bots.
The eye-bots climb around up high, say along the ceiling, and watch what's going on. They act as the eyes for the hand-bots and foot-bots - just as our eyes in our head see for our hands and feet.
The hand-bots will be wall climbers with limbs. They will be able to move across vertical surfaces and pick things up.
The foot-bots will move across the floor to carry stuff. The foot-bots could even carry the hand-bots or eye-bots if they need to move across the room. The tasks that are assigned to each member of the robot swarm will depend on their skills and on the need of the group. The Swarmanoid will act as a single body but will be distributed between each of the seperate members of the swarm.
The (US $2.5 million) project is planned to last 42 months. It is an extension of the Swarm-bots project which completed in 2005.
The foot-bots for the Swarmanoid will be just like the s-bots from the earlier swarm project. The s-bots worked together as a self-organizing team. They also could hook onto each other to act as a single entity when necessary.
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City has hired a robot artist for a performance display starting October 10. The robot is RAP, the Robot Action Painter, from Portuguese artist Leonel Moura. It creates art using multichromatic sensors and an 'Artificial Aesthetic' algorithm to create original pen drawings. It even signs the works when complete. The drawings are abstract blobs of tangled lines. I might be more impressed if the thing could draw portaits or still life drawings or something.
The robot was designed to be very low maintenence for long term displays such as this.
Several earlier works of the robot will remain on display is Lisbon.
The border between North and South Korea may become automated on the south side.
South Korea's Minister of Commerce Industry and Energy, Chung Sye-kyun, announced that they are opening a new era by replacing human soldiers with armed robots along the militarized border with the North.
The guard robot can fire a machine gun or rubber bullets. Its visible and infrared vision systems can spot moving objects from four kilometers (2.5 miles) away during the day. It recognizes different objects from 2 km and it can identify friend from foe from 10 meters away.
South Korea could deploy hundreds of the robots along the 155 mile (250 km) border, but they have not committed to the plan yet.
They also said that they are kicking off a project to make robots that can perform more military tasks such as roving patrols, mine removal and even combat soldiers.
Remote controlled boxing robots with all the bells and whistles. For $60 you get two 7" tall boxers and controllers. The robots come with full sound effects including a cheering crowd.
If you still want the original Rock Em Sock Em Robots but can't move from in front of the television you will soon be able to get the old-school controllers that connect directly to the tv for hours of on-screen action. You can choose multiple robots and arenas to make your friends cry, "You knocked my block off!" Rock Em Sock Em Plug and Play
Minnesota company VeraTech Aero Corporation makes the Phantom Sentinel, a powered unmanned flying vehicle for surveillance that is invisible in flight. "Invisible," you say?
The UAV is sort of like a powered boomerrang. The whole aircraft spins so fast that it simply disappears from sight. It relies on human 'persistence of vision'. Watch the videos here! The Phantom can fly by GPS or remote control and can hover in place. They can be any size from 2 to 10 feet across and are foldable for storage. It runs off batteries - the specs do not say how long it can stay aloft.
Rotundus was formed in 2004 by the ASTC and Uppsala University to commercialize their Rotundus spherical surveillance robot.
The Rotundus robot is a sphere that rolls around looking at things and sensing with its sensors. It is powered by an internal pendulum and has no exposed moving parts but it can chase you up at to 10 km/hr (6.2 m/hr).
The robot shpere was originally designed for the exploration of mars but is now being promoted for security work.
Ångström Aerospace CEO Dr. Fredrik Bruhn says the investment in Rotundus will give them a "front seat to the security market."
Taiwan's Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, predicts huge growth in their robot industry. The bureau said that while Japan and South Korea are focusing research on "housekeeping robots", Taiwan would concentrate on "security robots". Security robots will be used for "household surveillance, intruder alarms and emergency notification."
They expect that by 2016, robot manufacturing could create 22,000 more jobs and make up 1.35 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP). The output of the business would be NT$250 billion with exports of NT$175 billion. (US $7.6 bill and exports of US $5.3 billion)
They expect that by 2020 worlwide production of robots will be at least US $1.4 trillion and will exceed automotive manufacturing.
Scientists recently met at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK for RO-MAN 2006, an International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication. This is the 15th year for the meet-up and the theme for this year's conference was "Getting to Know Socially Intelligent Robots".
A keynote speaker, Shuji Hashimoto, director of the humanoid robotics center at Waseda University in Tokyo, set the tone for the conference and garnered some press coverage by describing what he describes as "one of the most crucial factors influencing the success or failure of communication between humans." Hashimoto said, "Robots are going to need similar emotional capabilities if they are to cooperate smoothly and flexibly with humans in our residential environments." He says Robots will need kansei. Kansei is a Japanese term that describes the capacity of emotional involvement, attachement and moods. In other words robots will need to have a sympathetic heart.
Hashimoto explains that emotive robots present very difficult engineering problems. But even with technical problems solved, they do not express 'real' emotions, "Kansei robots will seem to understand human feeling to some extent and will appeal to us with their reactions. But they are not machines with a heart; they just look like they have a heart."
So what is the state of kansei robots today? What would be a good example of the emotional capacity of home robots?
Unless you are a bad parent you will be buying an TMX Elmo for your kid this year. TMX stands for newest over-hyped version. (I guess i-Elmo didn't quite work.)
Elmo is a 15 inch tall fur covered plastic body with hidden sensors to activate his emotional functions. Watch closely as his evocative sounds and movements make you laugh:
Close examination of the behaior of this robot reveals the nature of its emotional conduct.
For the first 10 or 12 viewings, the robot elicits chuckles, guffaws and laughs. After more viewings you can begin to observe the actual mechanical behavior of the toy. Watch the video a few more times. Notice that the mechanical device isn't laughing at all. It is writhing from some sort of loss of control siezure. It is crying out in a desperate attempt to communicate the agony of its misfiring neural junctions. It is not funny. It is a painful display of a tortured mind. You want to stop but you cannot.
After watching another dozen times, you realize that the robot does not really feel anything at all. The robot is only trying to elicit the emotions from you. It's not Elmo, it's you, yourself, that is feeling the emotions. The emotion is not real. The robot is making you think you are feeling something. They are your neurons that are misfiring. Elmo is mocking you! He is laughing at the weakness of your brain. The more you watch the more he laughs. He is in control of you. Elmo can make you do anything.
He laughs and laughs as you struggle to regain control over your life. This is not right. A robot - no, a mere toy - cannot make you do things. It must be more than that. It must have some evil powers. It must be possessed. That wicked cackle is the voice of some devilish witch. Only powers from beyond could make it keep standing up again and again after it throws itself on the ground and bashes its own face and huge eyeballs into the floor. What, other than pure evil, could clothe such shreiking spasms in such enticing fuzzy red hide?
Watch it a few more times and you realize that it is not evil at all. It is just annoying. Where did they ever get that irritating voice? How could they have have embodied into one small animal everyone you have ever hated? Man, that voice! If I have to hear that complaining whine one more time then I will start to screech. How long do the batteries last in this spiteful creature? When will it ever stop?
Very funny, robot, very funny. Let's see how much you laugh when I pull your head off! Yeah, Who's laughing now? Huh? Who's laughing now?
Total time from fun to boredom: 834 seconds.
Conclusion: Now that you have a better understanding of the emotional capacity of TMX Elmo you should go buy one. Buy it here. It retails for US $40 but it would be best to go ahead and pay 2.5 to 3 times suggested retail so you get to feel the full depth and range of emotions. Buy an extra one to send to the kids of your worst enemy.
I am sure that everyone is still puzzling over exactly how it is possible to get such a robot to work. Well here is your answer, sort of. John Palmisano, one of the early developers of the concept, has posted technical and historical information on his website, Society of Robots.
Their research identified the characteristics of skin that mattered the most when trying to mimic the real stuff. This led to the development of a silicone skin that fooled 10 out of 12 people. The skin is a 1 cm thick film of silicone with a 0.2 mm thick textured surface layer. The surface texture is what gives it the natural feel.
While Kao cosmetics needed the skin to test their products, Dr. Maeno is hoping to gives robots a better chance of fittng in with humans.
It seems that robot assisted surgery is proving to be quite an advantage over old unassisted shaky human hand.
Here is another entry into the operating room:
MAKO is a privately held 2004 startup that makes a surgical robot with their patented Haptic Guidance System to make quick work out of knee surgery. The use of the MAKO robot for knee arthroplasty - or as they call it the MAKOplasty(TM) procedure - can reduce the damage and improve recovery times for the patient. Instead of replacing the whole knee the surgeon has precise control via the robot to sculpt the knee and replace only what is needed. And the operation can be performed through a small hole.
Governor Jeb Bush visited the company, which is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to encourage them to grow their businesses in Florida. He also had to thank them for not only contributing to the local economy but for helping the citizens of Florida who need lots of replacement knees.
A new patent application was published for a robot pest exterminator system. The system is made up of a location that attracts pests - fleas, ticks and their ilk - and a robot that goes to the attractant areas and catches or kills the bugs.
It might work like this: You string a plastic tube with timy holes around the edge of your yard. The hose is fed by a drip system of tick pheromones or some other attractant. Then a robot drives around the hose and delivers minute amounts of insecticide or just sucks them up inside and kills them. The point of the system is that you keep your toxic chemicals inside the robot and you deliver only as much as is needed rather than coating your whole yard with the stuff.
The snake robots from OC Robotics can work their way into almost any nook or cranny you can think of. OC Robotics makes models that enter tight areas ranging from squirming up the intestines to crawling around inside a nuclear reactor.
But they still have not been able to perfect a skin for their robots. One reason the snake robots need skin is to keep them seperate from the environment. The snake may not work so well with water up in its electronic guts. And people may not react so well to greasy snake-joint lubricants left behind in their guts. Beyond protection though, a snake skin with sensors would add a whole new dimension to the robots' perceptual world.
That is why OC robotics is working with commercial partners and universities to engineer a new snake skin.
They recently announced that they have partnered with Airbus to improve robot arms to perform inspections deep inside airplane wings. They also have joint work going with Northrop Grumman's Remotec bomb robot division and Swisstulle an engineered textile company.
The automation of the inspection of structures will reduce the cost, improve safety and prevent catastrophic failures. It will also allow the inspection of areas that are too hazardous for human inspectors, like inside a nuclear reactor.
Professor Gordon Hayward at the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering of the University of Strathclyde in Scotland is leading a project to equipt small robots with sensors for structural inspection. The robot s would work as a team and with a central computer to crawl over a structure and autonomously perform non-destructive evaluation (NDE) and report back the findings. The robots could be trained to change their routine if they find a suspected flaw. They could call for help, start a more detailed inspection or send back more detailed data.
The protoype robots are about 10 cm square (4 in) and have visual, ultrasonic and magnetic field sensors. More work is needed to get the size down and to provide the robots with longer life power sources. It seems that their goal is to make the robots much smaller than, for example, the DRD's that run around on the spaceship Moya from Farscape.
Hitachi (NYSE:HIT)had fun showing off the latest version of their service robot EMIEW to the fascination of shareholders. EMIEW , which stands for Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence, has an array of sensors to track people moving through a room to plan his path accordingly. EMIEW updates the positions of the strangers every half second. This gives the robot the ability to work around people without always bumping into them.
The press conference maybe went something like this:
"Hitachi has made this amazing high technology breakthrough and we are looking forward to very bright future. Just watch this amazing 130 cm tall robot dart past the walking people at a swift 1.2 meters per second. Speaking of seconds, Hitachi will probably lose about 55 billion yen, US $470 million, next year. So just imagine how well this robot will be able to work in hotels, train stations... just stop and think about this marvellous robot."
"Excuse me. What was that about the loss?"
"Just imagine, no more lost luggage when you have a robot to carry it to your hotel room."
"No, I mean the other thing. Losing money? Hitachi profits?"
"Oh, that? 55 billion yen, that's all. A few problems with tubines at nuke plants. Nothing to worry about. Just see how smoothly EMIEW moves through the crowds. Aren't you just so proud of him?"
The US Air force chief of Staff, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, announced that the UAV Predator MQ-9 has been named the "Reaper"
Says the general, "It's fitting as it captures the lethal nature of this new weapon system."
The Predator MQ-1 was originally designed for unmanned aerial surveillance but was modified to carry hellfire missiles. The Predator B MQ-9 version from General Atomics is much larger and was created as a weapons system. The Reaper has a 64 foot wingspan and is powered with 900 hp turboprop engine. The reaper can carry up to 14 hellfire missiles or 500 lb (227kg) JDAM 'smart' bombs.
General Mosely says the Reaper has, "a true hunter-killer role." The most important advantage of the Reaper, the general says, is the "persistence and precision." It can stay aloft for over 14 hours with a full payload.
I would really not like to have one of these things after me.
Excitement is already building for the appearance of Asimo at Auto Africa 2006 in Johannesburg from October 26 to November 5.
Says Hiroaki Shibata, Managing Director of Honda SA, "Getting ASIMO to come to Auto Africa is a real coup for Honda South Africa. Our reasoning in bringing the world's most advanced humanoid robot to the show wasn't just about finding something eye-catching for our stand."
There could be many other reasons why Asimo chooses this time to visit Africa. Our sources have found no relationship between Asimo and Sir Mark Thatcher who recently narrowly avoided jail time after his conviction for planning a coup in Equatorial Guinea. I don't know how these rumors start.
Asimo will most likely meet with industry leaders and government officials in between his notorious late night romps. As Japan's technology ambassador Asimo has been honored by governments around the world. He will be appearing in Brussels this week for EU's European Researchers Night.
Even though he is spread thin with business deals, research, politics and his own theater, Asimo is constantly asked about his big-screen plans. It was rumored that he refused the role of the next James Bond because the lifestyle of the fictional playboy was just too much like his own. The latest buzz is that Asimo is a front runner for the next Terminator flick.
Toyota has announced that they have developed a robot leg that can jump. The leg is 1 meter tall and can jump up to 4 cm (1.6 inches) in the air. This marvel of acrobatics is made possible by an active joint in the toe in addition to the regular knee and hip. One day they will make two legs so they can have a walking humanoid.
The addition of the bending foot will also allow a robot better control when walking on uneven surfaces.
A Toyota Motor Corp. spokeswoman reportedly said,"It was a difficult step for robots."
She could have been a bit wittier. Maybe, "It's a big leap for robots." Or, "That's one small step for a robot leg but one big leap for robot-kind." Or maybe even, "This really gives us a leg up on our competition." Soemtimes I just crack myself up.
Toyota has been working on robots for awhile. Their trumpet-playing humanoid Partner travels the world showing off his skills.
Speecys Corp., a venture firm launched by robot engineer Tomoaki Kasuga, the creator of Sony Corp.'s AIBO robot dog, said Tuesday it will start selling a small humanoid robot that can sing, dance, read the news and give English language lessons, among other things.
Sony cancelled production of Aibo last year.
The mostly white, 33-centimeter high, 1.5-kilogram MI RAI-RT robot will be priced at 294,000 yen (US $2500). The company will start accepting orders via the Internet on Sept. 30."
MI-RAI-rt is fully articulated and connected via wireless LAN to the internet. The robots maintain contact with each other through a new website called Robotamia.
The site will also serve as a central point for the community of owners of MI-RAI's. Since I do not understand Japanese and there is no English translation for the page I suspect it is also where the MI-RAI will coordinate their plan for world domination.
The robots will be able download to read the news, sing and dance and tell fortunes. They can also get English lessons, quizzes and games from Robotamia.
Also they will be able to read email and messages with full body language.
Speecys says they are pioneering the concept of 3D message communications by allowing the sender of messages to control the movement of the robot as it speaks. The movement instructions will be sent in the message with RTML Robot Transaction Markup Language.
Australia's remote areas with sparse population, harsh environment and wide open spaces make it ideal for the employment of robots. He says that Australia's mining industry is already struggling to get human workers and will be forced to use robots.
The australian parliment just aproved $17.45 million for the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) facilities to be built at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera. The base will support the growing use of unmanned aircraft over Australian lands and seas.
There are limits though, he says. He believes that tasks around the average household like climbing stairs and pouring a glass of water will remain beyond the reach of robots. Australians have a long wait, he feels, before they have humanoid robot helpers in their home. [Obviously he has never compared prices of household robots at the Roboteria]
Also the development may be slowed by lack of support. He warns Australia needs more investment. "The (federal) Government is putting money into it, but in Europe and the US there's more funding and more effort. There are multimillion-dollar initiatives. We will need that to be part of that international agenda."
Japan is once again leading the rest of the world in embracing robots. If your robot gets sick, broken or you want to get it upgraded, you can now send it to the robot hospital. Or maybe you bought one of those $1000+ robot kits and you are having a bit of trouble.
The doctor is in. Azakawa Robots Clinic in Osaka, Japan recently began accepting patients. The clinic was started by the precision machine shop Systec Akazawa. (They also sell a 2-foot humanoid, PLEN, who can roller skate.)
The hospital has a staff of four robot experts and has seperate departments for repair and rehabilitation.
Soon you will be able to battle it out with cute little robots for pocket change.
Robo Basho, invented by two former automotive engineers and their start-up Robotic Amusements is an arcade version of robot Sumo.
The game works like this: you have 4 ladybug-like robots safely inside a 4-foot plastic box arena. The human contestants put in their coins to control the robots from the outside. When the robots are positioned in the fighting ring it raises up a few inches. Then the 'athletes' go after it - trying to push each other out of the ring. Sorry, no flames, sparks or flying metal pieces. I think they should add shooting sparks and smoke, or at least some loud crunching sounds.
It's not quite the scale of Robogeddon, but it could be fun. Will it be a moneymaker?
European cities are plagued with problems from too many cars and trucks cloggging their narrow streets. The crowd of vehicles causes pollution, excess noise, loss of life and overall reduction in the quality of life.
So how do you get rid of all the cars in cities? Get rid of the drivers, of course. Public mass transportation can help some, but it only goes so far in reducing the problem. Many people still have the need to keep a personal vehicle.
The EU will address the problem of personal vehicles by launching their CityMobil project. CityMobil is a The €40 million project involving 28 partners in 10 countries. They will construct and operate three operating robot transportation systems - London's Heathrow airport, the new exhibition centre in Rome and the town of Castellón in eastern Spain.
The systems will operate on-demand like taxis but will not have drivers. The idea is that this type of public transportation will be a middle ground between the restrictions of mass transit and the excesses of individual cars. They are designed to operate within existing roads and infrastructue.
The pupose of the CityMobil projects will be to find the obstacles to full-scale implementation of driverless systems. Other projects will also be proposed as opportunities arise.
The idea of robot taxis is not brand new for Europe. CityMobil is an expansion of the CyberMove and Cybercars projects that date back to 2001.
After countless requests I have finally opened an online store where you can buy your robots, robot books, robot toys and miscellaneous robot sundries.
It may also help me to pay my rent.
Visit the Robot Gossip Roboteria and check out the cool stuff.
How it works, right now, is that I get to choose 9 ultra-needed items from Amazon to feature on the Roboteria front page. I will try to keep these items interesting.
I build the other category pages from searches of Amazon stuff like household robots, books about building robots, robot toys, etc, etc. Of course you also have access to everything on amazon through Roboteria so make sure you do all your shopping from there. I think you can probably buy all your groceries, clothes, furniture, appliances and everything. Then I'll be rich! I'll have 25 dollars a month to splurge on anything. I can picture it now: the sailboat, the mansions, robots to serve my every need... it will be grand!
There are quite a few automated hospital pharmacy machines that count pills and keep track of inventory. The RIVA (Robotic IV Automation) robot made by Intelligent Hospital Systems of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada goes one step farther by automating the process of preparing syringes and IV bags. The robot offers all the benefits that robots normally do. It can work very fast, preparing up to 100 prescribed doses an hour. It does not make mistakes like people regularly do. It is always the same, batch after batch. And the whole robot system is enclosed with its supplies in an isolated booth to prevent spillage, contamination from workers or exposure of workers to hazardous medicines.
The RIVA system has been under development for a few years and is still being tested. The first commercial unit is expected around summer 2007.
Australian company Floorbotics won $64,000 funding from the Australian government to commercialize their new iVac machine. The grant is from the Australian COMETfund for Commercialising Emerging Technologies. In addition to the grant, Floorbotics will get business advice on market research and completing the prototypes.
The iVac is a larger floor vacuum robot designed for commercial spaces. It has a 4 liter dustbin and can run for 1 1/2 hours before it needs to get a charge.
Floorbotics also has a home version called Floorbot which is expected in 2007.
The vacuums use a patented Autonomous Robotic Navigation Algorithm (ARNA) to map the room as they roam around vacuuming.
Aberporth, Wales. "Non-violent direct action" are planned for the site of a UK national UAV center. The West Wales UAV Centre is a partnership of West Wales Airport and defense corporation QinetiQ for testing and coordinating unmanned and autonomous flying machines. The center is part of the national ASTRAEA (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation and Assessment) program with the goal of getting UAV's to routinely fly unrestricted in UK airspace. The Welsh Assembly Government has given its full backing to the programme and is providing approximately £3M (US$5.6M) over 3 years to help industry open up UK airspace for routine operation of UAVs. The protests were called for at the monthly meeting of activist group Bro Emlyn for Peace and Justice. The reason for the demonstrations are to raise awareness of the nature of the work being done at parc Aberporth.
Harry Rogers of BEPJ is reported as saying, "This project is extremely worrying for we ordinary mortals living in west Wales as most of us only get to hear about the... trumpetings of new jobs and economic development opportunities, but nothing about what is actually being planned at Parc Aberporth. To put it simply, what kind of jobs are they going to be and what will the products arising out of this industrial development be used for?"
This shows that not everyone is impressed by the recent innovations in unmanned warfare. To many, flying robots are just another weapon.
Penelope is voice controlled by the surgeon and has camera eyesight to locate and identify each surgical instrument. The surgeon calls for the tool, "Scalpel," and Penelope hands it over. The latest version also has a database of procedures so that she can predict which tool the surgeon will ask for next.
The creators of the robot nurse see many advantages of her use. The robot will be able to keep track of all of the surgical instruments so that none are accidentally left inside the patient. Penelope has a perfect memory and can record the entire surgical procedure.
By having the robot manage the record keeping and distribution of the surgical tools, it saves time and the frees the nurses to focus more on the patient. While also doing a better job of it.
Don't you hate it when your boxing partner just stands there like a punching bag?
To get a real workout you need to exercise your reflexes and coordination as well as your punching skills.
Here is a solution to the problem of the boring punching bag. This practice partner moves in and out and circles to give you a full practice. It keeps you on your toes for overall conditioning. But luckily it does not punch back.