When the U.S. Postal Service launched several hundred R2-D2-skinned postal drop boxes around the country last year, it also quietly released a printable paper craft version for Star Wars fans who don't live near one of the limited edition mail receptacles. Being that I don't have good enough quality paper or glue stick skills to accomplish such a feat myself, I let the pros do the work then post their shots to Flickr.
That, at least is apparently the strategy of Samsung, which has created its own OCD bot called the "Hauzen VC-RE70V" for the Korean market, according to I4U News. This self-motivated sanitation engineer surveys its premises with a built-in camera, then automatically draws a map that shows where it needs to clean and, just as important, where it's already been so it doesn't waste energy. … Read more
It's fine with us for the Japanese to continue pursuing a human-free society, but some of their robotic advances are hitting a little too close to home. We began getting uncomfortable upon learning of various blogging functions being taken over by bots, for example, and now there's another one of the little creeps that's reading e-mail and performing other desktop tasks.
Bandai's "Tachikoma" connects to the computer's USB port, helping to "create and process applications" and play games as well as handle the mail, according to GeekAlerts. Judging by the photos … Read more
While the government spends millions on nonlethal crowd control and redirect programs for urban based winos, an Atlanta tavern owner has fielded a high-pressure water gun equipped, remote-controlled chicken smoker that takes care of both jobs at once.
The Bum Bot was developed by Rufus Terrill to clear drug dealers, vagrants and prostitutes away from around the neighborhood day care center.
"What happens at night is they have prostitution," Terrill of O'Terrill's Pub & Restaurant said in an interview with Information Week. "They've been throwing condoms on the playground, crack pipes, needles... there's … Read more
Don't get me wrong: I'm all for domestic robots. I own a Roomba. I professed my admiration for the Robot Chef. But the humanoid dish-washing robot we saw last year creeps me out. (Blame it on watching too much Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.)
Fortunately, that doesn't mean I have to give up hope of ever having robotic help in the kitchen. Readybot, a proof-of-concept kitchen-cleaning robot built by a club of Silicon Valley engineers, looks totally non-threatening, like a boxy R2-D2. Because it's put together by a group of enthusiasts, the robot uses common, mass-produced … Read more
Now here's a novel concept. We've seen all manner of objects take remote-controlled flight, from mosquitos and dragonflies to laser choppers and UFOs, but there's one that's been conspicuously overlooked: a bird.
Actually, it's an "iBird," to be exact (of course). Silverlit, which makes this winged avenger, says it simulates a bird's flight by using "realistic flapping wing movements" and is part of the "latest generation of RC flyers," according to GeekAlerts. That, at least, may be the case as long as it doesn't go anywhere near … Read more
DARPA is close to awarding a contract for the initial development phase of an unmanned aircraft capable of staying aloft for five years at a time, according to the aviation magazine Flight.
"Aviation has a perfect record--we've never left one up there. We will attempt to break that record," DARPA Vulture program manager Daniel Newman told Flight Global. "We want to completely change the paradigm of how we think of aircraft."
Birds are a perennial nuisance at many airports, but removing them can be a labor-intensive and potentially dangerous affair when winged raptors are trained to chase them away. So a European company called Bird Raptor has taken live hunters out of the equation altogether by creating an unmanned air vehicle that serves as a "gregarious bird removal system," according to FlightGlobal, or "GBRS."
It's kind of surprising that one of the big handset makers didn't come up with a Transformers phone at the height of the movie's hype last year. After all, just about every other form of gadget tried to cash in on it, from laptops and stereos to earphones and MP3 players.
Perhaps Softbank just and Toshiba knew that that true Optimus Prime loyalists would appreciate such a phone regardless of the movie. But it's unclear whether hard-core fans would look past the fact that the new 815T PB handset on the Japanese market doesn't really … Read more
Two Turkish engineers have built a prototype of an autonomous rescue helicopter equipped with Microsoft robotics and mapping software so that it can capture video of disaster sites and stream it back to command centers. The engineers Oguz Bayrakdar and Omer Celik began developing the robot, called RoboTurk, last year with the help of the Istanbul municipal government and Microsoft Robotics Group, which makes commercial software for autonomous applications that could range from a child's robotic Lego set to an unmanned helicopter.
It's an independent project from motivated developers, but RoboTurk is a boon for Microsoft's young … Read more