OK, stop what you're doing this instant! The pinnacle of robotic and viral video achievement (at least for the rest of today) has just been reached in the form of a four-armed, mohawked robot playing the drums in tribute to the Ramones' legendary song "Blitzkrieg Bop." You've really got to see this one to believe it. Seriously. … Read more
If you've ever wanted your very own working Android robot, this Kickstarter project is something to watch.
Reality Robotics is fishing for funding for Be the Robot (BERO), a pint-size bot you can control with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone.
The programmable droid was inspired by the Android mascot, but since Google hasn't officially given its blessing to the project, it looks a little different. It can dance, avoid obstacles, and take commands from an open-source phone app. … Read more
Let's face it: Opening up a cookbook, turning the pages, and reading a recipe is hard work. Thankfully, scientists in Japan recognize this and have developed a kitchen that puts recipes right on your food.
Unfortunately, you still have to read, and actually try to cook, by following instructions projected onto your food. But if you go astray a robot called Phyno is there to help out.
Developed by Yu Suzuki and colleagues at Kyoto Sangyo University, the "cooking support system" is being presented next week at the 10th Asia Pacific Conference on Computer Human Interaction (APCHI 2012) in Matsue, Japan.
With a combination of image processing and speech interaction, it's aimed at novice cooks who find recipe jargon confusing.… Read more
If robots could run for president, which would you vote for?
Nobody doubts that machines would make better leaders than meatsack politicians, but there are so many to choose from. Carnegie Mellon University is helping out by letting us humans elect inductees for its Robot Hall of Fame.
The prestige has been awarded to real robots such as Honda's Asimo, as well as characters like C-3P0 and R2-D2 from "Star Wars." The unprecedented public participation in choosing the members follows years of inactivity at the hall, which was created in 2003 but last added new robots in 2008. … Read more
The droid trims lawns several times per week, cutting only 3 millimeters (0.12 inch) of grass at a time. The clippings are small enough so that they can be left on the lawn to act as natural fertilizer, the automaker said.
Miimo mows in a random or directional pattern, staying within an electronic perimeter but using its sensors to navigate the lawn, even on sloping areas. If its bump sensors encounter an obstacle, it will stop and then set off in another direction. It will automatically devote more time to patches of long grass. … Read more
The company has a kit simply called "Double" that consists of a robotic, stripped-down Segway-like contraption with wheels, battery, iPad stand, and holder. Once the iPad is connected to the Double, the robot can be controlled remotely by someone using an app on another iPad, allowing that person to move around their virtual location.
Inevitably, this sort of ambulatory telepresence poses a threat to people's … Read more
In addition to slithering, crawling, and flying just about anywhere, what if robots could camouflage themselves? This tentacled prototype can be made to look like -- or stand out from -- its background with a simple injection of dyes.
Developed by engineers at Harvard University's Whitesides Research Group, the "soft machine" silicone quadruped crawls along on pressurized gases fed through an umbilical cord.
Users can send different dyes through channels in the robot's body, allowing it to blend in or stand out in startling fashion, such as glowing in the dark. Color changes take about 30 seconds, but don't require further power to sustain the disguise. … Read more
Autumn is a-comin' down the track, and with it the whiff of rotting leaves and election promises. Robots can clear away the former now, the latter after the revolution.
iRobot is updating its Looj gutter cleaner, a leaf-churner extraordinaire that reduces the time it takes to unclog your gutters.
If you're not familiar with Looj, it's a portable, waterproof, rotating scrubber on treads. You set it in your eavestrough and it trundles along, spitting out leaves, needles, and other gunk with its spinning rubber flaps. Messy but effective. … Read more
From snakes to fish to cheetahs, we've seen a veritable Noah's Ark of biomimetic robots in recent years, and now researchers have turned to the lowly earthworm for inspiration.
Meshworm is a squishy, sluglike droid that stretches and squeezes its artificial muscles to move forward. This peristalsis is similar to how worms travel and how your guts move food around. … Read more
Soon, that whiny kid from Transformers won't be the only one who gets to play with giant walking robots. The makers of Project Hexapod are Kickstarting Stompy, a honking huge two-seater hydraulic robot.
Oh, Stompy, where have you been all my life? I can't wait to some day meet all 4,000 pounds of you and watch as your six legs destroy everything in their path. Despite your frighteningly arachnid shape, you have an adorable moniker. … Read more