Dec 20 2008

49 Foot Tall ASIMO in Pasedena

A 49-foot-tall replica of Honda’s infamous ASIMO humanoid robot will be a prominent participant in the 2009 Rose Parade. Honda’s float will serve as the parade’s opening ceremony stage and then transform itself into the supersized ASIMO, leading the beloved parade through the streets of Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Honda’s float creation called ‘Hats Off in Celebration’ will be completed with natural materials like lettuce seed, rice, carnations and strawflower… The Honda float includes a variety of flowers, plants and seeds that will later be ground up for mulch after the parade activities are concluded. The surface of ASIMO will be covered with super fine ground white rice and super fine ground everlasting; it is accented by fine cut blue statice and fine cut red statice as well as silverleaf to create accents and “shadows.

Honda says the giant ASIMO replica is about 12 times the size of the actual ASIMO robot.

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Dec 19 2008

i-SOBOT named “Robot of the Year”

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Tomy’s i-SOBOT, which the company just discontinued, was named Robot of the Year in Japan by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) .

Judges awarded this year’s Grand Prize to i-SOBOT due to its advanced technology, its high entertainment value, and its reasonable price of under 30,000 yen (around $300). Equipped with 17 miniature servo motors and a set of gyro sensors for balance, the 350-gram (12 oz), 16.5-centimeter (6.5 in) programmable humanoid can walk, play air guitar, dance the hula, and perform 200 other moves. The tiny hobby robot is also equipped with a set of gyro sensors for balance, and it can be controlled via remote control or simple voice commands. The robot runs for about an hour on 4 AAA batteries.

Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as “The smallest humanoid robot in production, i-SOBOT is currently available in the United States from Hammacher Schlemmer for $99 as well as Amazon.


Dec 15 2008

Tilted Twister- a Lego Mindstorms robot that solves Rubik’s cube

Created by Hans Andersson, the Tilted Twister solves Rubik’s cube fully automatically.  Just place the scrambled cube on Tilted Twister’s turntable. An ultrasonic sensor detects its presence and starts to read the colors of the cube faces using a light sensor. The robot turns and tilts the cube in order to read all the faces. It then calculates a solution and executes the moves by turning, tilting and twisting the cube.

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Performance

  • Scanning the cube: 1 minute
  • Calculating a solution: 20 – 40 seconds
  • Executing the moves: 1 – 5 minutes. Average 4.5 minutes (60 faceturns)

Average total time: 6 minutes

Build your own Tilted Twister

You can find building instructions and programs here.

I built one of these but I have not gotten it completely working yet. It keeps slipping when it is solving the cube and getting stuck. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment.


Dec 12 2008

ROMP = fun, WROMP = danger

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ROMP–or Remotely Operated Mobile Platform–is a poor man’s version of an iRobot battlefield bot. Instead of fancy tracks and miniaturised sensors, these ROMPs seem more like sophisticated all-terrain RC cars rigged with consumer cameras. Until you meet the older brother, of course, the weaponised WROMP with its big gun on top. In the words of its creator, Chris Rogers:

[The WROMP] is a weaponised version of the Remotely Operated Mobile Platform. The operator can “drive” the vehicle and fire the weapon although it is out of visual range. WROMP can also be used for reconnaissance and bomb investigation and remote detonation

As you can see, the weapon in this case is just a paintball machine gun. Enough for me, although Chris says the platform has been designed for any use, “including remote surveillance, security patrolling and bomb investigation.” The system uses an audio/video system linked to an VR headset for control, aiming, and firing.


Dec 10 2008

MechRC Humanoid Robot

Trossen Robotics offers the new MechRC Humanoid Robot

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This new ready-to-walk robot is a breakthrough in price to performance. High torque metal gear servos, LiPo batteries for longer run times, a fluid 3D visual software programming interface for easy custom motions, and a remote control unit are included. Everything needed to have your very own walking robot is included in this ready-to-walk kit! With over a hundred pre-installed motions and sounds you can get this robot throwing some dance floor shapes or some killer fighting moves straight from the box.

Programming the MechRC is seriously easy and thanks to the software included, all programming takes place in an animation filmstrip. Manipulate the animated robot on your PC’s screen into your chosen stance and save the move or sequence. Your robot is controlled much like a video game character so programming the ‘bot is both straightforward and fun.

Add the soundtracks, sound effects and voices of your choice from your PC’s music files and blast them out through the speaker in MechRC’s chest.

Features

  • The MechRC Robot comes pre-assembled.
  • Designed by the Transformer artist so there is a startling likeness to the Transformer form.
  • The ‘bot sports 17 servos with 180 degree movement..
  • Metal Gear Servos with 13kg-cm torque!
  • Audio can be played through the speaker in the robot’s chest.
  • More than 100 moves are pre-stored on the robot – see him throw some serious shapes fit for the dance floor or reveal his killer fighting moves.
  • An easy to use 3D visual interface is used for programming.
  • The robot is manipulated in an animation film strip making customizing seriously user-friendly.
  • IR remote control.
  • Lithium battery pack and charger.
  • MechRC Commander software CD ROM.
  • USB/Serial communications cable.
  • User Guide.
  • Requires a PC (not Mac compatible).
  • Suitable for ages 14 years+.
  • Size: 36 x 32 x 15cm.

Currently on backorder.  The kit costs $599.99.


Nov 13 2008

Two Personality-Packed Characters Join WowWee’s Robotics Line

Wrex the Dawg(TM) and Mr. Personality(TM) Robots Offer Humor, Companionship, and Unique Artificial Intelligence

Shaping the way we interact with entertainment robotic companions, WowWee has launched two new personality-packed additions to its diverse Robotics line of humanoid, reptilian, and animal creations. RS Wrex the Dawg(TM), an incorrigible robotic junkyard pooch, and RS Mr. Personality(TM), a three-wheeled fully-animated and interactive talking companion, are now available at major online retailers just in time for holiday shoppers searching for unique gifts.

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The RS Wrex the Dawg robot is not your typical robotic pet – he’s a mischievous junkyard dog, constructed from “scrap” mechanical and electrical parts, in dire need of re-programming. This hilarious mutt can perform a series of up to 80 moves and is the perfect guard dog, featuring three distinct moods – happy, angry and crazy. Wrex cocks his head, twitches his ears, wags his squeaking tail, sits, stands, and scampers freely – infrared sensors help him react to movements, avoid obstacles, and detect and avoid drop-offs like stairs. He can even be re-programmed to behave like a cat or perform various tricks like “shake hands” and “play dead.” Wrex also features three desires – Exercise, Call of Nature and Hunger – that can be altered with a flick of a Mood Dial on his intuitive industrial-styled remote control. He is also purposely programmed to occasionally “malfunction,” following which his owner must reset his circuits straight – users can even re-program him as WowWee’s original Robosapien(TM) robot!

The RS Mr. Personality robot is an interactive humanoid robot that exudes personality in everything he does and says. RS Mr. Personality comes equipped with the hilarious “Max/Simon” character, a split-personality animated duo that inhabits his robotic core. Similar to a modern-age “Odd Couple”, “Max/Simon” will entertain users for hours with their unique and outrageous banter. The robot’s full-color LCD screen displays his personality with various animated and synchronized facial features. Through advanced infrared and audio sensors, the Mr. Personality robot interacts with his environment and entertains his human companions with jokes, conversations, games and daily fortunes found in various play modes such as “Crystal Ball” and “Fortune.” Featuring a fully-animated upper body to match his unique artificial intelligence, his movements and physical reactions are lifelike, resembling those of real animated human expressions. Equipped with an omni-directional, three-wheeled base for speed and agility, users can move Mr. Personality precisely in all directions using the remote control.

The RS Wrex the Dawg robot features 9 motors, 10 slot machine-like eye icon combinations, infrared sensors, and speakers with 3 adjustable volume settings. Available at major online retailers such as Amazon.com, Sears.com, Target.com, Walmart.com, ToysRUs.com, and the WowWee Online Store, the RS Wrex the Dawg robot has a suggested retail price of $149.99 and is appropriate for ages 8+ (Requires 4 x “C” and 2 x “AA” size batteries and 3 “AAA” for the remote).

The RS Mr. Personality robot features 7 motors, 4 infrared sensors, a built-in microphone for voice memos, a color LCD screen, speaker, audio input connector, and an LED battery indicator. Available at such major online retailers as Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Sears.com and the WowWee Online Store, the RS Mr. Personality robot has a suggested retail price of $249.99 (requires 6 “C” size batteries and 3 “AAA” for the remote).