Never go dateless to a prom again. Nomura’s Partner Ballroom Dance Robot (PBDR) first made its appearance at Japan’s EXPO 2005. This past weekend, the PBDR showed up at Wired Magazine’s NextFest in New York City. These $300,000 battery-powered prototypes can anticipate and match their partners’ dance steps by use of force and torque sensors.
Developed at the The Kosuge-Wang Laboratory located at Tohoku University, Nomura also hopes that someday their ladies will assist the infirm and elderly by walking with them. I wonder if one of them could take my dog for a leisurely stroll around the park and anticipate the use of a pooper scooper.
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It just keeps getting scarier. Hitachi’s EMIEW (Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate) is now equipped with a sensory laser for navigation. The new bot will make its debut at the 2006 WAC (World Automotive Congress) in Japan which begins October 23.
The EMIEW keeps its balance using internal gyroscopes. It can locate its owner by voice recognition and can perform basic household chores, such as retrieving items from other rooms. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t aim that laser on the cat.
In a 2005 survey, nearly two-thirds (64%) of patients who were prescribed regular medication reported that they had forgotten to take their meds. You don’t have to be one of them. The intelligent Helping Hand reminds its owners when to take meds and keeps track of how well they have been doing. Pop a blister pack into it and it will send a signal to your computer or cell phone to remind you by use of a red, yellow, or green visual signal. It can also rat on you to your physician by uploading the information to him/her.
Specifically designed for the treatment of depression, hypertension, osteoporosis, and immuno-depressants, Helping Hand is not currently available directly to patients, but is instead distributed through Bang and Olufsen’s Medicom. Contact your them or your physician for price and availability.
Read More | Helping Hand Product Page
Ever since the 2004 tsunami, scientists have been searching for a better method to detect and warn us of upcoming earthquake-generated tidal waves. Austrian Michael Stadler may have devised an answer. Stadler has developed a program that accesses and analyzes data that comes from hard drive vibration sensors. Once the data is analyzed, it can be shared with other computers.
The program can ignore minor vibrations and differentiate between normal seismic and tsunamic activity. When “the big one” is about to occur, the system sends warnings to the other connected computers. Unfortunately, there is so much interest in the freeware download that his site seems to have crashed (no pun intended). Hang onto the link and try again in a day or two, or visit his suggested site of Dr. Eduard Heindl. Dr. Heindl has also created a warning system that can alert you by cell phone through a GSM network in any country at a price of EUR 9.95 (~$12.60) for a 1 month trial or EUR 29.95 (~$38.00) per year subscription.
Read More | Michael Stadler Website
If you live in an area with long winters and tend to hibernate, or if you spend most of your time in the basement with your ‘puter, you might suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Symptoms include depression, low energy, irritabilty, carb cravings (!), low concentration ability, insomnia, even social withdrawal and reduced libido.
The Litebook may be the answer to your problem. It uses bright light therapy which involves regular (usually daily) exposure to an artificial light source at an accepted therapeutic intensity (> 2,500 lux). Exposure duration and distance from the source are set within certain limits.
- Size: 6” x 5” x 1” (15cm x 12.5cm x 2.5cm)
- Weight: 8oz. (225g)
- Impact-resistant ABS plastic injection-molded case
- Operates on AC (110-240v) and DC power with optional Adapter
- Low power consumption
- No UV Radiation
- UL certified
- Power adapter cord length 6’ (180cm)
The Litebook will become available this October at a MSRP of £199.00 (~$375.00). A battery recharger is also available for £235.00 (~$442.00). Occasional mild side-effects may occur, including headaches, a ‘stinging’ sensation in the eyes, and nausea, but we think that beats a 20-bags-of-Cheetos-a-day habit.
Read More | Litebook Product Page
“The HydraCoach Thinks While You Drink.” Such is the claim of Sportline, the makers of the HydraCoach “interactive” water bottle. It tracks your fluid consumption and calculates your “personal hydration needs.” We didn’t even know we possessed such needs. We just assume that when we get thirsty, we drink water.
Other Product Capabilities:
- Paces an individual to ensure hydration goals are met.
- Monitors and motivates an individual to stay properly hydrated.
“With the launch of the world’s first ‘intelligent’ water bottle, we intend to revolutionize the water bottle and hydration industry,” said Brian Anderson, president of Sportline. “The benefits of proper hydration are sought after by athletes, fitness and outdoor enthusiasts, people trying to lose weight, the elderly, individuals on medication, and everyone who is generally health conscious.”
The HydraCoach goes on sale in December with a MSRP of $29.99. That’s big bucks for a bottle of water. We are thinking of substituting tequila to see how it calculates those personal hydration needs.
Read More | Hydracoach Product Page
NEC and Mie University have teamed up in Japan to create the 2-foot Winebot, a cute little bugger that can not only discern good wine from bad, it can also name the brand and suggest a cheese.
“There are all kinds of robots out there doing many different things,” said Hideo Shimazu, director of the NEC System Technology Research Laboratory and a joint-leader of the robot project. “But we decided to focus on wine because that seemed like a real challenge.”
Speaking in an underage voice, the robot names the brand and adds a comment to its taste. It can also be programmed to recognize wine that its owner prefers. Because of its ability to analyze the chemical composition of wine or food placed next to it, it could caution its owner about such health-related factors as fat or salt content.
Winebot doesn’t come cheap. “Buying one of these would cost about as much as a new car,” Shimazu said. “We’d like to bring that down to 100,000 yen ($1,000) or less for the tasting sensor if we were to put it on the market.”
We figure that if you can afford the wine and cheese, you can afford the Winebot.
Read More | USA Today
Unless you dropped off the face of the earth a few weeks ago, you probably ran across our own Nate True’s Time Fountain. In case you missed it, do a quick search and you will find it all over the Internet. We decided to take a closer look at what makes the Time Fountain tick. If you were amazed by the original video, consider this your “behind the scenes” look, explaining how the DIY project works.
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Cart filled parking lots may soon be a sight of the past. A new smart cart created by a college student with all sorts of gadgets called “B.O.S.S” - which stands for “Battery Operated Smart Servant” - actually follows the shopper around the store, avoids obstacles, and most importantly, it can be made to return itself! While that sounds cool and all, we will certainly miss the days of the teenage part-timer running around parking lots to collect stray carts in the rain.
Read More | CNN