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914 PC-BotWarning, Will Robinson! White Box Robotics’ 9-Series 914 PC-BOT allows you to create your own robot with off-the-shelf computer parts. The bot can follow programmed directions or manual navigation, and lets you see through its eyes with a supplied web cam to your home or office from any browser. It even responds to verbal commands.

The 914 features a fully functional Windows XP PC, and its inventor Thomas Burick claims that his bot can be used for gaming, entertainment, home security, or eldercare. PC-BOT was displayed at this past weekend’s digitallife in New York and a Special Edition is now available at price of $CAD 5,599.99 (US$4995.) This bot doesn’t come cheaply, but if you can install and configure PC components and software, you can have your very own Robby The Robot.

Read More | White Box Robotics via digitallife



This engaging little Robo Waiter is in Hong Kong taking orders with no backtalk. He shows customers to their tables and waits until they speak into his microphone. The message is then relayed to the kitchen where we presume it is still cooked by a real person. Peter Chow, Director of CyberRobotics Technology, claims that restaurant sales have increased by 20 to 30% since he has been “hired.” Although the bot does not deliver food, it is certainly a big improvement over that tacky Jack In The Box clownhead speakerphone.

Read More | CBBC News

Manoi PF-01Yesterday we told you about Chroino, the clever little bot designed by Tomotaka Takahashi. Today, his creator told GearLive that although Chroino is still at the prototype stage, his cousin Manoi can fulfill all your robotic dreams.

In addition to being the founder and hanging out at Robo Garage, Tomotaka is working with Japan’s Kyosho Company and has produced Manoi PF-01, whom he refers to as having a unique, comical personality. Manoi will be put through his paces at this year’s Japan Model Hobby Show which will run October 21 and 22 and can be adopted for 1100 EUR, ~$1400.

Read More | Kyosho Company via Tomotaka Takahashi

ChroinoChroino, created by Robo Garage’s Tomotaka Takahashi at Kyoto University, made his debut at this past weekend’s NextFest. This amiable little robot, made of carbon and plastic, has a monocoque frame and uses a new technology named SHIN-Walk, so that he can trek around more naturally than the other robots. At a height of 35 cm and a weight of 1.05 kg, Chroino utilizes lithium polymer batteries, has a high athletic ability, and can be radio or PC controlled. Although still a prototype with no price tag, we already want to adopt the little fellow.

Read More | Chroino via Nextfest


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.

Read More | Nomura via NextFest

hitachi emiewIt 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.

Read More | JapanCorp via engadget

Helping Hand

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

tsunami alarmEver 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

LitebookIf 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