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Read More | The Bleeding Edge
Having to compete with Bratz is just too much for every little girl’s old friend Barbie. So Mattel has dreamed up an anorexic-looking Chat Diva Barbie. The doll can move to and lip sync to your music and is compatible with your PC, iPod, or any audio MP3 player with a headphone outlet. She and buddy Teresa also chat on included cell phones, and each doll comes with 3 pre-programmed song clips. She may not look like Celine Dion, but you can make her sound like her and be the star of your next office party. Barbie and her friend Teresa are available at retail stores and online for $29.96.
Not only were the MINI Coopers fun to sit in, we found about 6 more excuses to stick around that area. This remote car racing game was consistently full of business men in CIA-looking suits.
Another tabletop game was more fun to crash and burn than to stay on the road. Finally, Mike had some difficulty finding which way to go in Volkswagen’s “Need For Speed.”
The point here is that if you get a chance to visit the NAIAS, head for the BMW/MINI Cooper/Volkswagen corner.
Read More | NAIAS 2007
Enough of the cutesy iDogs and iFish. How about a Jada Chub City i-Playaz who can move and groove to your MP3 player or CD tracks? With his interactive sounds and lights you can mix your own tunes with beat and scratch buttons. Featured at the CES 2007, Chub C. stands 5.5-inches, has audio in and output jacks, and needs 4 AA batteries (not included) to jam. He’s available for $20.99 at Target and other retailers.
Ignition has been awarded a CES Best of Innovations with its erector set-like Vex Robotics Kit. Developed in cooperation with First (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, the starter kit comes with everything you need to design and build a radio-controlled robot that can lift, throw or just move around in its botty way.
Industrial designer Doug Galleti says that the Vex system can “provide ease of construction at an affordable price point – capturing a larger audience of tech geeks.”
Contact Vex Robotics if you have $299.99 to acquire your very own kit and don’t want to share with your kids.
Robotic vacuum manufacturer iRobot has always taken a shine to the modders who hack their Roombas in all sorts of new ways. Delivering an open serial port and full instructions on how to utilize it was a great gesture and a very forward thinking move for them, but their latest, the iRobot Create, might really take off. The Create is essentially a Roomba without all of the vacuuming guts. It’s an open platform, with a bunch of expansion and input and output ports on top, and more room to toy with it, since you don’t have to worry about a place to put all that dust and cat hair. Add-on peripherals will be available, but iRobot expects and encourages users to build their own to interface with it, citing a hamster-ball-driven navigation system one test group has already delivered.
The Create is available right now and is selling for the completely reasonable price of $129.99, with an 8-bit command module costing an additional $59.99.
I can see a lot of educational robot teams and the like buying into this, straight away.
(A picture of a beer-fetching Create, after the jump.)
Too bad Rocky didn’t have the FA1 Fighting Android for training. SDT (Self Defense Technologies) has created an electro-mechanical fighting droid and boasts that it is the first “true” apparatus that can be used for practicing your boxing, kickboxing, or martial arts skills. The 2007 CES Award Honoree features a human-like shape, size, and appearance as his head moves side-to-side, front-to-back, or rotates. His torso does likewise while his legs stay stationary. Watch out though, as the FA1 hits back and has some sexy-looking legs, in a droid kind of way. Contact SDT for price and availability.
One of the companies attending the 2007 CES is Robotis, Korean makers of the Dynamixel Series high-performance actuator controlled by digital packet communication. For the rest of us there are Bioloids, which were designed for education of the principles of robotics. The kits contain a main controller, a servo-module dynamixel, a sensor module, SMPS, NiMH rechargeable batteries, a software CD, and a manual, just in case you have a part leftover.
The kits are available in dinosaur, bipedal humanoid, hexapod spider, quadruped puppy, and autonomous exploration. The company boasts that the kits are easy to assemble with a Phillips screwdriver and can be changed as your whim permits without the threads wearing out. Click on one of the Comprehensive Kits’ images and find out just what these eerie Bioloids can do.
A 2004 World Robotics Survey claimed that 600,000 robots were being utilized in homes. Four million are expected by the end of 2007. They are being used for basic chores, such as the Roomba, to caregiving, as in the case of the 914 PC-Bot. But bots still face some obstacles as they make their way into our lives and researchers claim it will be another decade before they become commonplace.
“You can tell it to go to an X and Y co-ordinate on a map and it will understand. But ask it to `Go to my left’ and it won’t,” says Maria Bualat, leader for the intelligent robotics group at the NASA Ames Research Centre California. As for now, we are content just to have them just as pals.
Read More | Toronto Star
This kewl gadget will cover all those in your office that you have neglected in your gift-buying spree this holiday season. The USB Missile Launcher moves 180º horizontally and 45º vertically, is moveable with your mouse, and even makes sound effects when you launch your missiles. Windows 2000 and XP software is included as are 3 foam missiles, and it requires 3 AA batteries (not included.)
The launchers are available at one of our favorite online shopping sites, Latest Buy, and although they are not the cheapest toy you can find at AU $54.95 (US $44.51,) grab a twinpack for $80.96, give one to your boss, and maybe he/she won’t care about the extra long lunch you took last week.
Read More | Latest Buy