One of our fave robotic buds, Honda’s ASIMO, will be coming to Detroit May 13 to conduct the city’s Symphony Orchestra as part of a performance with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He will be performing to “Impossible Dream” to draw attention to the DSO’s music education program for younger listeners. He will also be on display to music students May 14, who get to learn what he can do as well as get a lesson from the Master of Strings. We will try to get a peek at the bot when he arrives, so if you plan on going, save us a seat.
Read More | Akihabara News
It’s not often that we find a bot that is useless, silly, and not made by WowWee, but the Push-kun can be placed in all those categories. Created by Osaka’s Robot Force, the robot tells jokes, plays drumrolls for itself, and performs other odd antics. If nothing else, he is a fine way to spend a couple of minutes watching. Push-kin was so impressive that he performed in the Baka RoboCup, which seeks out the most amusing and/or trivial robotics. While the quadruped didn’t win, we knew we just had to share, even if he only speaks Japanese. RF’s OniRoppo is also in the video.
Read More | Pink Tentacle
Shades of Chucky. MIT Media Labs Personal Robotics Group has created Nexi, an MDS (Mobile/Dexterous/Social) bot that moves, has some dexterity, and communicates. About the size of a 3-year old, they hope that the robot will excel in areas of human/robot interaction, teamwork, and learning. While this is another step forward in the annals of robotics, the video kind of creeped us out. We wonder what would happen if a real child encountered it.
Read More | MIT Personal Robotics Group
Who says the military is not into games? When we last told you about the iRobot Packbot, it had barely taken off as a prototype that could fly with a parafoil system. The USDE has been busy and is now teaching its battlefield model, which features a gun and sensory equipment, to run via a Wii controller. It seems that the soldiers spent more time operating the bot than in reading data and they figured this would be a more useful alternative. Engineers have developed software that will send back vibrations if it finds something of importance, like an injured soldier. They would also like to hook it up to an iPhone sometime in the future.
Read More | New Scientist Tech
We love our old toy bots and were very pleased to discover that there is now a Mr. Roboto Watch by Azimuth. His left eye displays the hour, his right GMT indicator, his nose and mouth seconds and minutes. With a case of steel, the water-resistant Mr. Roboto is part of the company’s Mecha-1 BMF collection. He will be appearing in September at a much higher price than our toys were. Look for a 4,800.00 Swiss Francs ($4,800.00) price tag.
Read More | Watchismo Times
We are thinking that sometimes people have way too much spare time on their hands. However, the Yellow Drum Machine is a clever bot all the same. It moves around, collects data, then finds an isolated object to keep the beat. After sampling this for a “good sound,” it will play along with it. It will also keep time if you decide to make a noise or clap. The robot was created for about $120.00 in about twenty hours and runs on 4 AA batteries. Full instruction and details are on Frits’ site.
Read More | Let's Make Robots!
Toshiba is working on a new robot that doubles as a voice-operated remote for all your appliances. At a size of 8 x 11-inches and a weight of only 5 lb., ApriPoko learns by watching and questioning your actions, such as “What did you just do?”
Talk back to the bot (“I turned on the stereo”) and he will memorize your actions. When you want that stereo turned on the next time, he will happily oblige with an IR signal. Think of the implications in years to come for the prototype.
“I got a beer from the fridge.”
“I flushed the toilet.”
“I called my boss and told him I was very sick.”
“I have to go see my mother-in-law.”
Funded by DARPA, Boston Dynamics has developed the BigDog. About the size of a goat, it also has the dexterity of one. The gas-powered bot’s control system keeps it balanced so that it can navigate on all types of terrains. Sensors monitor such aspects as hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, and battery charge. Its legs move in an animalistic way and if something interferes, it simply absorbs the shock and carries on. Watch what happens when some dude decides to give it a kick.
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With an idea that originated from the Japanese TV show “Cellphone Investigator 7,” Softbank has created a mobile phone that can also be a robotic friend. Attach PhoneBraver’s arms and legs and it will begin to respond with differing faces. It also pays attention to your phone habits. If you call someone frequently it will say, “You’re calling her often these days, aren’t you?”
Apparently, you will be able to carry on a conversation by responding to PhoneBraver’s questions. We are not sure that we want our handset monitoring our phone calls. Look for it to come out this April.
Read More | Weird Asia News
When we last told you about Dextre, he was about to be launched to the ISS via Endeavor. It seems that all did not go well with the bot, who decided to sleep in a bit longer. It turns out that a cable design flaw wouldn’t allow power to turn him on. The astronauts finally got him up and running, then attached his hands to his arms and his arms to his torso. No one is sure yet about the reason for the dilemma since it wasn’t apparent in pre-flight testing, but NASA promises a thorough investigation.
Read More | USA Today