Tondon has been “hired” by a 14 floor Tokyo apartment complex as its maintenance man. Built by Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries) and Sumitomo, the bot uses an optical communication system to run the building’s elevators and has been designed to sweep, clean, and scrub dirty surfaces both indoors and outside. The next generation of the RFS1 robot, he is also waterproof and features a design to match the Bali-themed decor. Tondon, named after a legenday Balinese snake god, features 4 video cameras and a hard disk so that humans can keep an eye on the little guy while he is also being utilized for surveillance. We call any rent-a-cop who can clean up at the same time deserves Japan’s 2006 Robot of the Year Award bestowed upon him.
Read More | Pink Tentacle
The Chiba Institute of Technology has released a working prototype of Halluc II, which has eight legs and wheels designed to drive over the lumps and bumps of the great out or indoors. In one of three modes (Vehicle, Insect, or Animal,) the bot can move sideways, turn around, and deal with even the most unstable terrains with wireless LAN capability and a system of motor-control with cams and sensors. Set to become available to the public within the next five years, its team hopes it will serve the mobility-impaired. We figure it will pay for itself, since it costs a lot less to feed when compared to a seeing eye dog.
Read More | Pink Tentacle
Israeli scientists from Techion University have teamed with the College of Judea and Samaria to create a one millimeter bot that can be inserted into a patient’s bloodstream, with no miniature Rachel Welch or Stephen Boyd needed. The mini-robot is composed of a hub and tiny arms that can hold on to vessel walls even upstream, and is controllable by its operators almost indefinitely. A similar bot has been created by Kyoto University but its size is one centimeter, too large to get into the smaller spaces. What a pity that Isaac Asimov couldn’t be here to see him novelization come to fruition.
Read More | Haaretz
We adore WowWee. Their innovative Robosapiens and Dragonbot keep us constantly amused and entertained. So it is no wonder that we fell in love with their London Toy Fair entrants, Spideysapien and the rather buff-looking Homersapien. Both were undoubtedly designed to come out with this summer’s release of the new “Spiderman” and “Simpsons” movies. We expect Homey to utter the inevitable “Do-oh,” but we will be curious to see if he can hand us a Duff Beer.
It looks like someone has found yet another use for Nintendo’s Wiimote: controlling an industrial robot. A couple of engineers at USMechatronics put together a software control program that let them control a Kuka KR16 industrial robot. Unfortunately, time limitations didn’t let them implement a real-time control scheme, but what they came up with is still pretty cool. Using existing PC driver software for the Wiimote and some custom VB.Net code, USM built a simple pattern recognition engine that would let the robot play back pre-recorded movements based on their similarity to the motions that the user would attempt with the Wiimote. The video shows off some of the results, some with a tennis racket mounted, and others with a sword. Handing a weapon to an industrial robot might just be how the robot revolution begins, but given the fact that other projects at the company include robotic sentry guns, it would appear that the company has ample methods to defend itself.
Read More | USMechatronics
ETRI has developed ROMI, a Korean bot that will make its debut at next week’s CES 2007. The robot transmits video with its Wireless/CMDA connection, sees through a camera, and can relay information to your PC or phone. He obeys commands by voice activation of its name. While you can probably give it the most basics of demands such as, “ROMI
walk roll” and “ROMI gimme five
none” we have a hunch that this bot is not much more than a glorified Furby.
Read More | Akihabara News
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
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.
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
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