From our friends the mechanical men to missing comic book creators, a teenage sex club and a takedown of Buck Rogers, there’s lots of great stuff to keep you occupied until Monday morning.
PETER GILLIS: If you still recall your 1980s comic books enough to run a Jeopardy category on the subject, then you probably remember Peter Gillis who wrote for Marvel, DC and First Comics. You might’ve seen his work on Shattered (the first digital comic, with Michael Saenz), Warp, Strikeforce: Morituri (which he co-created with artist Brent Anderson), Micronauts: The New Voyages, Strange Tales, What If…?, The Defenders, The Eternals, Gammarauders and Tailgunner Jo (with Tom Artis). After that long-running stint in comics, he seems to have disappeared. Well, not for long – lots of missing people turn up on the internets and Gillis is no exception. He’s anxious to plunge back into writing and he’s got a website with something to free-read. As he puts it: “I’ve recently completed a fantasy novel, and am hard into the sequel. Since my literary agent had the bad taste to die, I’m seeking representation for it/them. In the meantime, I’ve written a short story set in the world of these novels, and decided in the interest of shameless self-promotion, to put the story up here for free download.”
ROBOTS: These mechanical freaks come in all sizes and shapes and all manner of deadliness. Friend or foe, they will one day rule us all. They’ve already taken over mail sorting, manufacturing and telephones.
Remember how we told you that toys had private lives? This also seems to be true of robots. A couple of our friends, the destructobots, know how to party and stopped by to wish you all a good one. Watch out though, if you pass out too early, they will partake of your Grey Goose. And if you are not paying attention, they will steal your chips and bean dip. (Don’t ask us why, but destructobots love bean dip.) Have a safe and happy New Year!
Here’s one that the kids are sure to love - Kota the Triceratops is a rideable dinosaur. Did you catch that? A life-sized baby dinosaur to be exact, Kota is 40-inches long, and has a spring-loaded seat and handle. He also sports a smile on his face, which should mean that children won’t be scared of him. Kota has 11 sensores, so it reacts intelligently to sound as well as touch. He will react by turning his head, tail, horns, or even by roaring. You can also feed him some leaves, which will cause the dino to make a munching sound. The best part? Kota sells for $299 - but Amazon is currently selling him for just $150 - that is 50% off! Better hurry though, no telling how long that deal will last.
Read More | Kota the Triceratops 50% off
Once again, Elmo is here to take over the holiday, causing parking lot brawls between otherwise-normal parents. Back in 1996, Tickle Me Elmo flew off store shelves. 12 years later, Elmo Live tells jokes, sings songs, plays games, and tells stories. Oh, and he still laughs too. The biggest change, though, is thatElmo’s mouth actually moves when he talks, along with the rest of his body. He also moves his arms, nods his head, stands up, sits down, among other things, all with a squeeze of his foot. I was at Target the other day, and almost every shopping cart with a kid in it had one, and at one moment, I literally heard 7 of these things going at once, simply due to the carts being in close proximity. This is one of the big toy gifts this year. Elmo Live sells for $65.99, but we found it on Amazon for 9% off, at $59.88.
We just received one of the new Disney Pixar Ultimate Control Wall-E remote controlled robots, and we just had to share. If you’ve been looking for a Wall-E robot toy that mimics the actions of Wall-E from the movie, this is it. It features movie-like movement, the original character voice, and familiar sound effects. As soon as you turn him on, Wall-E comes to life, introduces himself, and then follows your commands. You can have him respond specifically to the remote control, which controls movement of his head, arms, hands, wrists, and body, as well as expressions and phrases. Or, you can have him go off and do his own thing in exploration mode. He will look around, stop and make noises, etc. Lastly, you can put him in follow mode, where he will follow in the general direction of any noises that his internal mic picks up. That can be your voice, clapping, or any other audible sound. All movie-like robotic movement and integrated character animation is controlled by a next-generation, advanced micro processor to generate variable speeds integrated with smart-check position action and movement.
Wall-E has sleep and automatic shut-off modes, so no worries on leaving him on and draining the battery. The robot stands a little over 16” tall, and includes a 7.2V rechargeable battery, along with charger. The included remote requires 3 AA batteries. We can’t say enough about the Ultimate Control Wall-E robot, look for him to appear in our 2008 Holiday Gift Guide. Meanwhile, check out our full Ultimate Control Wall-E unboxing gallery, featuring over 30 images.
Read More | Ultimate Control Wall-E unboxing gallery
WowWee is at it again with new cubs to cuddle. These Alive pets come in Polar Bear, Panda, Lion, and White Tiger. Each cub purrs and mews with blinking eyes and animated mouth. Leave it alone and it will enter sleep mode, snore for 5 minutes, then power down. Recommended for kids over three, each pet comes with its own adoption certificate. Look for the cubs with a price of $59.99 each.
Read More | WowWee
This is almost too scary. iXs Research Corp. has created a talking Teddy Bear with GPS. At about a foot tall, it has 6 joints in its neck and arm to prove its spoken point. The teddy also has an alcohol detection sensor in its neck and will admonish you if it smells that last margarita with “You haven’t been drinking, have you?”
Stroke his head and he will tell you about nearby landmarks. And if you drive badly, he will tell you to “Watch out.” The company is planning a 2009 launch and has patented the idea so that they can implant their technology in other types of dolls. We just want to know, what will the guy in the car next to you think if your teddy is talking?
Read More | Pink Tentacle
Researchers from Georgia Tech and Penn State have been working on 3 autonomous bots for cold locales such as Greenland and Antarctica. SnoMotes, funded by NASA, use cameras and sensors to navigate.The idea of the design actually came from a child’s snowmobile kit.The robots are sent to certain locations from base camps, then collect data for their handler. The scientist can then reassign location if necessary. Eventually the team is hoping that the prototype will have a full range of sensors. The Snomotes will be field tested in Alaska and on display at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry next month.
Read More | Georgia Tech
Drobo is billed as the “World’s first data storage robot.” We like to think of it as super, super simple data storage that also doubles as a fantastic backup destination. Backing up your data is both extremely boring, and excruciatingly essential. Apple has tried to spice things up in this area with their Time Machine technology in Leopard (which Drobo supports), and Windows Home Server offers easy backup for your Windows-based computers.
As you may recall, we got a full feature rundown of Drobo back at CES 2008, so check that out if you need a refresher, or in case you missed it. We were thoroughly impressed, and had to get our hands on one to bring you the scoop on what we think of the device after using it in the real world. While the review is soon to come, we knew you’d want to see the Drobo unboxed. Oh, and as a bonus, we also have the DroboShare as well. This add-on turns your Drobo into a NAS device, and can even pair two Drobos up together for the ultimate in small environment networked data storage.
We have seen soccer-playing robots, but did you know there is also an annual Robot American Football game? Produced by the same group that organized Robot Sumo in Japan, the mini-bots do the playing, thereby depriving its viewers of outright violence and blood-letting that you get most Monday nights. We only have one question after viewing the video. What do you suppose the robotic players do when one of the human refs blows his/her whistle?
Read More | Robots-Dreams
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