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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Robotic competitions are not limited to those with agility and practicality. Meiwa Electronics sponsors the annual Stupid Robot Contest. Entries must be mechanical, useless, and make people laugh. Papa Robopucho plays the red-flag white-flag game solo, then topples over and cries for help. We’re not sure what the baby ones do. Previous contestants included a chorus of preggers wifebots. While we don’t really find that the most amusing of robotic entrants, we suppose there is just no accounting for taste.
Read More | Tokyo Mango
If you are the type to keep up on robotics competitions, (and we are,) then you know that the next RoboGames (formerly the RobOlympics,) is coming up June 12 through 15 in San Francisco. With over 70 different events, including combat robots, walking humanoids, and soccer bots, the competition comes from all over the planet. You can get a ticket for $20.00 a day to watch the event, but if you have ever thought about participating, there is still time to get in on the action. Purchase a RoboNova kit and build your own android for $999.99 or get one that is pre-assembled for $1,199.00.
Read More | RoboGames
Among their plasticky robotic things, WowWee introduced their new Alive line of cubs. The panda, white tiger, polar bear and lion cubs are actually articulated robots with sensors that detect the angle at which they are being held and where they are being touched. The Alive Cubs will be available this Spring at an MSRP of $59.
On the plasticky side of things, in addition to the Mr. Personality robot just released, WowWee has three robots on deck: the Tribot, the Rovio, and the Bladestar. The Tribot is a remote controlled, 3-wheeled robot which features an alarm clock and can move in almost any direction. Tribot will be available this spring for an estimated $99. The Rovio is a roving robotic video and audio recorder which can be controlled remotely through its own website. The website also broadcasts Rovio’s video and audio feeds. Rovio will be available in the fourth quarter of 2008 for an estimated $299. The Bladestar is the next generation Dragonfly - a super capacitor powers the wings, and an infrared signal bounces off obstacles (walls, ceilings, exceptionally large headed friends) to make sure Bladestar stays on an unobstructed flight path. Bladestar will be available in February for an estimated $49.
Pleo is, without question, one of the hottest toys on the wish lists of children across America this holiday season. Ugobe’s robotic baby dinosaur is a wonder, seemingly coming to life once it’s turned on. We were able to get our hands on a brand new Pleo, and as is our custom, we figured it best to hook you guys up with a video of the unboxing experience.
If you are unfamiliar with Pleo, it’s a robotic baby dinosaur toy that was conceptualized by Caleb Chung - he also co-created Furby. It’s modeled on a one-week-old Camarasaurus dinosaur, and mimics the behavior of a newborn baby. Pleo thinks and acts independently, and Ugobe goes as far as to say “just like a real animal.” When you first turn it on, Pleo begins it’s birthing stage. It won’t react to you much, but you should still pet it and give it attention, as that will set the stage for the personality it will eventually have. After about 5-12 minutes, depending on your level of interaction, Pleo enters the hatchling stage. This lasts until the battery charge runs out, which is typically about 45 minutes. This is where it’s basic behavioral drives will start to kick-in. He’ll ask to be fed, he’ll start to walk and explore his environment, take short naps like a baby, and he’ll start to exhibit a wider range of emotions. He will begin to experiment with new sounds he can make.
Read More | Pleo World
There are six new games to choose from this week on Xbox Live Arcade and Virtual Console, though none of them are original games (which you expect from VC but even XBLA is arcade ports this week). Plus, most of this week’s games are relatively inexpensive with one exception.
Games this week include Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure, Adventure Island, Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Cyberball 2072 and Fatal Fury Special. Details for the releases are below.
Read More | Nintendo Press Release