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Tag Archives: Robotics

Deal Of The Day: $21 Off On Romo Personal Robot

redesign_romo_mf

We wrote about Romo a couple of years ago, and you guys seemed to like him. It’s a little robot on tracks that uses your iPhone as its brains. Start the app, dock the phone, and watch as Romo roams around your home, following your commands and even dancing to music. “You can train Romo to detect your face, chase objects, follow paths, and even explore on his own.” The display on your phone will reflect his mood, and the available SDK means that more advanced users can even code for it.

Normally you’d have to pay $150 for it, but you can have it for $129 now.

[ $21 Off On Romo Personal Robot ]

These Little Blocks Could Herald Self-Assembling Structures

Self-stacking robotic blocks

The folks at MIT are always cooking up some interesting technology, and the latest we’ve come across is the self-stacking M-Blocks. Each little cube contains a radio, a printed circuit board, a flywheel that can spin up to 20,000 rpm, and magnets that line the edges. With these, the cubes are able to move around on their own and stack themselves in all kinds of different configurations. Heck, they’re even able to make small leaps!

Currently only a proof of concept, it’s possible that the guts be one day miniaturized enough to allow for more complex structures to be built using only an assembly program and the self-stacking building blocks themselves. Human intervention barely required.

“These proof-of-concept robots are the first step in a project that will hopefully lead to the development of modular robot blocks that are cable of generic lattice-based self-reconfiguration.”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

[ Popsci ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Flappy Bird Playing Robot Is Better Than You

Flappy-Bird-Robot

We’d like to think the Flappy Bird mania is dying down, but we’re not sure. Just a couple of days ago we found out that someone had sold an iPad Mini preloaded with the game for $8,000, so crazy people are still crazy it seems. And it’s in the midst of all this craze that we now turn our attention to Liu Yang and Shi Xuekun, two developers from the Shaanxi province of China, who’ve created a robotic contraption that plays the game, and plays is well. Using a webcam, the swing arm of an old hard drive and a stylus, this machine manages to blaze through the pipes like nobody’s business.

The point? Really, there isn’t. This is just a fun project and maybe a demonstration of skill from two guys who claim they took only four days to build and code the whole thing. Check the video out to see how it fares.

VIA [ Walyou ]

The Confectionary Cannon Shoots Marshmallows Straight Into Your Mouth

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Because what’s the point of going to engineering school if you can’t make a rig that shoots candy into your mouth, amirite? Well, a team of students at Olin College have created just that, and they called it the Confectionary Cannon. With a budget of $250, they took “four servos, a webcam, a solenoid and an Arduino Uno to make up the electrical system, which uses Python and OpenCV”, and created a device that’ll make anyone with a sweet tooth and a love of tech salivate just a little. Face recognition software looks for your mouth and the press of a button delivers the goods. Yeah, it doesn’t look like it has the most perfect accuracy in the world, but a little head movement on your part should be enough to bite down on the flying sugar.

No, it’s not available for purchase, but knowing that it can be made for that little money must mean some business minded person somewhere is working on it, right? Right?

[ Product Page ] VIA [ HackADay ]

Robots Teach Young Children How To Code

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With a future increasingly overlaid in all things digital, it makes sense to raise an ever enlarging number of kids to become programmers; we’re going to need them, after all. And while learning the specifics of a coding language is better done after a certain age, getting acquainted with the concepts underlying programming can be done somewhat sooner. Play-i’s Bo and Yana robots are being introduced for just this purpose. It gives children as young as 5 the opportunity to control them by selecting a series of visual presets that trigger particular behaviours. By doing so, they get acquainted with the “if/then nature of programming”, and rub elbows with concepts that will become central to their potential later careers. Bo is the three-wheeled bot on the right, while Yana is the stationary one on the left. Obviously, their abilities will be limited by their physical attributes so the robot that does more things costs a bit more. Right now a pledge of $149 for Bo and $49 for Yana will get you in the game, although full funding needs to be achieved first and that’s not done yet. Hit the links below to get your chance to move that along a bit.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Dude Builds An Adorably Awesome Real-Life Wall-E Robot

Wall-E Robot

Remember Wall-E? That scruffy but cute little bot who starred in his own movie five years ago? Well, now he’s made the ultimate of crossovers from the world of movies into real life. It didn’t involve magic or the involvement of studio giants, though. All it took to make it happen was one dedicated dude and his very good friend.

Mike McCaster and his buddy Mike Senna worked on their real-life Wall-E bot for years. It’s not just some R/C car that was taken apart and put together with a new frame either. They painstakingly crafted each piece for the robot from scratch.

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Would You Let This Robot Stab You In The Arm?

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It’s called Veebot, and it would stab you to draw blood, of course. And no, it wouldn’t be a fun or horror driven blood drawing, but more of a medical thing, where the liquid ends up being used either in blood banks or tested for whatever disease you managed to infect yourself with. Designed by one Richard Harris, a Princeton alumni, the Veebot currently has about the same accuracy as a human, or about 83%, meaning it misses the vein 17% of the time. So what’s the point, you say? Well, for one, the robot is still being worked on and accuracy is expected to improve over time. Secondly, unlike humans, robots don’t get tired, so you could conceivably increase the efficiency of a blood drawing operation by having a fleet of bots working round the clock. Harris expects to increase accuracy to 90% within the next few months, and will start looking for funding to commercialize the project at that point. It’s a $9 billion market (yes… in the States at least, drawing blood is a ‘market’), so he may be on to something.

[ IEEE Spectrum ] VIA [ Walyou ]

Drone Waiter Serves UK Diners–Is A Tip Still Required?

Drone Waiter

Do the usual rules of tipping etiquette still apply when you’ve got a drone for a waiter? UK-based Yo Sushi has begun using iPad-controlled quadcopters to deliver meals to diners at the restaurant. The drone waiter, which is aptly called the iTray, is equipped with two high-definition cameras so that the cooking staff can see the reactions of the customers when their food arrives.

You can check out a video of the iTray in action after the break.

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Kooky Robots Let You Know If You Have Bad Breath or Stinky Feet

Sniffing Robots

Got bad breath and feet that can stink up an entire room? Then these robots will let you know. Developed by CrazyLabo and the Kitakyushu National College of Technology in Japan, the Kaori-chan and Shuntaro-kun robots will smell your breath and sniff your feet before letting you know just how much you’re stinking up the place. Kaori-chan will tell you what it thinks about your breath straight to your face, while Shuntaro-kun beats around the bush a little and shows you instead by either cozying up to you or losing consciousness.

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