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Tag Archives: Robotics

Meet Romo, The Smartphone Robot

This has been out for some time now, but we’re just now stumbling across it. It’s called Romo and is a robotic dock for your Android or iOS smartphone. It’s got two treads and is able to roam around the house. But that’s just the start. Depending on the application running on it, you can also use the front facing camera on your phone and turn Romo into a spybot. If there’s music playing in your house, it’ll “dance” to it. Also a new application for Android devices lets you draw on Romo’s face and the little bot will follow the path you draw. The best part about Romo is that the company is young and is seeking developers to expand its capabilities. Anything it’s able to do depends on what application your phone is running when docked, so stay tuned for for more exciting developments from that front. In the meantime, if you want to get your hands on yours right away, it’ll be $149.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ CoolMaterial ]

Zen Table Draws In The Sand For You

By David Ponce

If you’ve ever strayed into the household section of a bookstore, you might have seen those little zen gardens with the rake and the sand and the claims to inner peace and all that jive. The Zen Table you see above is centered around a similar concepts, but adds a fair bit of technology that simply makes it awesome instead of kitschy. See, it contains special sculpting sand, a robotic arm and a sculpting tip. This enables the device to create stunning images in the sand. What’s best is you decide what these images are. You can load the table with any bitmap and specialized software will convert this into a sculpting file. You’re then free to watch as the magic happens. If you watch the below video, you can see how this could be a crowd pleaser.

By the same token, if you’re buying this, you’re probably going to want to put it in the sort of the establishment that has crowds to begin with as it’s quite pricey. There’s a small-ish desktop version which comes as a kit or pre-assembled. This is $500 or $750 respectively. But the real coffee table… adds a zero to these figures, although it comes assembled in both cases. The $7,499 version might have been a Kickstarter only affair with special perks for early backers. Still, at $5,000, we see this in the waiting area of a fancy restaurant rather than someone’s living room.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

Creepy Video Of The Day: Animatronics Baby Needs To Not Exist

By David Ponce

What you see in the above video is an animatronics baby created by one Chris Clarke for some soap opera. It’s also an absolute abomination. The top YouTube comment sums it up best: “They’re cute at this age, until they grow up then go back in time to try to kill you.”

VIA [ GeeksAreSexy ]

You’ll Finally Be Able To Get Your Hands On A Keepon – For Just $40!

Keepon (Image courtesy BotJunkie)
By Andrew Liszewski

Over on our bot-obsessed sister site BotJunkie, Evan Ackerman seems pretty happy to have discovered that BeatBots, makers of the original $30,000 Keepon, are teaming up with the UK’s Wow! Stuff to finally produce a toy version called the ‘My Keepon.’ But what’s easily the most exciting part is that this version is going to sell for just £29.99, or about $40. So you won’t need to mortgage your house to buy one.

And while Wow! Stuff might be UK-based, they’ve already got a major US retailer lined up (who will be officially announced on February 14) so the My Keepon will be available internationally when it officially goes on sale. Now how closely the My Keepon will resemble and act like the Keepon Pro remains to be seen given the massive price discrepancy between the two, but Evan spoke to Dr. Michalowski about the toy, and was assured that they’re working hard to accurately reproduce the core functionality and look that has made the original Keepon so popular.

And if you’ve never seen Keepon in action before, I’ve included Evan’s interview with them at CES a couple of years ago which gives a good idea of what it can do, and how it came to be.

[ BeatBots – “My Keepon” from Wow! Stuff ] VIA [ BotJunkie ]

National Robotics Week Coverage On BotJunkie


By Evan Ackerman

Last week was National Robotics Week, and over on BotJunkie we posted a lot of great stuff, including a bunch of live event coverage. If you haven’t checked it out yet, here’s some highlights:

-Video of the first public demonstration of Stickybot III, the latest version of Stanford’s climbing robot that uses the same type of sticky material that gecko toes are made of to stick itself to a sheet of glass.

-Video from the back seat of Junior III, a robotic car that can drive (and park!) itself.

-Video demonstration of the world’s fastest industrial robot, the Adept Quattro, as it goes up against a moving platform controlled with a Wiimote.

There’s more coverage over on, so come check it out!

[ BotJunkie ]

Autonomous Bipedal Robot Built Out Of DNA

By Evan Ackerman

I don’t know enough about molecular biology for how this works to make any sense to me, but apparently, researchers at NYU have created an autonomous bipedal walking robot out of a single strand of DNA with a linkage in the middle. I’m going to just let them explain how it works:

The walking device consists of a strand of DNA that contains a 5’,5’ linkage in the middle. One leg is called L-E and the other is called L-O. It walks on a track consisting of a series of stem-loops (T1-T4) that are part of a stiff DX motif. It is fueled by a pair of successive stem-loops (F1 and F2) that are in solution. The driving force for its motion is the formation of more base pairs than exist at any given time. The system is shown below…

Read more at BotJunkie…

Neato Robotics XV-11 Robot Vacuum Uses Laser Mapping To Navigate, Will Be Available In US


By Evan Ackerman

We’re continually bemoaning the fact that the selection of practical robotic vacuums is extremely limited here in the US (although not so much elsewhere). Besides iRobot’s Roomba, you’ve got… Well, you don’t have much. Today, Neato Robotics (yep, their real name) unveiled the first new model of consumer robot vacuum we’ve seen in the US in quite a while: the XV-11.

Now, I hate to describe the XV-11 in terms of the Roomba, but for better or worse, that’s just kind of the way it is…

Read more at BotJunkie…

Cyborg Insects: Now Nuclear Powered


By Evan Ackerman

Even if you’ve got a micro air vehicle that provides its own power for thrust, like a Rhinoceros beetle with an implanted optical lobe stimulation controller, you still need power for the communication system itself. One ideal solution is to try and harvest electricity from the insect, but a more realistic approach (at the moment) might be a dependable long-life battery, and nothing is more dependable and long-life and potentially dangerous than a nuclear battery.

Don’t worry, it’s not at all dangerous…

Read more at BotJunkie… ]

Autom Will Help You Lose Weight, Says Not Eating Works For Her

Introducing Autom™ from Erica Young on Vimeo.

By Evan Ackerman

We first met Autom two years ago, back when she was a resident of the MIT Media Lab. Since then, she’s been significantly redesigned and her parent company, Intuitive Automata, is almost ready to unleash her upon the overweight world. Autom is sort of like your own personal weight loss coach, except she doesn’t annoy you by being human and in better shape than you are. Instead, she simply tracks your eating and exercise habits and talks to you about your daily progress. She’s able to figure out what works best for you and what doesn’t, adapting to your needs as they change. And she does a good job, apparently: people using Autom to help with their weight loss will keep to a diet and exercise routine for twice as long as people using more traditional methods…

Read more at BotJunkie