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Tag Archives: Robotics

CHARLI-2 Robot Dances Gangnam Style

Yeah, yeah, dancing robots are a dime a dozen. But CHARLI-2 here isn’t a $50 desk toy from Japan, it’s Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory darling, and the U.S. Navy’s “forerunner for creating a Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) that could work with human sailors to battle fires aboard warships at sea.” This little guy’s got some serious tech on him, but in the video above, no one really cares. CHARLI-2 puts the moves on to a little tune known as Gangnam Style… maybe you guys have heard of it? (please note sarcasm) Anyway, it’s fun to watch. And as a top comment on that video says, “I? thought Humans dancing like robots wre cool, but robots dancing like humans is the new thing.”

By the way, that song’s up to 532 million views. That’s… just nuts.

[ CHARLI-2’s Homepage ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

The Double Mates An iPad With A Segway

Telepresence. That’s what this is about. The Double takes an iPad, puts it on a long stick, attaches it all to a set of self-balacing wheels and creates a telepresence robot that lets you “be there” without being there. You control it from a distance with yet another iPad, and your face (or whatever) is broadcast to the screen on the Double so that people can see you. The height is adjustable, and there are kickstands when it isn’t being used so that energy is conserved. Driving the bot around is a simple matter of pressing on some D-pad like controls. The battery should last about 8 hours on a 2 hour charge.

The Double is useful for a bunch of things, like bossing your employees around the office, creeping kids in the neighbourhood (good way of getting your iPad stolen though), and going on dates. It’s $2,000, but the first batch sold out, so now you have to wait until 2013.

Hit the jump for a video of The Double in action, as well as links.

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We Have A Rover On Mars! And Here’s Two Nerdy Facts About It You May Not Know Yet

It never ceases to amaze us that what is essentially a species of really successful primates is able to launch a rocket into space, have it travel around 350 million miles and land on Mars, pretty much right where it wants it. The logistics, engineering, science and all around awesomeness required to do this is just mind boggling. Even more amazing is that the descent of this rover on an otherworldly land is then captured in images by a satellite this same species of primates placed there a few years prior! The above picture, in case you haven’t seen it yet, is just that: NASA’s Curiosity rover descending towards Mars’ surface as captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the red planet since 2006.

The touchdown, as you surely know, was flawless; news of this has been pretty hard to miss. But there are two (pretty geeky) factoids about the mission you may not have heard in the media yet: what’s Curiosity’s brain and what does it have to do with Apple, and what’s the image file type it’s transmitting in? For the answer to these questions, hit the jump.

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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…