While Panasonic's legal department may be cringing at the prospect, this shampoo-bot appears to be headed straight for market, where it can relieve busy stylists from the need to also perform shampoos, while providing customers with more thorough shampoos and less water in the eyes. Add a sanitization cycle to keep from passing germs and parasites from one customer to the next (if it doesn't already have one), and it just might be marketable as is.
The Mediated Matter Group within the MIT Media Lab, is dedicated to the development and application of novel processes that enable and support the design of physical matter, and its adaptability to environmental conditions in the creation of form. One of their projects, CNSILK: Computer Numerically Controlled Silk Cocoon Construction, explores the design and fabrication potential of silk fibers—inspired by silkworm cocoons—for the construction of woven habitats. While the material being applied in the above video may not be silk, the principles being applied to wrapping it around the interior of a tension-providing frame remain the same. Phys.org has more detail.
Hannover Messe, the world's biggest industrial fair, took place April 23rd through 27th. Among the many exhibits there were Festo's ExoHand, which connects a glove, with an attached exoskeleton containing sensors, to a robotic hand with a very nearly duplicate exoskeleton, operated by pneumatic actuators. The robotic hand mimics the movements of the glove, but can do so with amplified force.
The video above shows the action of a gear-and-lever assembly designed to operate the legs of the TE+ND Rover, a gardening robot which will be on display at the Bay Area Maker Faire, May 19th & 20th. In the last week we have also been treated to another peek into the continuing drama of Q.bo's exploration of its environment, as one Q.bo meets another, and a pair of robot arms one of which draws pictures while the other holds the drawing surface. (videos after the break)
We recently received an announcement of a Mecanum-wheeled kit available from Nexus Robot (a.k.a. or at least co-located with Nexus Automation Ltd., possibly renamed due to a conflict with Nexus Automation GmbH). At first glance the announcement seemed to refer to a new product, however the product page on their website merely calls it a "special". I was unable to determine just how special since the online order system wouldn't work for me (perhaps you need an account first) and the price doesn't appear elsewhere. Nevertheless, these minor irritations which may simply be growing pains aside, and to judge from the collection of videos posted to YouTube last year by nexusrobot, the engineering side of this company seems quite competent, leading me to suspect that we'll all be hearing from them again. Nexus Robot is located in Dongguan, China, about midway between the urban center of Guangzhou and the port city of Shenzhen.
The 2012 VEX Robotics World Championship is over and I've returned with hundreds of photos. This year's championship was held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. Last year, VEX cohosted several other events including BEST competitions, a Coast Guard robot contest, and a Boy Scount merit badge event. This year it was all VEX, all the time. The special guests were Nobel Prize winning physicist Dr. Douglas D. Osheroff, Dave Lavery of NASA, and Miral Kotb's dance troupe iLuminate. Read on for more photos and coverage of the event.
President Obama arrived in Boulder today, primarily to deliver a speech at the University of Colorado in support of extending the halving of student loan interest rates, currently due to expire July 1st. But before repairing to the Coors Events Center to deliver that speech, he made a quick visit to The Sink (locally famous because Robert Redford worked there while attending CU). The President made the rounds of those inside and then stepped outside to discover that a crowd had gathered around the restaurant. In that crowd was one of the team members from Orbotix, who had with him a Sphero robotic ball, which he demonstrated. He then turned the controller (iPhone?) over to President Obama, who tried it out for himself.
In the above video, posted by WillowGaragevideo, Adam Stambler, a student at Rutgers University, who spent last summer working at Willow Garage, explains how rosserial can help alleviate the need for writing new drivers from scratch when attaching new hardware or assembling a new machine.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has announced the near-term availability of a trio of field retrofits for the Predator B (MQ-9 Reaper) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Taken together, these enhancements increase the endurance of the Reaper from 27 to 42 hours, or, without the extended wings, from 27 to 37 hours. The upgrades consist of stronger landing gear, underwing fuel pods, and longer wings that take the wingspan to 88 feet. (via Danger Room)
If you are even remotely interested in robotics you should be aware of the new DARPA Robotics Challenge competition that aims to push the boundaries of rescue robots and especially humanoids. Davide Faconti and Icarus Technology are setting up a team in order to compete at the top-level “Track A” part of the competition where the participants create both the software and the hardware platform for the challenge. The task is quite ambitious but the team is very experienced having already a range of operational humanoid robots.
Also an interesting aspect is the goal to make both the software and the hardware open source.
Currently there is an open call for participation towards everyone with the skills to be a part of such a project. It is a great opportunity for roboticist to participate at DARPA’s Robotics Challenge! You can find more information here
Posted 19 Apr 2012 at 01:06 UTC (updated 19 Apr 2012 at 01:11 UTC) by IKE_RobotsPodcast
This is the Mobot, a low cost modular robot made by Barobo. Every module has wheels at each end and two hinges at its center. It can be combined with others easily with a simple snap connector and it can be programmed and configured with a graphic UI or directly with C/C++. The modules can perform complicated tasks, like walking, crawling, grabbing objects and more. They are available for pre-order and they will cost $270 each.
Barobo is a company founded by Harry Cheng, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis and his former graduate student, Graham Ryland, in 2011. They developed the technology and patents for this project which is now licensed to Barobo by the University. The company recently received a National Science Foundation small business innovation research Phase I grant of $150,000. You can find more information at Flexibility Envelope, UC Davis and of course Barobo.com .