Robots and automations offer the potential to make life so much easier or more productive, by taking on the tasks that are difficult, or impossible for an individual to properly perform.
Ishikawa Komuro Lab's high-speed robot hand
In May 2009, the Ishikawa Komuro Lab in Japan, demonstrated the capabilities that robotic manipulation of objects had reached. They had created a three-finger robot arm, with tactile sensors on its fingers, with each finger capable of independent 180 x 180 x 360 motion. All three were connected to a high-speed machine vision camera.
The first of the Ahra series of robots was produced by KIST - the Korean Institute of Science and Technology - in 2005. This robot was identical in weight, height and body shape to the Mahru robots the institute also develops. However, there were some differences. Ahra's body was coloured orange and white instead of the blue and white of the Mahru series.
Robulab by name, sounds like it might be a form of robotic dog. Well, it is not. As the image above shows, its nothing so wildly interesting as that. Yet, what it is, represents something of a paradigm shift that is slowly taking place in the quest for more mainstream robotics.
The Roomba has been around a few years now. Developed by the iRobot corporation in 2002, it is essentially an autonomous robot vacuum cleaner. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the programmable turtle or logo bots used by universities throughout the 80s and 90s, the Roomba has become an iconic symbol of the robotics industry.
It seems that every electronics company is continually trying to one-up their competitors when it comes to semi-autonomous cleaning devices. Samsung Electronics is no exception. They have launched the Tango, to Asian markets only.
Twendy-One is what is described by its creators as "a human-symbiotic robot". Standing five feet tall, and weighing 245 pounds, Twendy is bristling with sensors and artificial muscles. Developed by by Sugano Laboratory, Department of Modern Mechanical Engineering, Waseda University, Japan, this robot is designed as a replacement for difficult to find and keep human care staff for elderly or infirm individuals.
Robotic Personal Assistance
An informative and easily approachable book on the near and long term potential future of robotics from MIT roboticist Rodney Brooks. In his professional life he is slightly obsessed with robot insects. However, in this tome all manner of robots are professionally discussed, with informed sources and a unique writing style.
High Tech Hunting Peters Out
Designed to enable disabled hunting, internet based animal hunting was co-opted for a couch-potato hunting technology in early 2005, allowing people to kill animals from the safety of their homes via a web-based flash interface.
Robots of the future unveiled
A news segment from Robo Business 2009 Conference and Expo in Boston, discussing where robotics at the time was heading.
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The concept of worker robots is schewing towards humanoid, legged beasts capable of assuming any human role. However, sometimes a much better result is achieved if you throw the human model out the window. KIVA is a warehouse management robot, which looks like many hundreds of separate little orange boxes. Yet, it is actually all one robot, each orange box serving like a tentacle, reaching out from the central mass.
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The book ? Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships? explores every level of human relationship with robots, and robot-like creatures, arguing in favour of intimate relationships with robots ? and likely commonplace within a lifetime.
A lavishly illustrated collection of short interviews with people from all over the field of robotics. The book is 240 pages long, but no one interview comprises more than four pages within it, interspaced with the illustrations.
To love or to abuse a robot?
Recently, two BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) journalists carried out an experiment with the self-teaching AI robot Pleo. A three minute concatenated video of the experiment is available, but only for IPs within the United Kingdom. To help counteract this issue, this article serves as a textual description of the effort and its results.
TweenBots could hardly be called high-tech. Yet, these adorable if dumb, throwaway robots have taught us much about the natuie of humans, and robot interaction.
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AIBO: The Little Dog that Couldn't
AIBO, or Artificial Intelligence roBOt, as the letters stand for, is not a brilliant acronym by any stretch of the imagination. It is essentially a robot dog, almost fully autonomous, but meant to hopefully replace man's best friend as the de-facto pet. It might just possibly have launched a few decades too early, to achieve that goal.
Large Image Display: The Stepford Wives: Robo Dog 3000
Here we see the lovable disaster area that is Robo Dog 3000. As we find out much later in the film, Robo is a cyborg, much like the other members of Stepford. AA champion terrier's brain plus a minimal life support system, is hidden inside that shell, and hooked to considerable neuroprosthetics. This allows the dog to behave and think like a normal dog, whilst appearing to be fully robotic.
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The Robovie 2 robot; a child-sized salesperson and basket carrying service for supermarkets.