Friday, October 21, 2005

Manus-I Humanoid Robot

Talk about cool robots! Robhatah's Manus-I is humanoid soccer-playing robot with a couple of international victories under its belt, with functionality that includes visual-tracking and walking towards colored targets, dynamic walking, obstacle avoidance, climbing stairs, and getting up from a seated position. Also interesting about this robot is it’s a fully modularized and open architecture platform, so developers can modify and add new features. Robhatah provides technical support to students and researchers on projects involving modding the Manus-I, as well. via Engadget.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Domestic robot debuts in Japan

A robot that recognises up to 10 faces and understands 10,000 words is being offered to Japanese consumers looking for a high-tech helper in the house. The one-metre tall Wakamaru robot is being marketed as a mechanical house-sitter and secretary. Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has launched the robots in September '05. "This is the opening of an era in which human beings and robots can co-exist," the company said. The company says the robot can watch over homes while the owners are away, alerting them to possible burglaries. It can also apparently help monitor the condition of a sick person. It looks kinda sad though. via BBC

Robotic fish make aquarium debut

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The three newest inhabitants at the London Aquarium move like all others in nearby tanks, but the brightly colored fish are robots. Created by robotics experts from Essex University, east of London, the creatures move around the tank like real fish, but unlike previous attempts at robotic fish, these are not pre-programmed. Instead, they have sensor-based controls, meaning they move around the tank, avoiding objects and other fish, and reacting to their environment as a real fish would. The robot fish was made with an aim to educate the public on the capabilities of robots. They say that the robot can be used in the ocean as well. via, CNN

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Da Vinci System heads for... the prostate

Robots have proven to outperform humans when it comes to steadiness, accuracy and repeatability. With doctors growing increasingly dependant on robots to deliver better surgical results and fewer side effects - robotic doctors are exploring new avenues. University of Pennysilvania used completely robotic surgery to successfully treat prostate cancer. Using the robot promises lesser pain, scars and side effects. Prostate cancer is known to be the second largest cause of death in America and is known to affect one in six american men. Does anyone have the worldwide figures? via Medgadget.com

Monday, October 10, 2005

Thought Controlled Robotic Arm

Scientists in the US have created a robotic arm that can be controlled by thought alone. Developed at the University of Pittsburgh, it has a fully mobile shoulder and elbow and a gripper that works like a hand. In early tests, monkeys had tiny probes inserted into their brains and had their limbs restrained - but were then able to manipulate the robotic arm. The inventors believe it could help people who have lost limb function. The mechanical arm research was described at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held this year in Washington DC. via BBC.

DARPA Grand Challenge WON !

PRIMM, Nevada (AP) -- Four robotic vehicles finished a Pentagon-sponsored race across the Mojave desert Saturday and achieved a technological milestone by conquering steep drop-offs, obstacles and tunnels over a rugged 132-mile course without a single human command. The vehicles, guided by sophisticated software, gave scientists hope that robots could one day wage battles without endangering soldiers. via CNN.

Ecobot eats flies to recharge

A robot designed by scientists at the University of the West of England will generate its own power by eating flies attracted to its human waste cargo. EcoBot II digests the flies in eight special fuel cells. The point behind the experiment is to create "release and forget" roving droids that are almost completely autonomous. via BBC.

Honda Asimo

Alright. This is one really good humanoid. ASIMO is able to walk in a manner which closely resembles that of a human being. Research and development on this project began in 1986 with millions spent on research and development. It walks in a smooth fashion which closely resembles that of a human being. Asimo is probably the most advanced humanoid robot in the world as yet and is HONDA's biggest brand ambassador. Robhatah's Manus-I is not far behind via Honda.com

Not for the weak hearted

Alright. I wont make u guess. The female in the pic is a robot. Unbelievable? She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner. She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe. So...Think u can fall in love with a robot? via BBC.

Ball Room Dancing Robot

Someone woke up with a brilliant idea and the result is this. A ballroom dancing robot. It sure knows a step or two and can dance pretty well. It cant fully replace girls as yet - but its a good start, isnt it? Btw... where are the legs? !!! via Engadget

I really like my REAL dog better

So... SONY thought you could do with some fun. And they came up with a neat product - the interactive and self learning AIBO. Its probably the best robotic dog u can get... but oh well, the real ones are just too loving to be replaced by motors, DSPs and cheap LEDs in the centuries to come. via Sony.net

Robotic Floor Cleaners

Thats right. We really shouldnt be spending our lives doing those boring houseworks. Afterall, arent robots supposed to make our lives better? Here's a robotic floor cleaner (sush... they say its a vacuum cleaner. I promise you, its not.) hard at work - so you can... well... relax.

Human Washing Machine :-)

The human washing machine pictured here looks like the ultimate fullbody spa. Its a new robotic lifter for the bedridden. The user can control the lifting robot with a remote and the device can move and place the user wherever s/he needs. Sensors make sure that the user is securely positioned on the lifter and stops moving if senses his/her unsafe placement. via nytimes.com

Packbot

Packbot is a war tested military robot, that a soldier can carry in his backpack. PackBot was first used by US ground troops in Afghanistan in 2002 to help clear caves and bunkers, search buildings and cross live anti-personnel minefields. They were used again in 2003 in Iraq in urban warfare scenarios, as well as in vehicle searches. via defense-update.com

Howzzat - Korean Robot Cop

You really, really do not want to put robots in charge of arresting people. The Koreans don’t seem to mind though. via Engadget

Robotic Doctors Getting Popular

Which would you rather have come to your hospital room: a doctor you’ve never met before, or a robot that lets you interact with your personal physician? A new study indicates that many patients would prefer the robot they know to the human they don’t know. The study, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and presented Saturday at the American Urological Association's annual meeting in San Francisco, focused on how patients reacted to a "rounding robot." Fifteen of the mobile robo-docs, manufactured by California-based InTouch Health, have been placed in hospitals and nursing homes nationwide.

Bionicle Man - 1998

Some doctors and engineers are also developing prosthetic (bionic) limbs that use robotic mechanisms. Dr. David Gow, of the Prosthetics Research and Development Team at Princess Margaret Rose Orthopaedic Hospital, made the first bionic arm called the Edinburgh Modular Arm System (EMAS) in 1998. See also the news article from BBC NEWS ONLINE and the bionic arm web page of the Princess Margaret Rose Orthopaedic Hospital. Campbell Aird, Scottish hotel owner, fitted with the world's first bionic arm (images from The Irish Times web site). via Adam's Robot Page

Da Vinci Robotic Surgeon

The da Vinci Surgical System consists of an ergonomically designed surgeon’s console, a patient-side cart with four interactive robotic arms, the high-performance InSite® Vision System and proprietary EndoWrist® Instruments. Powered by state-of-the-art robotic technology, the surgeon’s hand movements are scaled, filtered and seamlessly translated into precise movements of the EndoWrist Instruments. The net result: an intuitive interface with breakthrough surgical capabilities. via intuitivesurgical.com

Robotic Sculptor

Why spend days chipping away at a granite block when you can have a robot do ninety percent of the work for you? Studio Roc offers up its robots, computer controlled milling machines that can do the same amount of work in a matter of hours. They use either laser-scans of an original or prototype sculpture or a CAD file to direct the machines. Once the busywork is done a human artisan can put the final touches on by hand. This technology sees most of its use doing the busywork or changing the scale of a pieces for individual sculptors (present a ten-inch prototype and get a twenty-foot sculpture back), and with architects and contractors who want custom carvings but don’t feel like spending the time and money necessary for it to be done by actual people. Of course there are the common questions being asked, such as whether or not these pieces qualify as art and whether it’s ok to replace the craftsmen with machines (you know, the same questions people ask every time a new “art” technology comes out). Pretty soon it will just be the way things are done. via Engadget

Robotic Assembly lines

Nothing new to us. Tireless, precision robots hard at work. No loo breaks. No complaints. 24/7 work. What do we get? Beautiful luxury cars ! When doing a job, robots can do many things faster than humans. Robots do not need to be paid, eat, drink, or go to the bathroom like people. They can do repetative work that is absolutely boring to people and they will not stop, slow down, or fall to sleep like a human. "Industrial robots spot weld automobile bodies on an assembly line" (from National Geographic, July 1997). via Adam's Robot Page

NASA Mars Rover

As the rovers keep journeying across the surface of Mars, scientists are busy churning out journal articles that herald the new discoveries revealed by their robot geologist partners. via NASA

Robots for Exploration

People are interested in places that are sometimes full of danger, like outer space, or the deep ocean. But when they can not go there themselves, they make robots that can go there. The robots are able to carry cameras and other instruments so that they can collect information and send it back to their human operators. The "Odyssey IIb" submersible robot is shown suspended in a tank. It was developed by research scientists at M.I.T. for ocean exploration. The inset shows the "Sojourner" microrover robot being repaired at the Jet Propulsion Labs. Sojourner landed on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1998 (from National Geographic, July 1997). via Adam's Robot Page

Early Industrial Robots

The first modern industrial robots were probably the "Unimates", created by George Devol and Joe Engleberger in the 1950's and 60's. Engleberger started the first robotics company, called "Unimation", and has been called the "father of robotics."

The person on the right is Joe Engleberger

via Adam's Robot Page

General Electric Walking Truck - 1960s

General Electric Walking Truck. A human controlled the stepping of this robot by pushing pedals with his feet. The complicated coordination of movements within a leg and between different legs during stepping was controlled by a computer (from Wickelgren, 1996). via Adam's Robot Page

Early Robots - 1940s & 50s

One of the first robots was the clepsydra or water clock, which was made in 250 B.C. It was created by Ctesibius of Alexandria, a Greek physicist and inventor. The earliest remote control vehicles were built by Nikola Tesla in the 1890's. Tesla is best known as the inventor of AC electric power, radio (before Marconi), induction motors, Tesla coils, and other electrical devices. Other early robots (1940's - 50's) were Grey Walter's "Elsie the tortoise" ("Machina speculatrix") and the Johns Hopkins "beast." "Shakey" was a small unstable box on wheels that used memory and logical reasoning to solve problems and navigate in its environment. It was developed by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Palo Alto, California in the 1960s. via Adam's Robot Page

Issac Asimov

The word "robotics" also comes from science fiction - it first appeared in the short story "Runaround" (1942) by Isaac Asimov. This story was later included in Asimov's famous book "I, Robot." The robot stories of Isaac Asimov also introduced the idea of a "positronic brain" (used by the character "Data" in Star Trek) and the "three laws of robotics." Later, he added the "zeroth" law. Three (plus one) Laws of Robotics: * Law Zero: A robot may not injure humanity, or, though inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. * Law One: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, unless this would violate a higher order law. * Law Two: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would confict with a higher order law. * Law Three: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with a higher order law. The person on the left is Asimov. via Adam's Robot Page

The very first concept - Robot

The word "Robot" comes from the 1921 play "R.U.R." (Rossum's Universal Robots) by the Czech writer Karel Capek (pronounced "chop'ek"). "Robot" comes from the Czech word "robota", meaning "forced labor." Karel Capek died just after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, before the Gestapo (the German secret police) could get to him. The play was a great success when it opened in the U.S. The word "robotics" also comes from science fiction - it first appeared in the short story "Runaround" (1942) by Isaac Asimov. This story was later included in Asimov's famous book "I, Robot." The robot stories of Isaac Asimov also introduced the idea of a "positronic brain" (used by the character "Data" in Star Trek) and the "three laws of robotics." via Adam's Robot Page