Robotics Technology Center Robotics for Developers Tue, 13 Jul 2010 02:48:15 +0000 en hourly 1 RoboticsTechnologyCenter i-Fairy Officiates A Japanese Wedding Tue, 13 Jul 2010 02:40:52 +0000 John i-fairy-weds-couple

In May, a couple in Japan was wed by a robot priest named "i-Fairy".

i-Fairy was first seen at the CES 2010 in Las Vegas early this year. According to the company's representative, the robot can be “programmed with the user’s voice and accompanying body gestures that give the I-FAIRY a more natural feel when used for museum guide work”.

See video below.

Their love story began when Tomohiro Shibata saw the i-Fairy and bought the 4-foot robot from Satoko Inoue's company, Kokoro Ltd, who created the i-Fairy machines. With the two sharing the same interest and love for robots, got married and had their own i-Fairy to officiate their most celebrated and media-covered wedding of the year.

The I-Fairy was remotely controlled by one of the couple's friends at the 50-guest wedding. It talks, and has 18 joints in its arms.

Click here to read more about the i-Fairy, Robot Priest

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PR2 Sees, PR2 Does More Fri, 09 Jul 2010 08:00:05 +0000 John The first time I covered the story about PR2, was when he did multiple folding at a time.

Last May, Willow Garage has announced PR2's Beta Program. And since it’s open source you can expect that PR2 will become more and more useful and functional in many ways, at work, play or rest.

Now, PR2 can do more than just fold towels! He can fetch some beers from the fridge;

plays billiard and beats opponent in 5 days.

The goal is to produce numerous new ROS libraries that other robots running in ROS will be able to use to do multiple tasks from the laundry to the dishes. And other things you might like to add.

Click here to read more about PR2, PR2 Beta Program

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Robot Fish Leads School Mon, 07 Jun 2010 08:51:41 +0000 John Robot-Fish

A robot fish leading a school of salmon? That's absurd!

There is nothing new to robot fish being let alone to swim in a pool or an ocean. But leading a school of fish is rather extraordinary.

We know that fishes are hard to catch and even harder to tame. But this robot fish developed at the NYU-Poly’s Dynamical Systems Laboratory, does the job seamlessly.

The researchers, headed by Professor Maurizio Porfiri, were able to determine that fishes decide to school or not based on visual signals as well as water conditions. If the conditions are favorable, they will school and choose a leader that's big and decisive, even if it's a robot!

So you decide. If you have this kind of fish, would you rather use the robot fish to fish for your dinner or use it for aid ecological concerns?

Watch this video, and you'll be amazed.

Click here to read more about Robot Fish, Artificial Intelligent Fish

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Qbo: Artificial Intelligence at Home Mon, 31 May 2010 03:54:02 +0000 John Qbo-medium

Another open-source platform is currently on the rise. The Corpora, is opening up its doors to robot enthusiasts and developers alike to make enhancements to their Qbo robot.

Qbo, is an artificial intelligent robot purposely built for home use. Initially, the creator (name not revealed yet) plans to develop a robot that functions like a pet. Something that's a source of inspiration. But what would inspire most a creator? Of course his creation.

Because of the flexibility of the algorithm, the creator, decided to add some more features.. (which are becoming endless).

(below is an excerpt from Qbo’s concept and design, The Corpora blog)

Some of Qbo’s “current” skills:

Stereoscopic vision: webcam calibration (2), depth, face, objects and colours recognition, face and object tracking, map generating (under development)

Speech Recognition System Speech Synthesis System: it offers a general framework for building speech synthesis systems. Only available in English at the moment.

The Corpora’s API: Developed to interact with the hardware components of the robot and third parties’ software.

WEB control panel: the robot is accessible through web explorer.

Internet connection through a WIFI controller placed in the head. Real-time software and firmware update.

Obstacles: the robot avoids crashes and falls thanks to ultrasound sensors.

Autocharging: auto-charge battery (testing and developing phase)

You could just imagine, how Qbo will evolve into a more intelligent and specialized robot when it's finally opened to the public for more tweaking.

Click here to read more about Qbo, Artificial Intelligent Robot

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MABEL: A Bipedal Robot Walks Naturally With no Camera Tue, 25 May 2010 00:47:20 +0000 John mabel

Mabel, a bipedal robot is unlike any other walking robots, ASIMO and QRIO mainly because it can walk on uneven terrain more efficiently.

We know that ASIMO and QRIO are built with flexible and strong material and motors to walk and run. However, what makes MABEL different from these two other bipedal robots is that it uses motors for the "knee joints" connected via springs. Such that, when the robot hits an uneven ground, its knees flex or simply jumps with the springs.

Similarly, MABEL's torso is made up of cables and pulleys connected via springs. The spring works like an animal's leg tendon. According to the researchers, lead by Jessy W. Grizzle of the Professor in the Control Systems Laboratory of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department within the College of Engineering at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, MABEL has "roughly the morphology of a human with the compliance (spring-like character) of the Raibert hopper" which makes the robot run smoothly like a human. (Watch the video below)

In addition to its physical features, MABEL does not rely on cameras to detect or determine the surface of the ground, instead it uses a dynamic "natural gait" that’s able to flex on uneven surfaces as she walks or runs on them.

In the coming months or so, MABEL's complete blueprint will be available on the web for students to use as a science platform for the further discovery of more sophisticated feedback control mechanisms for advanced dynamic movement stabilization.

Click here to read more about MABEL, Bipedal Robot without Camera

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Robocup2010: Pre-Finals Fri, 14 May 2010 13:09:23 +0000 John robocup_japan

Robocup 2010 willl be held in Singapore in June.

But pre-qualification finals are on-going everywhere early on this year to screen hundreds of robot participants. In the latest “RoboCup Japan Open 2010″, we saw several enthusiastic robot owners all wanting to win a place for the finals.

One of of the event, the biggest robot soccer tournament in the world was participated by 225 teams from all over the world. Among them, played the soccer playing humanoid which competed in the adult size class (robots that stand between 130 and 160cm tall).

This robot was jointly developed by Professor Asada’s lab at Osaka University and the Osaka Institute of Technology. It has 22 joints and uses a servo motor (placed in its torque: 327kg/cm).

However, gauging from the video itself, you'll see that the developers have a lot more things to do in order for them to take a piece of the cup in the finals.

Here are two videos, courtesy of Crunchgear.

Click here to read more about Robocup 2010 Singapore, Robocup Open 2010 Japan

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Iron Man in the Real World: Top 5 Exoskeletons Thu, 13 May 2010 08:30:12 +0000 John Have you watched the latest film "Iron Man"? Maybe while watching or even after watching it, you've wished you had the same super strength to overcome your weakness.

Great news! The Iron Man does exist in the real world but of course you have to cash in hundreds or thousands of dollars to get one. But don't get me wrong. I am not talking of the "Iron Man" mask or his robotic outfit; I am talking of the Exoskeletons that will get you working several times longer and faster without exerting your own strength.

Here are the top 5 Exoskeleton Robots you might want to check out.

1. Raytheon Sarcos Exoskeleton

Mostly dubbed as the "Iron Man", Raytheon Sarcos Exoskeleton is basically designed for military purposes. Developed by Sarcos (bought by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Massachusetts), this robot could enable soldiers to carry heavy loads and run tirelessly over long distance.

2. Human Assistive Limb Exoskeleton (HAL)

The HAL or Human Assistive Limb Exoskeleton is a "cyborg" robot programmed to assist persons with mobility problems, in rehabilitation, and for heavy lifting.

3. Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC)

Developed by Berkley Bionics in Berkley, Calif., the HULC or Human Universal Load Carrier is a wearable robot exoskeleton for the legs and was primarily designed to make stronger, more durable soldier.

4. Honda Experimental Walking Assist Device

It's like running while sitting (or the other way around?) The Honda exoskeleton lets users to sit down in a saddle-like seat and hook their feet into two shoes attached to artificial limbs. And running will be much easier.

5. MIT Exoskeleton

The last but not the least, the MIT Exos is designed to utilize a minimum amount of power and weigh less than other robotic exos.

Click here to read more about exoskeleton-collage-825x533

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U.S. Air Force X37B Space Plane has Finally been Launched! Wed, 12 May 2010 09:53:11 +0000 John X37B

Originally a NASA's project, the X37B Space Plane has made its first launch on the runway of the U.S. Air Force, as an unmanned robotic orbital test vehicle.

We first heard the news about this old spacecraft way back in October 2009. And after many years of engineering works, X-37B space plane has finally sky-rocketed last April 23, 2010 aboard the Atlas V rocket, 4 days late than scheduled.

The 29-foot-long, 15-foot-wide and 11,000 pounds Orbital Test Vehicle is set to perform several tasks as part of its initial mission. The Air Force will measure the guidance, navigation, thermal protection, and unmanned operations of the X-37B in orbit, re-entry, and landing.

The robotic space plane will work similar to other satellites in space, with operators on Earth controlling its paths. After completing certain tests withiin the targeted number of days (270) in space, the Air Force will then command the space plane to return home.

"Upon being given the command to return to Earth, the X-37B will automatically descend through the atmosphere and land on the designated runway. There is no one on the ground with a joystick flying it," said Lt. Col. Troy Giese, the X-37B systems program director, in a statement.

Click here to read more about X37B Space Plane and Orbital Test Vehicle

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Chinese Robot Sketch Artist At Work Fri, 23 Apr 2010 18:03:02 +0000 John Chinese Robot Artist

The Science and Technology Museum in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality presented a brand new Chinese drawing robot. The museum received 20,000 visitors in just 3 days alone. But unfortunately the name of the robot’s maker was not mentioned. Though the robot looks like it’s drawing naturally, but actually it’s not. The robot’s drawing arm appears to operate more like a printer than a human hand. It makes the replica by stippling in a horizontal fashion.

Click here to read more about Chinese Robot Sketch Artist.

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Drozid: the tune-playing, gun-toting, unmanned autonomous mini-fridge Fri, 23 Apr 2010 17:45:40 +0000 John Drozid

Drozid is a mini-fridge mounted on what looks like the chassis of an electric wheelchair. On top of the cooler, there's a boombox, laser scope-equipped BB gun, and a robotic arm, which can hand you a cold one and your change.

It also appears to have some obstacle avoidance capabilities. It has a front-mounted camera for POV monitoring from the inventor's remote compound. The man behind this wonderful invention, also the one controlling it, is Shawn (no family name stated). He is also working on "a micro-controller brain with ultra sonic sensors.

Click here to read more about Drozid.

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