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Gizmag's Dave Weinstein with the QA telepresence robot

As a race we humans probably only have a few years to make good use of robots before they become self aware and take over the world, so we need to get in while we can. One of these good uses is through robotic telepresence, which lets a user move and interact with a remote environment through a robotic proxy that serves as the user's eyes and ears and follows their commands. Judging by the impressive show put on at CES 2009 by the QA telepresence robot from California based company Anybots, life-sized robot surrogates are definitely starting to reach a level of technological feasibility that could make rushing to a plane to reach that important meeting a thing of the past.  Read More

Igarashi Design's riderless robotically controlled motorcycle

We're familiar with the soccer playing exploits of intelligent machines in Robocup and have been treated to a taste of what autonomous robotic systems are capable of in events like the DARPA Urban Challenge, but could a rider-less motorcycle robot compete with the speed demons of MotoGP? That's the vision of Japanese computer graphics designer Yutaka Igarashi who has conceived a new robotically controlled motorcycle design aimed at beating the lap time of a MotoGP bike around a circuit.  Read More

Your robotic twin can connect to the Internet and recite your RSS feeds

A Japanese company called Little Island will manufacture your own custom-made robotic doppelganger. The pint-sized bot is produced based on a picture you send in and at USD$2,215, it definitely overshoots the “novelty buy” demographic, aiming for the true-believer market that is really, really into robotics.  Read More

The Mars Organic Analyzer
 Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Mars Organic Analyzer, fresh from seeking evidence of life on the red planet, has taken a new job to assist life on Earth. The MOA has been modified by researchers in California to detect potentially carcinogenic molecules, providing valuable information in environmental cleanup sites.  Read More

K-9 the robot dog circa 2009

The latest winner in this round of the Trossen Robotics competition combines both of man's best friends - dogs and computers. Despite its high tech capabilities, the autonomous pooch dubbed K-9 looks suitably low-budget from the exterior in-line with its namesake from the original Dr. Who television series.  Read More

Roofus can be fitted with attachments to sweep, clean, or mow.

Here's an interesting idea for those readers out there facing bleak winter conditions to ponder. The Roofus robot concept will diligently wipe snow from rooftops, carting loads of up to 250kg to the edge and dumping it over the side. And though the concept designed by Michal Glogowski is primarily intended for work on icy surfaces, it can also be fitted with lawn mowing blades and sweeping attachments, making it a useful design throughout the whole year.  Read More

RIWEA hoists itself up the rotor blade of a wind turbine

Wind turbines, predominantly constructed from glass fiber reinforced plastics, are vulnerable to fractures and flaws that can be impossible for the human eye to detect - and even the cracks visible to humans can often only be spotted in a time-consuming and dangerous examination. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute say that their latest robot creation, RIWEA, can solve both problems to increase the overall efficiency of the wind energy system.  Read More

iRobot 2nd Generation Looj Gutter Cleaning Robot

January 9, 2009 Consumer robotics manufacturer iRobot is demonstrating the second generation Looj Gutter Cleaning Robot at CES, which is newsworthy in that the original model won last year’s 2008 Best of CES Innovations Award and it’s still the only product of its kind. The Looj, makes gutter cleaning faster (it can clean up to 60-foot of gutter in10 minutes), easier and safer by reducing ladder work and reaching in precarious positions. The new Looj comes in three models starting at US$130, and has been significantly redesigned with additional features that help it break up clogged leaves and debris and improve overall performance.  Read More

Lunacy Robot Game could inspire a generation

January 4, 2009 Lunacy is an international seat-of-the-pants learning game with the promise to inspire a generation. At yesterday’s Kick Off, 1700 international teams were given the rules and a kit of parts - motors, batteries, a control system, and a mix of automation components – but no instructions. The students have six weeks to design, build and program their robotic athlete ready for play on the low-friction playing surface. In each 135 second match, the robots score points by picking up 9" balls and dropping them in trailers hitched to their opponents. Lunacy ticks all the boxes for building important life skills – collaborative learning and adapting on the fly under deadline conditions with measurable results. With 42,000 high-school students from as far afield as Brazil, Germany, Israel, Turkey and the Philippines, the FIRST Robotics Competition is an evolving engineering talent showcase with the potential to become a TV sport with the international appeal to rival F1 one day. FIRST also runs the FIRST LEGO League for 9-14 year-olds, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. The aim of this life-changing program is to inspire young people to become individual economic stimulus packages and pursue opportunities in science and technology.  Read More

49-foot tall ASIMO rolls into California

Although first and foremost a platform for humanoid robotic development, Honda's ASIMO has increasingly found itself in a PR role in recent times - a World tour, conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and a Disneyland stage show have all been on the agenda for the stair climbing, hand shaking bot. In its latest gig, a gargantuan 49-foot tall ASIMO float will greet onlookers at the upcoming Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.  Read More

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