After a decade on the market, the Roomba
has become the most well-recognized brand in robotic vacuum cleaners and a staple of many households. But while iRobot has improved the Roomba's filtering, suctioning, and collision detection over the years, actually controlling the vacuum has been left to its automated systems. Now iRobot has released the Roomba 790, which gives you direct control of the robo-vac's movement and settings remotely with a new Wireless Command Center.
iRobot, the company behind household helpers, such as the Roomba
, and military and police robots, such as the PackBot
, has released an updated version of its Warrior 700
robot. Like its predecessor, the newly launched 710 Warrior is designed for EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), reconnaissance and surveillance missions and can lift loads of up to 220 lbs (100 kg) and carry payloads of more than 150 pounds (68 kg) over rough terrain.
Robots are a perfect tool to provide soldiers in the field with “eyes” on a potentially hazardous situation without placing themselves in harm’s way. With soldiers often operating in difficult terrain or entering buildings, the easiest way to get such robots into place is to throw them. Currently, many units use a small tactical robot called the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle 320 that is equipped with video reconnaissance technology. However, this robot weighs 32 pounds (14.5 kg) so the call has been put out for a lighter robot that is more easily transportable by dismounted units on the move and is able to be thrown into forward locations such as buildings and caves. To this end, the U.S. military is set to put three different types of lightweight, “throwable” robots through a series of combat assessments in Afghanistan.
While creating robotic grippers to pick up objects that are all the same shape and consistency is relatively easy, difficulties arise when trying to create one versatile enough to handle a wider variety of objects. The flexibility of the human hand has led many robotics researchers to borrow the familiar four finger and opposable thumb
template that has served us so well, but getting the robotic hand to exert enough force to grip a variety of objects without breaking the more fragile ones is still a difficult task. For this reason a team of researchers has bypassed the traditional human hand and fingers design to create a versatile gripper using everyday coffee grounds and a latex party balloon.
Some things are just made for each other…bread and butter, coffee and cream, maple syrup and waffles, robot vacuum cleaner and wireless camera…wait a minute, that last one doesn’t sound like a match made in heaven. But this robot vacuum cleaner with an IP WiFi enabled camera could prove me wrong. This little dynamo not only keeps your floors clean, you can direct it to vacuum from your holiday destination and even use it to communicate - or keep an eye on - your family back home.
We’ve looked at robots that use a variety of ways to get around, from caterpillar treads
, to wheels
and even combustion-driven pistons
. But the title of weirdest (not to mention unsettling) method of robot propulsion we’ve come across has to go to the shape-shifting ChemBot from iRobot. The ChemBot, which looks more like the Blob than most people’s preconceived ideas of what a robot should be, moves around by changing its shape in a process its creators call, “jamming skin enabled locomotion.”
The new iRobot Warrior 700 robot looks like the (much) bigger brother of the company’s PackBot
. In fact the Warrior is a much larger, more powerful platform designed to deliver, well, PackBots (among other missions). The Warrior 700 can carry a PackBot at the end of an articulated arm, and insert the it through a window for reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal, rescue, or other missions.
March 26, 2009 When consuming your five a day of fruit and vegetables, have you ever stopped to consider the back breaking labor and significant resources involved in their production? According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratories (CSAIL
), the robotic, computerized answer to minimizing these factors could be just around the corner. Students at the laboratory have undertaken a project that utilizes robots to take the thinking and manual labor out of producing specialty crops such as fruit and vegetables.
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.
Best known to Gizmag readers for its range of home helper bots, iRobot is now expanding its line-up to include the growing need for public safety robots. The new iRobot
Negotiator is a low-cost, tactical robot designed to meet the basic reconnaissance needs of public safety professionals, such as police and fire departments, counter-terrorism forces and domestic security experts.