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Robotics

Pinokio, the robotic desk lamp, searches for faces to track once it's been turned on

Luxo Jr, the adorable little lamp that appears in the Disney Pixar logo, illustrates how animators can breathe life into mundane inanimate objects. Now, robotics technology allows us to do the same thing in real life, as shown by a trio from the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Using a combination of readily available robotics and automated manufacturing technology, mixed with open-source software, they were able to grace a desk lamp with a little personality.  Read More

Two impressive hobby robot projects from Japan show what is possible with current consumer...

Kenji Ishida, a hobbyist known for building impressive Transformer-like robots, has shared some new videos of his project on YouTube. Likewise, a robot based on the virtual J-POP idol Hatsune Miku has surfaced that shows what is possible when you combine the current crop of hobby robot servos with hard work and dedication. Don't miss the videos after the break!  Read More

This light-avoiding robot is made from a combination of ATOMS and craft materials

Michael Rosenblatt, design lead behind the first iPod touch, has a point to make about toys. Not all toys. Just the best kind: the ones that enable children (and grown-ups, let's be honest) to create things, be it from LEGO, K-NEX, crayons, paints or Play-Doh. The thing is, they're generally a little on the inert side. With ATOMS from ATOMS Express Toys, Rosenblatt is hoping to redress the balance with a series of modules that can be fitted to other toys (including LEGO) to effectively turn them into moving and sensing robots.  Read More

The Social Drink Machine is a robotic bartender that takes your order via Facebook or Twit...

Robofun, which bills itself as the largest open-source hardware store in Romania, has built a robotic bartender called The Social Drink Machine. It takes its inspiration from another recently created "botender," The Inebriator, which the team at Robofun felt could be improved with a social media interface. They built their own robot from scratch in just 10 days and added Facebook and Twitter apps that let you order drinks from a mobile phone.  Read More

A test subject teaches the PR2 robot how to fold a t-shirt through demonstration

Don't believe what the sci-fi movies tell you: when it comes to understanding our world, robots are stupid. Like computers, robots only do what we program them to do. And that's a big problem if we're ever going to realize the dream of practical robot helpers for the masses. Wouldn't it be great if anyone could teach a robot to perform a task, like they would a child? Well, that's precisely what Maya Cakmak has been working on at Willow Garage.  Read More

The complete Robi robot can be assembled from parts that come with each magazine issue

The Japanese arm of De Agostini, an Italian-based publishing house known worldwide for magazines that drip feed buyers model components on a weekly basis, has chosen something a bit different for its latest offering. Instead of the traditional model car or boat, the company is letting subscribers build their own robot. After 70 issues, which cost JPY¥1,990 (US$25) apiece, buyers will have a fully assembled Robi that stands 13.4 inches (34 cm) tall and weighs just 2.2 pounds (1 kg).  Read More

Hinamitetu's Horizontal Bar Gymnast Robot 'sticks' a perfect landing

After years of trial and error, a Japanese hobbyist has built a gymnast robot that can perform a somersault off a horizontal bar in his living room and stick the landing. The man, who goes by the handle Hinamitetu on YouTube, built the first version of the robot out of boredom after being laid off from a job back in 2010. Since then, the robot has gone through twelve revisions. Although somewhat crudely made, the robot incorporates sensors to automatically clamp onto the bar, and an accelerometer to determine when to let go.  Read More

The PatrolBot Mark II shows an unsuspecting garden sculpture who's boss

Steve Norris, a software engineer with a knack for robotics, has built himself a remote-controlled robot in his spare time that could give professional bots a run for their money. The aptly titled PatrolBot Mark II trundles around on wheels and sends its operator a live video feed from its night vision camera. Of course, being a hobby project it isn't designed to be dangerous – but its 100-db car horn and water gun might put a scare into trespassing raccoons.  Read More

A magnetic capsule robot made primarily out of soft elastomer developed at CMU's Nanorobot...

Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU's) Nanorobotics Laboratory has received US$787,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, which will be matched by CMU, to develop a squishy robotic capsule that can be controlled while inside the body. The capsule could replace invasive endoscopes by performing camera imaging, drug injection, tissue sampling, and more.  Read More

The TechJect Dragonfly fits in the palm of a hand

Given their impressive flight capabilities, it’s not surprising to see researchers turning to the world of flying insects for inspiration when developing new kinds of micro UAVs. With their ability to both fly at high speeds and hover, the dragonfly would seem an obvious candidate for biomimicry. But with the exception of the DelFly, we hadn’t seen many attempts to model a micro UAV on the dragonfly’s four wing design. That could be changing with a multi-disciplinary team from Georgia Tech having developed a robotic four-winged ornithopter called the TechJect Dragonfly that fits in the palm of a hand and combines the flight capabilities of a quadricopter, helicopter and fixed wing aircraft in one.  Read More

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