January 26, 2006

SRL in Chinatown: Pictures

Here's some photos I took at Survivial Research Labs' Chinatown event. I wish I had more, but I came unprepared and Dragoon's GF, Jamie had a camera, but it was low on juice, and getting shots was hard anyways.


Sneaky soldiers on the ground, Giant dinosaur head in the sky. Chinese residents gawking from the balcony. The show is just getting going.


A robot lunges at our side of the crowd.


The same robot from before is burried under the toppled dinosaur robot. Burnt styrofome is heavy in the air.

[ Previously on igargoyle: SRL in Chinatown ]

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January 23, 2006

SRL in Chinatown


It's not often you go to an art show and leave feeling like you've lost a significant number of brain cells. Then again, it's not often you go to an art show and see jet engines, giant walking robots, fish cannons, and a huge styrofome dinosaur head on fire. The fumes from the burning styrofome kept my girlfriend away, but the giant machines kept me close to the action.

Regardless of the impact that the robotic colective known as SRL may or may not have on my future academic performance, getting to see their robotic mayhem in person was an experience I won't soon forget. I was warned not to stand where I was, but when the ajacent section with A-list bloggers and artists didn't move, I figured I was safe. Well SRL stands for Survival Research Labs, and SRL aims their research at their spectators, and how well they're able to survive the highly dangerous robotic creations. Almost all the wooden barriers, including the ones protecting the VIPs were slammed into by the robots and SRL's jet engine powered hovercraft, sending the crowds scrambing backwards for cover. I heard at least one person bragging about how he just had a near death experience.

I was truely amazed that the police and the fire department didn't show up to the small parking lot in the middle of los angeles' chinatown. There was noise, smoke, and huge numbers of people. Maybe it's just that the locals are more accustomed to fireworks, or maybe it's just that SRL puts on one hell of a show.

In any case, if you're in the LA area and missed the show, go check out Mark Pauline work with SRL, which is on display at Fringe Exhibitions from now to February 25.

Here's some youtube videos of the event. As soon as I have some video of my own I'll post that too.

[ Link to Xeni's Boing Boing post on her take and more photos/video ]

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January 09, 2006

Survival Research Labs at Fringe Exhibitions, LA

Everyone's favorite flamethrowing, tele-robotic, artistic group is coming once again to Los Angeles. Survival Research Labs (SRL)'s director Mark Pauline will be presenting his work at Fringe Exhibitions on Saturday, January 21, from 6 - 8 PM.

This exhibition will feature the newest addition to the SRL machine family- the Sneaky Soldiers- near life sized, remote controlled army of revolutionaries. Also included in the exhibition will be large-scale documentary images, and the premier of the video from SRL's recent show in Downtown Los Angeles. This video features the first invasion of the Sneaky Soldiers. The SRL commentary on the art of war debued a Sneaky Soldier emerging from an 18-foot tall wooden Trojan horse to face danger from large-scale destructive robots enduring the pain of flame and damage through a hail of sparks and projectiles. After the fog of war was lifted from the field of battle revealing mangled wrecks of machinery, the Sneaky Soldiers were gathered to be repaired to fight again another day. Similar to a real theater of war where battle takes place, these machines and props engage in a struggle for survival. Both the machines and operators expend intense energy creating an atmosphere of immediacy and choreographed chaos. Each of the eight soldiers has an individual number and distinct battle wounds from the performance. The Sneaky Soldier has been a recurring character in many SRL performances. The new Sneaky Soldier is a major technological improvement with a steel torso enclosing a battery powered, chain driven mechanism to create a crawling action.

Here's the address and phone number:

504 chung king court,
los angeles 90012
(213) 613-0160

[ Link via Dragoon ]

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January 06, 2006

CES Highlight: Mindstorm NXT


Mindstorms were the shit when it came to building small, yet totally functional robots, and LEGOS has just one upped themselves by totally rebuilding Mindstorm. Their new Mindstorm NXT is powered by a 32-bit microprocessor which can be programmed by a PC, as well as a Mac. No idea on Linux, but this thing can be programmed by either USB 2.0 or bluetooth- talk about sweetness.

While the thing is only on display currently at CES, you should be able to get it this August. That's a long time to wait, but for now you can see it in action.

[ Link via en gadget ]

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December 17, 2005

Roomba Hacking Specs Released

iRobot has released specs on how to hack your Roomba.
iRobot promised earlier this year that they were going to release the Roomba Serial Control Interface specification. After a few months, nothing showed up and we all forgot about it. They were good to their word though. Sometime in the last few weeks the SCI specifications document (PDF format) appeared on their site along with a webpage that explains how to determine if your Roomba has the serial interface. Older Roombas can be upgraded by buying a Roomba Osmo Hacker kit that will be available in January. We'll be expecting to hear about some really cool Roomba hacks soon.

I've aleady heard of people mounting a robotic monkey head on top of the Roomba, but like when Google Maps released their API, I think the flood gates are really going to open up now. Good job iRobot!

[ Link via Robots.net ]

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December 15, 2005

Robot Samurai

This robotic samurai is interesting, if only because it conjures the image of a samurai bot committing sepuku after breaking one of Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics - "I'm sorry I killed you and your family master! I have dishonored my factory's name! Ieeeeee...*fizzle*".
The robot, named Kiyomori after a 12th century general, is the latest humanoid creation from TMSUK.

I wonder what the code of the samurai looks like in C++.

[ Link via Davy Kreiger saying "What did I tell you about these Nipponese, and their robots??". Thanks David! ]

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December 12, 2005

Roomba Covers?

Some misguided individuals cute kids are making coverings for Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners so they look more like animals than floor dwelling robots.

Shortly after creating animal costumes for their two Roombas at home, the founders of myRoomBud™, Tyler, Niles, Isabelle, and Griffin Smith began selling their Roomba costumes to friends and family. The costumes have taken off and are now the talk various Roomba newsgroups. Sold on eBay, the new RoomBud Roomba costumes are a cute and unique gift for anyone who owns a Roomba. "People love their Roombas and treat them as one of the family. Our RoomBud costumes really turn the Roomba into a household pet," said co-founder Niles Smith. Tyler added, "And like we say, 'If you don't dress up your Roomba, it's just a naked vacuum.'"

Personally I'd prefer something a bit more threatening, but I guess that's just my taste. If you want to stun your family members with a bit of silly swag, you can buy the Moomba the cow for thirty bucks or ROOR the TIGER for twenty five dollars.

[ Link via robots.net ]

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Chibi-Robo for GameCube

Chibi Japan.jpg
Ooh, a robot game that reminds me of katamari damacy, except with more robots and less giant sticky balls. It's due for release in Feburary 2006.
Take control of the Chibi Robo, a pint-sized machine designed specifically to take care of a family's house. The robot needs to keep the house "happy," according to Nintendo. To do that, Chibi must walk around the home and clean it up, interact with other machines and people, and even -- according to the storyline - stop a group of bumbling thieves from making off with precious valuables. An electricity counter located in the bottom-right corner of the screen constantly counts down. When Chibi is getting low, players will want to recharge.

[ Link via boingboing ]

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December 07, 2005

Robosapian V2 Videos


Ooh, robosapian v2 commercials. Unfortunately they didn't add my feature request for a flamethower, but now at least you can use your robosapian to hit on women.

[ Link to videos via StreetTech ]

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Nuvo Toy Robot



This robot is called the Nuvo, and while it looks interesting, and aparently is good at seducing women, unfortunately it goes for 7,000USD.

[ Link ]

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December 06, 2005

International Robot Exposition


"The International Robot Exposition was a four day industry gathering which ended yesterday. [Here are some] photos I took of some of the more photogenic robots at the exposition." [boingboing]

[ Link via boingboing ]

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December 04, 2005

Chainsaw Bot


This Chainsaw Robot is called Furninja, and while it looks like it's teathered, it aparently is fairly good at cutting up funiture.

[ Link via we-make-money-not-art ]

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November 30, 2005

BlinkyBug - Simple Toy Robots



Cute, and yet awfuly simple robotic toys called BlinkyBugs. You can buy them for $25 each, which isn't really all that terrible considering each bug is unique.

[ Link via del ]

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November 10, 2005

Underdog ROV Beats MIT


The school PA system crackles, and an upbeat female voice fills the bustling linoleum-lined hallways. "Anger management class will begin in five minutes," says the voice from the administration building. "All referrals must report immediately."

Across campus, in a second-floor windowless room, four students huddle around an odd, 3-foot-tall frame constructed of PVC pipe. They have equipped it with propellers, cameras, lights, a laser, depth detectors, pumps, an underwater microphone, and an articulated pincer. At the top sits a black, waterproof briefcase containing a nest of hacked processors, minuscule fans, and LEDs. It's a cheap but astoundingly functional underwater robot capable of recording sonar pings and retrieving objects 50 feet below the surface. The four teenagers who built it are all undocumented Mexican immigrants who came to this country through tunnels or hidden in the backseats of cars. They live in sheds and rooms without electricity. But over three days last summer, these kids from the desert proved they are among the smartest young underwater engineers in the country.

[ Link via del ]

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Robot Stands Up for Itself

Someone has developed a robot that can stand up for itself. From a laying down position, it can throw up it's legs and arms, then throw it's legs down to allow it to go from laying down to squatting. The video doesn't actually show the robot standing up from there, but I assume that part is fairly trivial. Before we know it, we're bound to have breakdancing robots working the streets for spare change and battling humans for props. I think robots are already pretty good at beatboxing, so it's a logical step.

See the robot for yourself in the video below.

[ Link via del ]

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November 09, 2005

Festival for Cocktail Making Robots

above: servebot, a cocktail serving robot

There is a festival for robots that make cocktails. Yes you heard me correctly. There has always been a problem with having humans make cocktails, and serve them. Logically, the next step to help alcoholics everywhere get their drink on more quickly would be with robotics.

Until recently, no attempts were made to publicly discuss the role of cocktail robotics as an index for the integration of technological innovations into the human Lebensraum, or to document the increasing occurrence of radical hedonism in man-machine communication. Roboexotica is an attempt to fill this vacuum. It is the first and, inevitably, leading festival concerned with cocktail robotics world-wide. A micro mechanical change of paradigm in the age of borderless capital. Mr. Turing would without a doubt test this out.

[ Link via del ]

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November 07, 2005

4m Walking Robot

green flower.jpg

I originally passed on this 4m walking robot suit for igargoyle because I thought the robot was way too slow to be of any real use, and probably to noisy to sneak up on anyone, but a former coworker convinced me to post about it anyways:

I think you fail to see the point here. The JAPANESE have giant WALKING ROBOTS. Sure, it's just a prototype. But seriously, is this a technology we want them having? If anime has taught us anything, it's clear that we do not. On the other hand *I* should be trusted with giant walking combat robots, and promise to use my robotic walking minions for good, and never for evil.

Someone, give this man a giant walking robot. Sysadmins like him need a proper way like this to help redistribute the pain.

[ Link via Davy K. ]

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November 04, 2005

Hi Fi Robot Toy


What this hi fi robot toy lacks in functionality, it definately makes up in retro style. Instead of trying to take over the world with lasers and gripping action, this robot wants to enslave you with deep beats to make you bop your head.

[ Link via del ]

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November 01, 2005

Defend Yourself from a Robot Rebellion


"Any machine could rebel, from a toaster to a Terminator," says CMU roboticist Daniel H. Wilson, in his satirical new book.

[ Link via /., del, etc. ]

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October 30, 2005

Imaginary Robots


[ Link via we-make-money-not-art ]

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October 29, 2005

Outdoor Security Robot


OFRO claims to be the first outdoor security robot... I'm not so sure about that, but this thing does look pretty threatening, even without an RPG or other weaponry strapped to that periscope like eye.

From what I can tell, this robot isn't waterproof, generally likes flat surfaces to do it's patroling, and relies on GSM / WLAN, so given a sophesticated intruder, could be easily overcome. Nevertheless, people are stupid, and expensive, so why not have a robot making the rounds? Maybe soon the robots won't be stupid like their fleshy counterparts though.

Here's a video of it in action.

[ Link via tetsu yatsu. Thanks tetsu! ]

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October 25, 2005

RoboNexus Photo


I'm not completely sure what's going on in this photo from RoboNexus, but it looks like two robots may be fighting, and there's definately fire involved, which if you read igargoyle regularly, you know I like.

[ Link via flickr ]

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Robofetish Imagination


Robofetish alert! This is a really cool video of robots interacting with people in everday situations as visioned by VFX house, 1st-Machine-Ave in New York City. This CGI is so good that I didn't realize initially that the robots weren't real. In fact what tipped me off was that the walking robots were walking too well.



[ Link to video via del ]

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October 24, 2005

Mac Mini Robot


A Robot based on the Mac Mini! It even uses an iSight to do vision control and is autonomous. Cult of Apple fans rejoice!

[ Link via del ]

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October 22, 2005

Robotic Chimp Head


You too can own a robotic chimp head for 150 bannanas that will screech, say "AH-ahhhh" and "Eee-EEEEEEE!". It's made by the same people as the Robosapian, and is being sold by the Sharper Image stores. There's a windows meda video that is pretty interesting to check out. The movement looks good good, but I've never seen a monkey or chimp with teeth that white. Maybe marketing decided it would sell better that way.

[ Link via boing boing ]

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October 21, 2005

Robot Sniper Detector


iRobot has made prototype robotic sniper detection system, called Redowl, as part of their military grade PackBot. The PackBot is a robot that is small enough to be carried on the back of a soldier, and has been carted around by it's human slaves many times already over in iraq.

Redowl features a laser pointer and illuminator, an acoustic localizer and classifier, a thermal imager, GPS (Global Positioning System), an infrared and daylight camera, and two wide-angle cameras.

In field tests, the PackBot-Redowl combination had a success rate of 94 percent in locating the source of rounds fired from 9mm pistols, and M-16 and AK-rifles, at a range of more than 100 meters, the company said.

Above: Robot dreams of the day when he can kill humans.

[ Link ]

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RoboChrist - Take That!


Not sure what show this is from, but it's definately Christian Ristow's robots.

[ Link via flickr ]

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October 20, 2005

VIA Roboteq Robot Platform


VIA Roboteq has a cool looking robot platform that looks like a remote control car, but communicates via 802.11, so it's compatable with wireless lans. It is based off the VIA Mini-ITX, which is pretty droolworthy,

[ Link via ]

October 19, 2005

RoboChrist at Burning Man


RoboChrist Industries (aka Christian Ristow and gang) put on a performance of their leathal robots at Burning Man in 1999.

[ Link ]

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October 18, 2005

Robot Village - A New York Robotics Store

A robotics store called "Robot Village" has opened up in New York, offering only robots and robotic supplies. They have robotics workshops for children, and plan to expand to have robotics classes in the evenings for adults too. Even cooler is that they're offering robot paries for kids!

We bring the party to you! Each event includes a hands-on demonstration with a variety of robots and a choice of robotic themed activities, including building and decorating motorized robots.

Includes a birthday present for birthday child and everyone gets to take home the robot they create. Party options such as decorations, food, and more complex activities are available.

Wow, check out their calendar. This is really one cool store, I wish they had one in my town!

[ Link via boingboing ]

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More Christian Ristow Robots


Here's another photo of a Christian Ristow robot, which was taken by my brother, Ordaos.

Believe me, this robot is pretty fucking scary in person, it would swing around really fast, and come really close to smacking people in the face with it's extended 'mouth'. Plus it did a good job chewing up a big Apple monitor.

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October 17, 2005

Zombie Eating Robot


Here's a picture of one of Christian Ristow's extremely dangerous robots that my brother took at one of his smaller performances which was held at his studio at the Brewery in Los Angeles. I'll post about Ristow and his group, RoboChrist, throughout the week.

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Flamethrower Robosapian


Robosapians are cool, but wouldn't a Robosapian with a flamethrower be cooler? Most robotics is more fun when it's dangerous, and even though this robot is tiny, we have to give it's hacker, Adam Plavinskis credit where credit's due; Good job, keep up the good work!


Next week on igargoyle, Flamethrower Robosapian vs The Subjugator! WHO WILL WIN?!?!


Above: Subjugator by Christian Ristow

[ Link via somewhere > OhGizmo > The Raw Feed > Clubbing Baby Seals > Hack A Day ]

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October 03, 2005

Seoul to Build Combat Robot

Igargoyle reader, Tetsu writes "Sci-Fi will have taught us nothing, eh". Beyond caretaking and car making, I think the miliary will always be a driving force in robotics.
According to design blueprints released during a meeting of science-related ministers, the robot will have six or eight extendable legs with wheels allowing it to move like an insect over uneven terrain.

The robot will be armed with various weapons and will operate both by remote control and its own artificial intelligence system.

Even if they are deadly, I'd love one to harass and play with my brother. Ah, good times.

[ Link via Tetsu Yatsu ]

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September 25, 2005

Mo Robot


[ Link via flickr ]

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Robostix: Robotic Gumstix


I found this neat robotics kit from the Gumstix people called the Robostix, which I think would be a neat toy to hack with.

They have this pack called the robostix-bt pack which includes a gumstix with bluetooth, a robostix, a serial null-modem cable, a tweener (for debugging?), which all looks fairly decent and is selling for $226.

The robostix expansion board exposes 6 PWM Channels (2x8 bit, 6 programmable), 8 A/D, 24 GPIO, 2 UART at logic levels and an in-system programming port. The Atmega128 has 5V logic. robostix offers three power inputs: V-RoboBatt, V_Power and V-Motor. The connectors use industry-standard 0.1 inch spacing and, if wanted, the robostix board connects to the 60-pin hirose connector available on the gumstix basix and connex platforms. robostix may also be used stand-alone.

Designers seeking bluetooth wireless networking can use robostix with
either the basix platform or the connex platform now. For projects
seeking higher speed wireless connectivity, robostix and the gumstix
connex platform may be connected to the cfstix expansion board, which
offers a compact flash adapter that may be driven by a wide range of
WiFi compact flash cards.

[ Link via del ]

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September 22, 2005

Sentry Turret


Well, it isn't wearable, but dammit, I want one.

The idea of this project was to create a fully-automated sentry gun, capable of picking out a human target and accurately tracking and shooting him or her in the heart. Really, the idea was to find a cool robotics project for the summer while I was working at an advertising agency, and I'd only ever seen sentry guns in movies (like Congo) and video games (Half-Life 1, Half-Life 2, Team Fortress Classic). I couldn't find any record of anyone building one, even the military, although it seems likely I just didn't look hard enough. It's a pretty simple technology.

I've been meaning to build one of these myself. I have a paintball gun, servos, and a servo controller. I really need to stop slacking and get hacking.

[ Link via boing boing ]

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August 19, 2005

Nurse Exoskeleton


Here's yet another Exoskeleton, designed to help nurses pick up patients and do other tasks. I would imagine it would be cheaper to hire some huge bloke to throw the people around, but I'm sure the bedside manner of this lady is a bit better than your local bouncer. Then again, maybe having a nurse in a giant robotic uniform is a bit threatening.

[ Link to New Scientist Article ]

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August 17, 2005

Creepy Fembot

This Fembot is really creepy, probably because it appears, at least on a surface level, to be a real person. If I saw this android on a bus, I probably would scowl, but otherwise be non the wiser.
"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."

Why is it that robots that are designed to look like humans are so disturbing?

[ Link via Joshua ]

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December 01, 2004

You Have 10 Seconds to Comply...

For the army that would prefer soldiers without a conscience, Foster-Miller has a solution...

Okay not quite, these are just R/C toys with machine guns and soon rocket launchers, but automation isn't far away.

'The Patriot Missile system fires with no human intervention. It uses an Identification Friend-or-Foe system to track everything in the air, and shoot down anything that shouldn't be there. During the recent Iraq invasion, a glitch in this system caused it to fire upon a British fighter jet, destroying it and killing its pilot. It was about to do the same to a US jet, but that jet was armed with fast-flying radar-seeking missiles designed to take out hostile SAM sites, and was able to take out the radar component of the Patriot system before the missile reached his plane. Notably no one was injured on the ground when he did this, since there was nobody actually sitting in front of the device, or anywhere near it.

I think it'll be a long time before autonomously firing ground systems are in place, because it's hard enough doing IFF in the sky, let alone on the ground. I think the fire-finder system (used in the Balkans to take out mortar positions in the mountains firing upon cities) might do this in some limited capacity, but that's only anti-artillery, rather than telling the difference between a guerilla carrying an RPG and a farmer carrying a section of irrigation pipe. Sure, you could wait until they shoot first for all of these systems, since that's a lot easier to determine automatically, but I think it's quite obvious that waiting for the other guy to shoot first is very far from the policy of the current administration.' [ca1v1n]

...and as to the weaponized specs:

'The weapons these things are carrying are the M249 SAW. They are chambered in the 5.56mm NATO round spec and carry a 200 round box which it feeds from, but it can also use the regular 30 round magazines that the M-16 uses. The gun was developed in the 70s and has been used by the US, UK, and Isreali forces. Although the original ones could accept the M-16 magazines the latest Mk.46 mod.0 version doesn't include this option as to save weight on an already hefty 6.8 kg gun.' [NEOtaku17]

[Army to deploy robots that shoot from /.]

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July 28, 2004

Robot Revolution



Robot revolution posters, for sale. Buy one for your roomba.

[Link via boingboing]

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June 10, 2004

Climbing Robots

climb.jpgNASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), who incidentally sponsored my father's migration to the states from England, are always coming up with new uses of technology. Their latest research has produced a rock climbing robot, called LEMUR, which has four legs each with their own claw to attempt footholds. Very similar to the spy bot previously reviewed, but much more hi-tech.

Having done a bit of rock climbing myself, I'm aware of the challenges inherit in gripping to vertical surfaces; I'm not surprised LEMUR currently has to be fed coordinates to climb from foothold to foothold. Luckily when they teach it to climb by itself it won't get vertigo.

In other news, I found this picture related to an earlier article on martial art impact sensors, which looks like a sketch of their prototype. If anyone has more pictures of this, please contact me (tom long tat gmail zot com).


[Link via engadget]

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June 07, 2004

Serious Robots

wany_robot.jpgWay cool robot platform, suitable for a lot of projects (but please don't put a vacuum on it).

This mobile robot platform from Pekee has "microcontrollers (Mitsubishi M16c) , [a] video camera, 802.11b [WiFi], gyrometers (yum), and temperature, light, shock, and infrared sensors." Of course, if you read this blog, you know that all this gear aint cheap, but you can pick one up for your robotic research for $10,000.

[Link via gizmodo]

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June 03, 2004

Climbing SpyBot

spybot_climber.jpgWell, I suppose this goes under the vertical voyeur category, but I can see fun uses for the technology beyond spying on your neighbors. I personally would love a robot that could scale the walls than jump on my friends when they least expect it. On the other hand for 14,000, I'd rather build myself my dream wearable computer with that lovely POV jonescam. I'd be interested to play with this thing though, as it sounds like fun RC toy.

Unlike other robots, the SpyBot Climber does not use suction cups to adhere and climb; instead, it uses patented technology to pull itself to surfaces. With a versatile six-wheeled posi-traction drive train, the robot can travel and maneuver on horizontal, vertical, and even inverted surfaces with ease. The nature of the vortex effect also makes it forgiving of changing surface types. The drive train was designed to be powerful enough to handle an extra 1 lb. (0.45 kg) or more of payload (depending on mission profile), so you can transport additional devices, such as video cameras and transmitters.

[Link via gizmodo]

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