Friday, May 22, 2015

Good Modular Robotics Stuff from MOSS

This showed up as part of a message in my email this morning. Definitely worth a look and a

Wow! Check out their Robot Builder Resource!

"Interactive instructions are just the beginning on our Robot Recipe page for MOSS! Head over to the robot recipes page if you’re looking for suggestions on MOSS robots to build and learn from with your students - like this one! Once you’ve built a few known-robots, why not create your own?! You can use our MOSS Robot Builder to virtually build the robot you and your students imagine, and even check your work with the X-ray button to make sure that power and data are routed in the MOSS robot to make it work!"

This is worth a look, too:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Low Cost Robot Project for Kids - Walking Stick Robot

Found this one leafing through Popular Mechanics while waiting for my car to be serviced at the dealership... very nice project!

"Build This Cute Walking Stick Robot

A project to build with kids, by Brooklyn Robot Foundry owner Jenny Young.

This little machine is loaded with lessons about engineering and mobility. The gearbox teaches kids how gear ratios affect speed. And when it walks, the robot's feet can slip unless you add a dab of glue to them. That's a great introduction to problem solving: increasing friction to create traction and enable faster movement.

The pipe cleaners are just pipe cleaners. Have fun!.."

Read the full article at its source:

Popular Mechanics for Kids on Robots - Great Video!

Found on YouTube... So many great ideas here...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Gentle Giant Robot Bear Developed to Assist Humans In Need of Strong, Helpful Arms

"This cuddly Japanese robot bear could be the future of elderly care

'Bears are powerful and also cute.'

Deep in the bowels of a secluded facility outside the central Japanese city of Nagoya, a team of dedicated researchers has been working on a monster. It’s a primal, animalistic robot that uses advanced technology to power its intelligent vision, flexible movement, and giant arms strong enough to lift a human right off the ground. It could have profound implications for the relationship between man and machine.
But perhaps most importantly, it is very cute.

Meet Robear. It’s a high-tech teddy with a mission: helping make elderly care much easier in the future.
Robear is the brainchild of Toshiharu Mukai (above left), an affable scientist who has been leading his Robot Sensor Systems Research Team at the Riken-SRK Collaboration Center for Human-Interactive Robot Research since 2007. It’s actually Mukai’s third robot bear, following 2009’s RIBA and 2011’s RIBA-II. Why the ursine fixation? "Bears are powerful and also cute," Mukai tells me. "And our product is white so it will be associated with cleanness."

Cute robots are a
definite trend. Japanese carrier SoftBank is selling its congenial, dubiously useful Pepper this year, in perhaps the biggest mainstream splash yet made by a humanoid.

This month, leading national bank Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
installed Aldebaran’s Nao robot as an assistant in its flagship branch. And Mukai believes that appearance is more than just skin-deep when it comes to robots. "[It’s important that they’re] cute or friendly," he says. "Patients, especially old people, don’t like mechanical appearance. Patients need to feel that robots are their friends."
That’s especially true with Robear, because it’s a robot that gets very paws-on. Robear is designed to perform tasks such as helping elderly patients stand up, or lifting them from a bed into a wheelchair. The latter task can be severely strenuous for care workers, who do it an average of 40 times a day, according to Mukai. It’s no secret that Japan’s aging population is one of the biggest problems facing the country, and researchers are hoping to find solutions in technology. It’s important for Robear to make a good first impression..."

Read the full article at its source:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Robot Criminals???

" with $100 bitcoin buys drugs, gets arrested
This is the curious story of how a robot armed with a weekly budget of $100 in bitcoin managed to buy Ecstasy, a Hungarian passport and a baseball cap with a built-in camera—before getting arrested.

The "automated online shopping bot" was set up in October last year by Swiss art group, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, as an art installation to explore the "dark web"—the hidden, un-indexed part of the Internet.

Each week, the robot was given $100 worth of Bitcoin— the major hard-to-trace cryptocurrency—and programmed to randomly purchase one item from Agora, an online marketplace on the dark web where shoppers can buy drugs and other illegal items. The items were automatically delivered to a Swiss art gallery called Kunst Halle St Gallen to form an exhibition.
The robot was christened "Random Darknet Shopper" and its purchases included a Hungarian passport, Ecstasy pills, fake Diesel jeans, a Sprite can with a hole cut out in order to stash cash, Nike trainers, a baseball cap with a hidden camera, cigarettes and the "Lord of the Rings" e-book collection.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the robot and his artistic creators had a run in with the law. In January 2015, the Swiss police confiscated the robot and its illegal purchases.
However, three months later, the Random Darknet Shopper was returned to the artists, along with all its purchases except the Ecstasy (also known as MDMA) tablets, which were destroyed by the Swiss authorities.

The artists behind the robot escaped without any charges.
"This is a great day for the 'bot, for us and for freedom of art!" !Mediengruppe Bitnik said in a blog post last week. "In the order for withdrawal of prosecution, the public prosecutor states that the possession of Ecstasy was indeed a reasonable means for the purpose of sparking public debate about questions related to the exhibition."

The Swiss authorities confirmed that the artists and the robot would not be charged.
"We decided the Ecstasy that is in this presentation was safe and nobody could take it away. Bitnik never intended to sell it or consume it so we didn't punish them," Thomas Hansjakob, a spokesperson for the Swiss St Gallen police, told CNBC on Tuesday.
He added that the artists had not informed the police before undertaking this project and that the authorities had heard about it from the media..."
 Read the full article at its source: