Saturday, September 20, 2014

Soft Robot Is TUUUUUFFFFFF!!!!!




Friday, September 19, 2014

KIds" Watch Your Toilet Bowl for a Robot Attack!



Inspired by octopus tentacles, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL)'s latest robot is as squishy as can be. It's a so-called "soft robot," meaning it lacks any hard mechanical pieces. In this case, the bot is made entirely of silicon rubber, poured into 3-D printed molds.
The tentacle features hollow chambers on either side of each of its segments. To move the bot, the CSAIL team pumps pressurized air into one side or another. As the silicon segments blow up like bubble gum, they're pushed in different directions to produce snake-like movements, which let the tentacle curve around corners.

Like other soft robots, this tentacle has potential in search and rescue missions -- where debris might make traditional robots prone to damage, or simple unable to squeeze through -- and for work with humans and animals, who might be injured by the hard edges of other bots.

The algorithm that controls the robot could eventually allow it to snake through pipes without a human pilot. Instead of needing constant direction, the tentacle would know how to move its body based on the shape of its environment. CSAIL engineers also hope to give a future version of the robot the ability to grip and move objects.

Read the full article at its source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2014/09/16/this-robotic-tentacle-is-soft-as-chewing-gum-and-could-snake-through-pipes/

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hummingbird Robotics Kits: An Instructional Resource With Great Potential!

PRESS RELEASE: BirdBrain Technologies’ Hummingbird Robotics Kit Wins a Learning® Magazine 2015 Teachers’ ChoiceSM Award for the Classroom

Panel of classroom teachers chose electronics kit based on its quality, instructional value, ease of use and innovation

Pittsburgh, PA, September 15, 2014 BirdBrain Technologies’ Hummingbird Robotics Kit was named a winner of Learning® Magazine’s 2015 Teachers’ ChoiceSM Award for the Classroom, one of the most recognized and prestigious awards in the educational market. The electronics kit was chosen by a panel of teachers from across the country as one of only 37 winners based on its quality, instructional value, ease of use, and innovation.

“The Hummingbird Robotics Kit provides students of all ages with an engaging, hands-on way to learn about key STEM concepts, from robotics to programming to electronics, and more,” said Tom Lauwers, founder of BirdBrain Technologies and co-creator of the Hummingbird Robotics Kit. “This award further reinforces the impact our kits have in the classroom and is a particularly great honor since we were evaluated and chosen by actual classroom teachers.” 

 

The Hummingbird Robotics Kit is a spin-off product of Carnegie Mellon's CREATE lab. The kit is designed to introduce engineering and robotics activities to upper elementary students, while at the same time providing more complex robotics design opportunities to older students, through an innovative, arts and crafts-based approach. Students use the kit to make robots, kinetic sculptures, and animatronics built out of a combination of kit parts and crafting materials. Students can use the kits with intuitive software programs such as Scratch, Snap!, and the CREATE Lab Visual Programmer – or more advanced programming such as PythonJava, and Processing – to bring the construction materials to life.

 

“The Hummingbird Robotics Kit enables endless ways to integrate STEM innovations through creativity and inventiveness,” said Stephanie Cotsifas, STEM learning specialist at Institute on Teaching through Technology and Innovation Practice (ITTIP), who uses the kits with her students. “The age range and project ideas are endless with the different ways you can program the microcontroller. It is a great way to get students creating and designing.”

 

Building off the success of the Hummingbird Robotics Kit, BirdBrain Technologies will be launching the Hummingbird Duo later this year. This second-generation kit will include the addition of tether-less operation, Arduino mode, and more.

To learn more about the Hummingbird Robotics Kit, visit http://www.hummingbirdkit.com/.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

RoboSnail Robot Eliminates Dirty Job of Cleaning Home Aquarium Tanks,



Evolution of the RoboSnail:  From Idea to Reality
The saying that necessity is the mother of invention actually is more true than you may imagine.  In fact, this especially true when developing tools or new process methods in order to achieve a desired end result to already existing or potential problems.  This necessity to develop a better process was the driving force when it came to the development of my current item the RoboSnail, the world’s first and only automated aquarium glass cleaner.

Coming Up With the Idea
The “ah-ha” moment came while I was attending San Diego State University, pursuing my degree for international business.  I used my aquarium as my outlet for stress and a way to escape the day to day drudgery of everyday life.  But with everything life sometimes has a way of creeping into your tranquil zones or escapes and reminds you that with everything there are equal and opposite forces keeping the world at balance.  In the case of a salt water reef aquarium the reality was that it needed a lot of maintenance in order to maintain a living slice of ocean in your living room.  So after putting hard days at work and school sometimes the aquarium would become neglected and so that became a job. It was just another thing added to the list of things to do before I could have some me time.  The biggest noticeable obstruction to enjoying my hobby was not necessarily the water parameters, but the green blanket of algae that had coated the entire surface of my main viewing glass within just a few days.  Now I would have to clean that before I could enjoy the tank.  More neglect meant more intensive cleaning sessions which sometimes led to accidents like scratching your glass by scraping too hard.  This led to the necessity question: Is there a better way?  On that day, the idea for the RoboSnail was born.  So what was the next step?  Was it possible to make such a device?  Who would do it, how much would it cost, where would it get done, and the list kept growing.  These are fundamental questions to consider when creating anything new and can be applied to any “widget”...

Read the full article at its source: http://www.inventioncity.com/new-inventions/the-robosnail.html

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hey Kids, save up your $$$ to buy your own adult robot at the phone store, soon!

"Humanoid robots named 'Pepper' will be on sale next year in the U.S.

TOKYO • Billionaire Masayoshi Son will start selling his humanoid robots named "Pepper" at Sprint stores in the U.S. by next summer, part of SoftBank's push to take the technology beyond factory floors.

SoftBank also has received between 300 and 400 inquiries about Pepper from companies in finance, food service and education, Fumihide Tomizawa, chief executive officer of SoftBank Robotics, said Monday. The 4-foot robot dances, makes jokes and estimates human emotions based on expressions. Pepper will go in sale in Japan in February for $1,900 while the company hasn't set a U.S. price.
SoftBank, which paid $22 billion for control of Sprint last year, is investing in robotics as Japan seeks to double the value of domestic production to 2.41 trillion yen by 2020. SoftBank has developed an operating system that controls robots in the same way Google Inc.'s Android software runs smartphones, with the platform open to customization for use in construction, health care and entertainment industries.

"We will sell Pepper in the United States within a year after gathering information in Japan," Tomizawa said. "I won't be surprised if Pepper sales will be half to business and half to consumers."

SoftBank Robotics was established as a subsidiary in July to direct the company's business and sell Pepper, which is equipped with a laser sensor and 12 hours of battery life.
The stock has declined 18 percent this year while the benchmark Topix index is little changed.
The robot was initially targeted at families and the elderly before getting attention for business use since its June unveiling.

Tomizawa declined to specify the company's sales targets for robotics. SoftBank expects to generate revenue through applications and original content as customers personalize their robots.
"The basic premise is to produce profit," Tomizawa said. "Son is aggressively involved in the project and we report to him one or two times a month."

Son said in 2010 his vision was to create a society that coexists with intelligent robots. The SoftBank chairman has said Pepper is a result of his time spent watching the TV show "Astro Boy," an animated 1960s series based on a character who couldn't experience emotions.
In July, Son said he expects to improve labor productivity by replacing 90 million jobs with 30 million robots.

"We could enter the robot business for industrial use in the mid or long term," Tomizawa said.
Pepper was initially developed by SoftBank subsidiary Aldebaran Robotics. The robot operating system, which isn't currently used by Pepper, was developed by its Asratec division. The businesses continue to operate as separate units of SoftBank.



Read the full article at its  source: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/humanoid-robots-named-pepper-will-be-on-sale-next-year/article_5ab253c5-6877-5775-857c-2a4375d2a895.html

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Robot Butlers Become Part of the Hotel Staff



">>> Robots are everywhere, including wandering around your hotel.

Starwood, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, is rolling out two robotic “Botlrs” inexplicably named A.L.O. in their Cupertino Aloft Hotel.

The robotic butlers, built by Savioke, are able to perform tasks in the front of the house and the back of the house, as well as navigate around guests and use elevators. For the most part, it seems that the Botlrs will be delivering amenities to guest rooms in lieu of actual humans, “freeing up existing talent’s time and allowing them to create a more personalized experience for guests.”

When a guest calls down and asks for a toothbrush or extra towels, hotel employees simply load up the robot with the requested items, dial in the room number, and the Botlr handles the rest.

Using a combination of sensors and WiFi/4G connectivity to communicate with the hotel and the elevator software, the ROS-powered robot can get to and from the rooms without breaking anything or injuring anyone.

When the robot arrives at the room, the guest can enter in a rating on the robot’s touchscreen, or offer a “tip” in the form of a tweet to the hashtag #MeetBotlr.

“This is currently a pilot at Aloft Cupertino and is under consideration, though not yet confirmed, to be implemented at Aloft Sunnyvale when it opens at the end of this year,” said Brian McGuinness of Aloft Hotels. “Based on the success of the pilot, we will look to roll out at our nearly 100 hotels around the world in 2015 and beyond.”<<<"

Read the full article at its  source:
http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/13/starwood-introduces-robotic-butlers-at-aloft-hotel-in-palo-alto/