March 2006 archive

Mar 29 2006

TomCat, a Robot Cat Sans Head

TomCat Robot Cat

Still looking to fill the void left since Sony surreptitiously put down their robot dog Aibo, I am always excited to read about any new robotic animals under development. The Raw Feed is reporting today that Illinois-based robotic research group Iguana Robotics Inc. has created TomCat, a headless robot cat whose lack of visual aesthetics …

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Mar 27 2006

European Researchers Create Neuro-Chip

Both LiveScience.com and New Scientist are reporting today that a team of Italian and German neuroscientists working in conjunction with mobile chip maker Infineon have created a “neuro-chip,” a hybrid microchip that interfaces living neurons with traditional silicon circuitry. In addition to providing new insights into the brain’s inner workings, the groundbreaking work could one …

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Mar 23 2006

CMU to Build Robot City

The Roundhouse at Robot City

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting today that Carnegie Mellon University is planning to build a hi-tech robot research and development facility called Robot City on the site of a former steelworks plant. With the stated mission of moving “robots from laboratory to life,” Robot City will be populated by robots built to handle relatively mundane …

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Mar 23 2006

NASA Launches Evolutionary Satellites

ST5 Micro-satellite

Just after six yesterday morning a Pegasus rocket launched from the belly of a Lockheed L-1011 jet flying 7 miles above the Earth carried a historic payload into space. On board the rocket were three ST5 micro-satellites destined to study the Earth’s magnetic fields from their extraterrestrial orbits. Built as part of NASA’s New Millennium …

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Mar 22 2006

NXT Pre-Orders Start April 1st

Gizmodo.com is reporting that retailers will begin taking pre-orders for the forthcoming Lego Mindstorms NXT robot development kit starting April 1st. The system, priced at $249, will not ship until late summer and will be available at Amazon, Target, Fry’s and Wal-Mart. This follows the news from earlier this month that Lego had chosen 100 …

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Mar 22 2006

Evolution Robotics Partners with WowWee

In a press release put out this morning, California-based Evolution Robotics announced that they will be licensing their ViPR (Visual Pattern Recognition) and Northstar position tracking technologies for use in WowWee’s next generation of hi-tech consumer robots and entertainment products. WowWee, who manufactures the immensely popular Robosapien and Roboraptor robots, has recently been making a …

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Mar 21 2006

Pirkus-R Fails to Impress

Pirkus-R at Robot-One

As I predicted last Friday, the coverage by Robots-Dreams.com of the Robo-One competition that took place in Tokyo over the weekend has been nothing short of outstanding. Lem dropped us a comment this morning to let us know that he actually got some face time (pun intended) with the Pirkus-R Type-01 robot, the Bluetooth humanoid …

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Mar 19 2006

The Mythbusters Build a Vex PackBot

iRobot Packbot Scout

For the premier issue of Robot magazine the guys from the popular Discovery Channel show Mythbusters documented their attempt to recreate an iRobot PackBot using stock components of the Vex Robotics Design System. Even though no one had any previous experience with the Radio Shack robotics kit, co-hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage together with …

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Mar 18 2006

Pirkus-R Gets a Facial Recognition Upgrade

Pirkus-R Type-01 robot

PinkTentacle.com reports today that the Pirkus-R Type-01 robot has recently had its facial recognition software updated. The upgrade addresses limitations that had often hindered recognition attempts by earlier models, including variations in lighting and positioning of the target subjects. Now Pirkus-R can track the location and orientation of its target and move itself into position …

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Mar 15 2006

A Robot for Carrying Grandmas

RI-MAN Humanoid Robot

OK, the truth is that right now the RI-MAN humanoid robot can only carry your grandma if she weighs less than 26 pounds, and if she does, she’s got bigger problems than not being able to walk. (That’s a doll in the pic.) But the goal of RI-MAN’s creators is for him to be able …

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