Friday, December 11, 2009

Webcam-based 3D scanning

ProFORMA (which stands for 'Probabilistic Feature-based On-line Rapid Model Acquisition', if you must know) is some cool system that turns any ordinary webcam into a powerful 3D scanning tool. In fact, a camera is pretty much all you need for some "on-line" modeling action -- no laser or green screen necessary -- meaning the 3D models are constructed on the spot while you slowly rotate the objects, although ProFORMA can also track fast moving objects as shown in the demo video.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Robot dance

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Robotic Heads

Talk about the uncanny valley..

These are three singing robots manufactured into a performing trio. The animatronic heads from artist Nathaniel Mellor are part of a $75,000 art piece on sale at Art Basel Miami Beach 2009. The artificial faces are controlled by servos which in turn are controlled by a computer. The uncontrolled fear you'll feel when watching the video is, however, completely natural.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Pingo the desktop robot penguin at $150

This penguin bot is a ridiculously interactive alert system for news, email, Facebook updates, and whatever else you set him to check for. I say "ridiculously interactive," because Pingo reacts to pokes, shakes, and voice commands and can be nurtured and played with as if a pet. I'm sure all of those things would turn more annoying than useful or entertaining quickly, but the damn thing is way to freakin' cute for me to care.

At $149, Pingo is definitely more expensive than the Furbies it acts and looks like, but—never mind the features—the minimal creepiness is worth the price difference.

Previous Post (5 July 2009)
Article Link (Gizmodo)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rewards Of 'Free-To-Play' MMOs

James reveals that Three Rings' MMO Puzzle Pirates takes in approximately $50 each month from each paying user (ARPPU) for a total of $230,000 a month, all resulting from microtransactions.

In February, 2005, James chose to launch a free-to-play version of Puzzle Pirates alongside the original subscription model (which contributes an additional $70,000 each month from subscription fees).

Four and a half years later, James has learned a lot -- that the average revenue per user (ARPU) is between one and two dollars a month, but only about 10% of his player base has ever paid him anything. As a result, he says, approximately 5,000 gamers are generating the $230,000 in revenue he sees each month.

"The pivot number -- the number to focus on -- is not the $50 ARPPU but the $1-2 ARPU," he says. "That's the number that a new paying customer is worth to you. If that number were, say, 20 cents, you'd probably have a difficult time building a business."

"But if that number were, say, $3 then you have a good business that enables you to go to a flash distribution site and say, 'Hey, put my game up on your site and I'll give you a dollar for every new user you send me.' They'd surely be interested in that."

Article Link (Gamasutra)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

iRobot creates new business unit for healthcare robotics

It looks like iRobot is betting on healthcare robotics in a fairly big way, with it taking advantage of the recent TEDMED conference to announce that it's forming a new business unit focused solely on the still burgeoning industry. That unit will be headed up by Tod Loofbourrow, who [...] thinks "the long-term potential of robotics to extend independent living is profound." While he's just as light on specifics, iRobot CEO Colin Angle is no less ambitious about the company's goals, saying that iRobot's "healthcare mission is add a million years of independent living to our customers."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ROPID Robot Jumps And Runs

Aside from supposedly being the fastest runner and best jumper among similarly constructed robots, ROPID also responds to voice commands, with action and speech.

Article Link (Gizmodo)