Saturday, May 30, 2009

Volleyball-playing robot has Mac mini brain

Of course, "volleyball-playing" is still a bit of a stretch. The bot is
actually designed to be more of a training aid, with it making use of a
range of sensors, built-in GPS, a compass, and an iSight camera (all
linked to a Mac mini) to track down balls and set them up for spiking
Article Link (Engadget)

Trilobot Endearing Robot

This is art. Designed by Dan Roe as a "kinetic art" project.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thingamajig - Six Solar Powered Toys in One


Developed by Tadano, with a three-chip CCD camera, two huge arms and
four legs with joints totalling 29 degrees of freedom, the 2.7-ton, 6.9
x 12.6 x 6.9-feet (2.1 x 3.84 x 2.1-meter) Robotopusu is clearly designed to locate and destroy humans. Each of its arms can lift 220 pounds (100 kilograms.)

Article Link (Gizmodo)

WowWee Robot Gaming

"All of us are gamers, we all play video games all of the time," said Davin Sufer, chief technology officer of WowWee.

"We have some products inspired by fast-moving vehicles (that we are
working on)," he said. "Grand Theft Auto-style, fast moving vehicles
that will interact with each other.

"WowWee hoped to introduce a robot that used augmented reality to turn
everyday spaces into a video game like world, but they backed away from
the notion because they thought it might be too complex for the average
consumer to understand and enjoy.

"Initially the idea behind [Rovio] was more for gaming
applications," Sufer said. "You play a game through a robot, by driving
it around."

The idea was that you would place markers in a room in your house and
then drive the robot around, controlling and watching it through a web
browser, he said. When the robot saw and recognized those markers the
software would replace the markers with gaming icons.

WowWee hasn't dropped the idea though, they hope to either release the
software to support augmented reality with Rovio or perhaps release a
new version of the three-wheeled bot with the game built into it.

"I think that video games are getting more and more immersive and more
and more interesting," Sufer said. "But there is always room for
physical games and video games sometimes drive that need for real life

Article Link (Kotaku)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Freemium: Online Economic Model

The freemium model is hardly a new idea. VC Fred Wilson has been
talking about it since 2006. The idea that you have a core set of features that are free to all
users, and charge a fee to the smaller subset of users who will want
more advanced features, makes a lot of sense.
But I think for the freemium model to work in today’s
environment, it has be along the lines of the opening paragraph of
Wilson’s post in 2006:

Give your service away for free, possibly ad supported
but maybe not, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word
of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc, then offer
premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your
service to your customer base.

Rather than launching a service with a freemium model, I think
it’s important to gain a large and passionate user-base first.

One of the keys to this in my mind is the yearly fee. While it might
look nice to offer a service for $3-a-month, that recurring charge is
ugly. I’d much rather pay a still low $36-a-year and not have to
worry about it after that.

The freemium model doesn’t always work. But [...] getting the users
is they key to this. If you can get a ton of them, and get a certain
percentage to be very loyal, they’re more than likely going to be
willing to pay.

Article Link (TechCrunch)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

iRobot's LANDroids

The Embers, which are around the size of a paperback book, are said to weigh less than a pound and are also equipped with built-in cameras and side flippers to help them vault over any obstacles they might encounter in the field. As part of DARPA's LANDroids program, iRobot was given three years and $2.5 million to develop the Embers. Currently in their first year, iRobot is looking to make the Ember easy to use and cheap, so that they could be left behind on the battlefield if needed.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Robot powered by iPod Touch

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Robot Asks for Directions

The Tweenbots project already demonstrated that at least some folks are willing to
help a lost robot find its way, but this new ACE bot developed by
researchers at the Technical University of Munich has now ramped things
up in a fairly big way, with it actually asking passers-by for
directions and developing a map as it moves through the city.
Apparently, the robot uses a series of cameras to detect people nearby,
and it then asks them to simply point towards the destination indicated
on its screen, which it is able to recognize, although it does also
asks them to confirm the direction on the screen just to be safe. In
initial tests, that appears to have been relatively successful, with
ACE (or Autonomous City Explorer) able to reach its destination 1.5
kilometers away in five hours after relying on directions from 38
Article Link (Engadget)

Thursday, May 14, 2009



RiSE V3 uses brushless DC motors that increase power density. Coupled with a dramatically different leg mechanism and unique gaited behavior, this robot exhibits rapid climbing (upwards of 22 cm/s) up a vertical surface such as a telephone pole.

Link (Kodlab)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Roomba's Path

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Menacing Underwatrer Robot

German researchers have designed an underwater robot with a sense of touch thanks to micro-sensors printed directly onto the robot's body that are about half the width of a human hair.

Article Link (Gizmodo)