It is no surprise that the Japanese government is concentrating a whole lot of effort when it comes to manufacturing androids as the population continues to age and shrink. It is hoped that these androids will be able to be smart enough to improve productivity and support the entire nation’s lifestyle in due time, which means there is a pressing need for better human-robot interactions. Just like any other relationship, communication is of the utmost importance and the same holds for humans and their less than human counterparts, robots. Researchers based at Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) have successfully developed an autonomous humanoid robot which is claimed to be able to recognize and use body language in order to get the message across to its human masters. A press release showed that NICT drew from research in neuroscience, cognitive science and psychology to create an android that relies on body language such as gestures and touch in order to facilitate natural and effective communication with humans.
It may look like a phaser (well, only vaguely), but it’s the coolest stargazing aid to come out this year. The Meade MySky allows you to explore the heavens simply with a point and shoot. It’s database comes with 30,000 objects in the night sky and also can show cool multimedia astronomy presentations. And thanks to its 12-channel GPS receiver, there’s no complicated alignment either. It’s all automatic, which is something previous attempts at a handheld observatories have been woefully lacking at.
ElmoSapien is the latest free custom personality for WowWee’s Robosapien RS Media robot. In this video, complete with a furry red costume and Elmo’s attitude, watch ElmoSapien interact with other robots and clumsily initiate his plans for world domination. Robosapien RS Media owners can download the ElmoSapien custom personality for free at the URL below the YouTube Embed code. The ElmoSapien custom personality contains over 210 unique voice files.
Previously we’ve reported on the wall climbing car, r/c cars are so passée, so welcome the window climbing robot.
The Climb@Tron looks like one of those old wind up toys, however it’s a tad more advanced. It has suckers for feet so it is able to walk up smooth vertical surfaces and when it gets to the top it, errr, walks back down, exciting or what! Check out the video.
New video from long time Robots.net member “roschler” shows a Roboquad robot being controlled by voice, over the Internet with the help of Robodance and Skype’s video call service. The robot explores the house while beaming back audio and video to a laptop running only Skype. The laptop dials into the home computer which is running Robodance version 4, a free software program for making consumer robots do more then most people thought possible.
It just seemed a given that with the Roomba, the Scooba, and the Dirt Dog, iRobot would eventually come out with a robotic lawn mower. And they still might, but they won’t be first.
That singular distinction goes to the Husqvarna Automower which can mow in a random patter and is corralled by a perimeter wire to keep it mowing your lawn and not your neighbor’s. Capable of mowing up to half an acre at a stretch, it’s large wheels allow the Automower to run on uneven lawns and handle inclines of up to approximately 35%. Built in bump sensors also allow it to move around trees, rose bushes, and anything else cluttering up the yard. What’s cool is that the clippings are mulched and reintroduced into the lawn to help keep it healthy.
This is a great idea if you’ve got kids who get bored doing their homework. It’s also a great parent aide (particularly if you get asked those tricky questions like “how high is the sky?” or “when was Cleopatra born?”, or “how do you spell ‘prestidigitation’?”) As Brian has stored within his animatronic brain The Concise Encyclopedia from Britannica®, a dictionary and also a world history timeline, you should be able to ask him virtually anything and he should know.
The kids will think Brian the Brain is such a cool addition to their room and can also act as their own personal filo-fax, keeping all their important telephone numbers and dialing them on their voice command (when he’s plugged into the phone socket).