Monday, January 31, 2011

The iRobot Roomba And Scooba

Sponsored Post: The iRobot Roomba and Scooba iRobot

Sponsored Post: The iRobot Roomba And Scooba -- Popular Science

The iRobot Roomba and Scooba will leave you floored.

The modern American home has become a minefield of microscopic ordnance. Dust bombs... pet hair parapets... corn chips strewn like spent shell casings. It’s an unruly battlescape that requires the kind of constant vigilance that none of us has time to practice.

Which is why iRobot, a company that builds bomb detecting robots for the military, also employs state of the art technology in its Roomba and Scooba cleaning robots. The Roomba autovac is the beneficiary of ongoing technological advancements made by iRobot’s team of roboticists. Followed by the Scooba line of hardwood, linoleum and tile floor washers, the two persistent robots combine to remove up to 98 percent of household dirt and dust and up to 97 percent of bacteria*.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Slithering Robots Learn To Stand On Their Own Four Feet

A new robot learns to slither, then crawl, before it can walk. Credit: Joshua Bongard

From Live Science:

Robots that evolved from crawling babies into upright adults could help pave the way for better bots.

Using a computer program, researchers at the University of Vermont simulated a population of naive "baby" robots. The robots had to complete various tasks in their virtual environment, such as finding objects and walking toward them. Those robots that performed poorly got deleted, while the best-performing ones remained "alive."

The robots that changed their body forms (like tadpoles growing into frogs) learned to walk more rapidly and developed the most stable gait, the researchers found.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Best Of Web Video: Kinect-Controlled Robot

From New Scientist:

Our top video this month is a robot controlled with a Microsoft Kinect game controller

Microsoft Kinect's game controllers have been popular with hackers since their launch in November last year. The sophisticated depth-sensing camera can detect your gestures from afar, typically to play video games. But we've seen it hacked to control a digital bird, morph an image and even to apply digital clothing to a topless man (watch these hacks here). Now developer Taylor Veltrop has used the system to control a small humanoid robot (see video above). The camera recognises a person's arm movements and turns them into commands for the robot, allowing it to mimic them.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Super-Tough Robotic Hands Are Now Real (Video)

Video: Scientists Smash A Super-Tough Robotic Hand With A Hammer -- Popular Science

Good news everyone! German robotics researchers have built a hyper-strong hand that can withstand hammer blows! Come and shake the hand that will someday wring our species' collective neck.

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My Comment: We are getting to that age when robots are just like us .... but stronger (and probably a bit smarter).