Double Robotics has created a telepresence design that is simple, beautiful and elegant. It is in essence a self balancing remote operated stand for the iPad that allows it’s user to interact with people anywhere in the world with wireless or 4g internet access. According to Double Robotics “touch screen controls allow you to freely move around without inconveniencing others. You can stay at eye level, whether sitting or standing, by adjusting your height remotely, which makes conversations fluid and real”. Demand for the Double thus far has been overwhelming, in fact the company has already sold out of the first production run but has plans in place to produce many more to meet the extraordinary demand. Preorders for the next production run ship in early 2013.
Human beings rely on a variety of subtle and not so subtle visual and emotional cues in order to communicate with one another. As robotics become more human like they will need to have the ability to communicate using “emotional expressions” which closely mimic those of their human counterparts. Can robots express emotions in a way that will be appealing to human beings? A team at the Interdepartmental Research Center at the University of Pisa in Italy have launched a research project called FACE to find out. FACE or Facial Automaton for Conveying Emotions uses the latest in robotics technology and cutting edge software to create oddly life-like robots. The FACE team seeks to further develop and improve upon its Robotics4.NET framework used program the robots and provide a communications infrastructure for its different software modules. According to Live Science; ” The FACE bot can register anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. That repertoire requires 32 separate motors to control “muscles” in her head and upper torso.” We have seen work in this area before with the Japanese ACTROID-F designed with a more pleasant appearance and capable of displaying a greater degree of speed and fluidity of movement. At this stage of development the robot can seem somewhat disturbing but as the technology improves this important work could lead to more convincing emotionally expressive robots.
It looks like Xenomorphs better watch their back, Raytheon corporation has created a new robot design that is strangely reminiscent of the fictional Power Loader from the 1986 Aliens sequel. It’s a teleoperated heavy lift robot based on a ditch witch except this one packs two massive robotic arms. The idea is to supplement and amplify the movements of the operator which can choose to manipulate the arms while onboard or from a remote location. Capable of lifting over 300 pounds this robot could work in hazardous environments too dangerous for humans. So you may be wondering when you can pick up your own heavy lift robot the answer is a whole lot sooner than you may think.
(KSL News 5 has been nominated for the 2011 “Most Inappropriate End of News Story Comment” of the year award)
The GroundBot from Swedish company RotundusRobotics takes a new spin on robotics design. At first glance you can tell this robot is not playing around, it looks mean and aggressive but the rounded design is what makes the all terrain GroundBot uniquely capable of navigating around different types of obstacles and terrain types. According to the company ” it operates in most terrain including deep snow, ice, mud and sand. It also floats on water. GroundBot is surprisingly light. Conventional surveillance robots, tipping the scales at over 200 kg, have a tendency to get bogged down in soft, unresisting surfaces. It weighs just 25 kg and can roll across all kinds of surfaces with ease.” Source: RotundusRobotics One can’t help but think that if you saw a squadron of GroundBots coming at you at night with headlights blazing, ones natural reaction would be to run away and fast. Fortunately GroundBots are here to help us, serving as a highly flexible mobile surveillance platform for a wide variety of security applications including; airport patrol, harbor protection and border security.