Mar 292006
 
TomCat Robot Cat

credit: Alegrobot, Inc.

Still looking to fill the void left since Sony surreptitiously put down their robot dog Aibo, I am always excited to read about any new robotic animals under development. The Raw Feed is reporting today that Illinois-based robotic research group Iguana Robotics Inc. has created TomCat, a headless robot cat whose lack of visual aesthetics is more than made up for by its performance. TomCat is available for purchase through Alegrobot, Inc., the retail corollary of Iguana, for $2750 USD.

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Mar 142006
 

Robot Koi
Today is shaping up to be aquatic robot day, so it’s fitting that Pink Tentacle brings us an article about a robot built by Ryomei Engineering that is modeled after a koi carp. At 31 inches long and 26 pounds, the robotic koi can swim like the real thing plus do some things its inspiration can’t, like swimming backwards and rotating in place. It is controlled by wireless remote, has a camera in its head and built-in sensors for testing water quality. The koi is not the first aquatic robot Ryomei Engineering has produced. Other iterations include a sea bream and prehistoric coelacanth.

Read about the robotic koi at PinkTentacle.com: “Hiroshima engineers develop robotic carp

Mar 132006
 

ACM-R5 Snake RobotRobot snakes are nothing new, and although there are quite a few impressive models out there already, Engadget.com reported yesterday on the ACM-R5, an amphibious robosnake that out-snakes the rest of them. At a little over 6 feet long and weighing roughly 18 pounds, the ACM-R5 expertly mimics the movement of its biological counterpart both on land and in water. TechEBlog.com has an excellent video showing the ACM-R5 swimming and crawling, as well some pretty detailed shots illustrating its inner workings. The narration is in Japanese, but the footage is compelling regardless.

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Mar 042006
 

Boston Dynamics' BigDog

Defense contractor Boston Dynamics has recently posted video of its BigDog four-legged robot pack mule in action. Funded by DARPA, BigDog is being developed for the US military to carry heavy gear for soldiers across terrain that is not suitable for vehicles. Measuring a little over 3 feet long by 2.5 feet high and weighing 165 pounds, it is indeed closer in size to a large canine than a pack mule. Nonetheless, BigDog seems up to the challenge. It can walk at speeds of up to 3.3 mph, climb 35 degree slopes and carry loads of 120 lbs, following a simple path autonomously or more complicated routes under remote control.

Feb 142006
 

Ugobe Pleo demoA little over a week ago at the DEMO 2006 conference Ugobe announced their first designer life form, Pleo, a robot modeled after a one week old Camarasaurus. Pleo is the first offering from the new California-based robotics company co-founded by Furby designer Caleb Chung. In the weeks prior to the announcement, several tech blogs had begun ruminating about Ugobe and whether they could live up to the declaration on their homepage that their technology would transform “inanimate objects into lifelike creatures exhibiting stunning, organic movement and dynamic behaviors.”

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Feb 062006
 
Ugobe Pleo Dinosaur Robot

Ugobe Pleo

When Sony announced recently that they would be terminating their well-known robot dog Aibo, robot enthusiasts began looking desperately for another company and product to fill the void. Last week, Ugobe, the California-based robotics company co-founded by Furby designer Caleb Chung, caught the attention of many tech blogs, including Robot Gossip, who wondered if they would be able to live up to the promise published on their homepage to “develop and market revolutionary robotic technology that transforms inanimate objects into lifelike creatures exhibiting stunning, organic movement and behaviors.” Ugobe stepped up to the plate this morning at the DEMO 2006 conference currently under way in Phoenix, AZ and announced details about their first “Designer Life Form” robot, Pleo, modeled after a one-week old infant Camarasaurus.

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Jan 082006
 

Robosapien RS2 Media Robot
WowWee announced three new robots at the Consumer Electronics Expo (CES) in Las Vegas last week, and the guys from both Gizmodo and Engadget were able to swing by their booth at the Sands Convention Center to get firsthand glimpses of the new bots, and to provide for us, the unfortunate non-attendees, some great pictures. The Robosapien RS2 Media, the Roboreptile, and the P-Bot will become available commercially over the next year and a half and will join the other immensely popular robots manufactured by WowWee including the Robosapien, the Robosapien V2, the Roboraptor, and the Robopet.

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Dec 142005
 
MIT's Snail Robot

source: AIP/MIT/Chan, B. et al

Nature.com is reporting today that researchers from MIT have created a robotic snail capable of climbing vertical walls and traveling upside down across ceilings. The team, led by Anette Hosoi, developed the mechanical slug primarily to study the locomotive mechanisms of biological snails, although they believe the results of their research will eventually end up in practical robot applications.

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Nov 252005
 
AMouse - A robot mouse with whiskers

source: M. Fend

As part of the Artificial Mouse (AMOUSE) Project, researchers from the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich have developed a robotic mouse, the AMouse, that navigates by means of an omnidirectional camera, several light sensors, and two active artificial whisker arrays. In nature, vibrissae, better known as whiskers, are important sensors for short-range navigation and environmental exploration. The goal of the research is to learn more about the biology and neurology of rodent behavior and to study the way that the input from long and medium range sensors like the camera and light detectors function with and compliment the short range, somatosensory input provided by the whiskers.

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Nov 092005
 
Amoeba-like robot

source: Hong/Ingram

Discovery.com is reporting today that researchers from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have developed a robot that does not use wheels or legs to move, but rather uses its skin as its means of propulsion in much the same way that amoeba do. While this method of locomotion will not be practical in most applications it does give the robot the unique ability of squeezing through spaces that are much smaller than its own diameter – a feat not easily accomplished by robots employing traditional propulsion systems.

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