Feb 012006
Save the Aibo!

source: ColorSiteShop.com

It was thanks to their meticulous attention to detail while inspecting Sony’s quarterly earnings report last week that the fellas at Akihabaranews.com were able to uncover Sony’s plans to put the Aibo to sleep. Even though Sony went public with their decision previous to the Akibaranews discovery in a press conference held in Japan about their earnings, it wasn’t until Akihabaranews reported their findings that word spread rapidly online, disappointing Aibo owners, robot enthusiasts, and tech dreamers alike. Today Akihabaranews.com reports that a group of French Aibo owners have started an online petition in an attempt to keep the platform alive, or at the very least, let Sony know how much this shortsighted decision affected not only Aibo owners, but others as well.

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Jan 252006


PC Magazine has an article today about a study by the Centre for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University’s veterinary school that has concluded that the benefits of having a robot pet are similar to those that come from real pets. It has long been known that human-pet interaction is good for maintaining physiological health and low stress levels. Children with pets usually have better social skills and are better learners than those without. Lead researcher Gail Melson has determined that a robot pet, in this case a Sony Aibo, makes an acceptable substitute for the real thing.

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Dec 102005

ROBOTIS Bioloid modular robot kit

I’m finally getting through posting about the robots at IREX last week, but the one that is left on my list, the ROBOTIS Bioloid robot kit, may be of the most interest to amateur roboticists. There are several robot kits available these days, and they run the gamut from relatively simple and cheap to expensive and complicated. On the more affordable end of the spectrum are Lego Mindstorms and Radio Shack’s VEX system. More expensive (and complex) products include Kondo’s KHR-1. Korean manufacturer ROBOTIS offers systems similar to the KHR-1 in that they can be purchased in a kit form that includes a microcontroller, servos, sensors, frames, and wheels. Unlike the KHR-1 each kit can be assembled into a variety of different forms including a humanoid, dog, spider, or whatever you can imagine. If you need additional components to create your custom bot, ROBOTIS sells all of the parts individually as well. The Bioloid kit sells for $1500 USD.

Oct 022005

Sony AIBO ERS-7M3Sony released a new version of it’s popular robo-dog, the AIBO, last week. The ERS-7M3, which seems to only currently be available for order in Japan, retails at about $2300 USD. The important distinction between this model and the previous ERS-7M2 model is in the “M3” portion of it’s designation, referring to the fact it utilizes the Mind 3 version of it’s central AI software. The ERS-7M3 appears physically similar to it’s predecessors, but the Mind 3 software adds some behaviors more like it’s real-world counterparts including scratching it’s ears with it’s hind leg and yawning as well as some things no earthly dog will ever be able to do including conversing with it’s owner using hundreds of phrases that develop as it matures, diary writing and taking dictation.

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