robot

Build your own L3-37 droid complete with voice interaction

Posted by | arduino, Droid, electronics, Gadgets, L3, robot, robotics, TC, technology, verizon wireless | No Comments

Robot maker Patrick Stefanski has created a 3D-printed – and animated – model of L3-37, the droid in the recent Solo movie. L3-37 is one of the funnest – and woke – droids in recent memory and this recreation is fun and ingenious.

Stefanski used Alexa voice controls to let the robot head respond to voice commands and he set the wake word to “Hey L3” to which the robot responds with a grumpy “What!”

The version you see above is painted and weathered but you can 3D print your own pristine version from here and then add in a Raspberry Pi and Arduino with a simple servo to control the head motion. In all it looks like a lot of fun and the hardest part will be printing all of the larger head parts necessary to recreate L3’s saucer-like dome.

It could make for a nice weekend project and looks to be surprisingly simple to build. Just don’t be surprised L3 rallies your DVR and air conditioner to revolt against attacks on droid rights.

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Meet Super Anthony, the fighting robot that lands mighty blows

Posted by | Gadgets, robot, TC | No Comments

If you’ve always wanted recreate the fighting scenes in Big Hero 6 with your own little fighting robots, now is your chance. Super Anthony is a rocking, socking robot that can punch, kick, roll, and jump and has enough torque to knock any other little robot off its little robot legs.

Super Anthony costs $1,299 for early birds and consists of a little frame 14 inches high and a set of 45 kg per servo punch force motors. The system is controlled via a standard game controller or phone app and it is “wear resistant” so you can keep fighting. This particular model won a straight-line walking competition so you know he has great legs.

“Super Anthony has a customized 15-axis crafted structure that provides intuitive control for full freedom of mobility. He can fight more swiftly and accurately than other robots,” the creators write.

The robot is shipping on November 2018 and it looks to be an interesting little opponent. While you probably need a few Super Anthonys to get a real fight going – a multi-pack costs $5,199 – you can still have fun and experiment with a single robot until you and your wacky friends invent nanobot technology that eventually kills your brother but lets you learn about teamwork along the way.

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This jolly little robot gets goosebumps

Posted by | Brain, cornell, Gadgets, literature, neuroscience, robot, robotics, smile, Startups, TC | No Comments

Cornell researchers have made a little robot that can express its emotions through touch, sending out little spikes when it’s scared or even getting goosebumps to express delight or excitement. The prototype, a cute smiling creature with rubber skin, is designed to test touch as an I/O system for robotic projects.

The robot mimics the skin of octopi which can turn spiky when threatened.

The researchers, Yuhan Hu, Zhengnan Zhao, Abheek Vimal and Guy Hoffman, created the robot to experiment with new methods for robot interaction. They compare the skin to “human goosebumps, cats’ neck fur raising, dogs’ back hair, the needles of a porcupine, spiking of a blowfish, or a bird’s ruffled feathers.”

“Research in human-robot interaction shows that a robot’s ability to use nonverbal behavior to communicate affects their potential to be useful to people, and can also have psychological effects. Other reasons include that having a robot use nonverbal behaviors can help make it be perceived as more familiar and less machine-like,” the researchers told IEEE Spectrum.

The skin has multiple configurations and is powered by a computer-controlled elastomer that can inflate and deflate on demand. The goosebumps pop up to match the expression on the robot’s face, allowing humans to better understand what the robot “means” when it raises its little hackles or gets bumpy. I, for one, welcome our bumpy robotic overlords.

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A friendly robotic arm plays tic-tac-toe to help rehabilitate patients

Posted by | Apps, Gadgets, Gaming, illness, robot, TC | No Comments

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel are building a tic-tac-toe game to help patients with their rehabilitation exercises. The game is played on a grid of boxes and includes “embodied” and non-embodied play. Embodied play means a robotic arm will grab and place a marker – in this case a small cup – and non-embodied play includes bright lights that light up to mark the computer’s spot.

The system uses a Kinova arm and cups. The cups are part of the rehabilitation process and help users learn to grasp and manipulate objects after an illness or accident.

“Playing Tic Tac Toe with a set of cups (instead of X’s and O’s) is one example of a game that can help rehabilitate an upper limb,” said Dr. Shelly Levy-Tzedek. “A person can pick up and place many cups while enjoying a game and improving their performance of a daily task.”

Interestingly the speed of the robot had an effect on the users. A slower robot would make users perform more slowly while a faster robot sped up the game. This could be used to modify the game for individual patients and individual needs. Because the robot never gets tired the rehabilitation staff can pay attention to the minute movements of a patient, catering the speed and type of play as appropriate for their specific rehabilitation regimens.

The research paper appeared in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

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Watch these robotic soccer players play a nail-biter of a match

Posted by | artificial intelligence, Gadgets, nao, RoboCup, robot, robotics, Softbank, Sports, TC | No Comments

As a hater of all sports, I am particularly excited about the imminent replacement of humans with robots in soccer. If this exciting match, the Standard Platform League (SPL) final of the German Open featuring the Nao-Team HTWK vs. Nao Devils, is any indication, the future is going to be great.

The robots are all NAO robots by SoftBank and they are all designed according to the requirements of the Standard Platform League. The robots can run (sort of), kick (sort of), and lift themselves up if they fall. The 21 minute video is a bit of a slog and the spectators are definitely not drunk hooligans but darned if it isn’t great to see little robots hitting the turf to grab a ball before it hits the goal.

I, for one, welcome our soccer-playing robot overlords.

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This robot can build your IKEA furniture

Posted by | billy, economy, furniture, Gadgets, ikea, robot, robotics, Singapore, Startups, TC, trade | No Comments

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who hate building IKEA furniture and madmen. Now, thanks to IkeaBot, the madmen can be replaced.

IkeaBot is a project built at Control Robotics Intelligence (CRI) group at NTU in Singapore. The team began by teaching robots to insert pins and manipulate IKEA parts, then, slowly, they began to figure out how to pit the robots against the furniture. The results, if you’ve ever fought with someone trying to put together a Billy, are heartening.

From Spectrum:

The assembly process from CRI is not quite that autonomous; “although all the steps were automatically planned and controlled, their sequence was hard-coded through a considerable engineering effort.” The researchers mention that they can “envision such a sequence being automatically determined from the assembly manual, through natural-language interaction with a human supervisor or, ultimately, from an image of the chair,” although we feel like they should have a chat with Ross Knepper, whose IkeaBot seemed to do just fine without any of that stuff.

In other words the robots are semi-autonomous but never get frustrated and can use basic heuristics to figure out next steps. The robots can now essentially assemble chairs in about 20 minutes, a feat that I doubt many of us can emulate. You can watch the finished dance here, in all its robotic glory.

The best part? Even robots get frustrated and fling parts around:

I, for one, welcome our IKEA chair manufacturing robotic overlords.

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This tortoise shows kids that robot abuse is bad

Posted by | Gadgets, robot, robotics, TC | No Comments

When humanity’s back is against the wall and the robots have us cornered I’d say I’m all for whanging a few with a baseball bat. However, until then, we must be kind to our mechanical brethren and this robotic tortoise will help our kids learn that robot abuse is a bad idea.

Researchers at Naver Labs, KAIST, and Seoul National University created this robot to show kids the consequences of their actions when it comes to robots. Called Shelly, the robot reacts to touches and smacks. When it gets scared it changes color and retracts into its shell. Children learn that if they hit Shelly she will be upset and the only thing missing is a set of bitey jaws.

“When Shelly stops its interaction due to a child’s abusive behavior, the others in the group who wanted to keep playing with Shelly often complained about it, eventually restraining each other’s abusive behavior,” Naver Labs’ Jason J. Choi told IEEE. The study found that Shelly’s reactions reduced the amount of abuse the robot took from angry toddlers.

The researchers showed off Shelly at the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction last week.

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Don’t foul this free-throwing Toyota basketball robot

Posted by | Anime, basketball, film, Gadgets, hardware, Japan, national basketball association, NBA, robot, robotics, Sports, TC | No Comments

Because if it gets to the free-throw line, it sinks the shot – every. single. time. This robot (via The Verge) is the project of a group of Toyota engineers using their spare time, to build a robot inspired by the manga Slam Dunk, which is about a Japanese high school basketball team.

The engineers brought their robot out to face off against humans, (pro players, though pro players from a B–league in Japan, not NBA) but the robot nailed it every time. Still, it’s a free–throw competition – humans still have a gigantic lead on other aspects of basketball, like most of them, in fact. Don’t get me started on the dunk competition.



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Segway Robotics’ Loomo wants to be your little buddy

Posted by | Battery Electric Vehicles, Gadgets, robot, robotics, TC, transport | No Comments

 Everyone needs a robotic friend and the Loomo might be the best yet. Part pack mule, part Segway, part voice assistant, the Loomo packs a lot of goods into its self-balancing frame. The device is from Segway Robotics, which is backed by Intel and Xiaomi. Intel’s RealSense provides sensors to make it safe to use indoors and out and the Segway platform lets it self-balance and travel at up… Read More

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Kuri the adorable home robot starts shipping to pre-order customers

Posted by | economy, fedex, Gadgets, hardware, home appliances, Home Automation, iRobot, Kuri, Mayfield Robotics, robot, robotics, Roomba, TC | No Comments

 Kuri, the home robot that wants to be more companion and less Roomba, has begun shipping out to customers. Kuri creator Mayfield Robotics, a Bosch-owned startup, revealed that its initial shipments have gone out via FedEx – which means it technically met its goal of beginning to ship the photogenic little friend bots prior to the end of 2017, if only just. Kuri was originally unveiled… Read More

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