Vintage Robots: Coin Operated, Penny Arcade Robot-Games

Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum got a wonderful website with the history and collection of vintage, coin-operated robot-games, that were popular during the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s - until the era of the videogames finally breaked through. It is funny though, because nowadays robots are slowly, but surely on its way, to replace the dominance of videogames by doing robotics again (ok, this is future-music).

Nevertheless, feel free to stumble in this great archive of old robot-machines and you will meet, fortune tellers, cranes and driggers, even mechanical driving- and gun-games and more coin-operated entertainment machines from the past.

Tags: coin operated, vintage, history, entertainment, arcade
Jun_03:2009 .020200 Comments(0)

Tokyo Scientists discovered "walking gel"

Scientists from Tokyo University discoveres a new material, that can "walk like a inchworm". As you can see in this video, it's very small - and very revolutionary, because the material can move, without electrical power. It's coming all from a chemical reaction inside the material.

Shingo Maeda and colleagues made the colour-changing, motile gel by combining polymers that change in size depending on their chemical environment. This is based on an oscillating chemical reaction called the Belousov–Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction. The result is an autonomous material that moves without electronic stimulation.

In short, the concentration of one or more compounds in the gel periodically increases and decreases, resulting in this "walking pattern". Discovered by the Shuji Hashimoto applied physics laboratory the Waseda University in Tokyo.


Tags: research, gel, walk, chemistry
Jun_02:2009 .020200 Comments(1)

Air-controlled robot-hand, called "RAPHaEL"

"RAPHaEL (Robotic Air-Powered Hand with Elastic Ligaments)" is a flexible controlled robot-hand, moved by air. It is connected to a tank filled with compressed air. The hand itself is made of transparent plastic, where the single fingers can move individually. But not only that.

A light-sensor is able to detect shadows of shapes. Therefore the hand can "take" objects and hold them. As you can see in the video, it can to be sensitive as well - the air pressure in general controls, how strong the grip will be. Another speciality is, that each finger is only moves by one single actuator. Nevertheless the motion and grip looks natural by shape and design of the finger. It will be also a cheap way of doing hands with low number of parts in total.


Tags: hand, body, research, pneumatic, air
Jun_01:2009 .020200 Comments(0)

Bebot - Robot Synth for iPod and iPod Touch

bebot iphone robot

Bebot is a very cute synthesizer for the iPhone, that does not only sound quite nice, but also will melt the hearts of all robot-lovers out there. It features a "singing tin robot" as a character, that "sings" the stuff you play.

There are different parameters, like waveforms to select, effects like delay and chorus or keyboard scales. The synth is played with the touch pad, similar to a kaos-pad, where you play "virtual scales". Interesting is the multi-touch experience. Multiple fingers play multiple tones.

The app is 1,99 dollar. For people in love with singing Bebot, there are also shirts available over at Normalware or Red Bubble.

Tags: music, iphone, synth, speed, cute
May_30:2009 .020200 Comments(0)

Robot Boozarama by HERO-1

Today I found interesting footage on YouTube by an artist called Wendy Dunham. This video here features "HERO the Robot", built in 1983 by Wendy herself, the YouTube liner-notes say. The really best thing in the video is the following statement from the robot:

"Brain the size of a planet and they ask me to mix drinks."

So let there be booze! More stuff from Wendy I selected at Digital Tools.

Tags: robot, booz, party, mix, retro
May_27:2009 .020200 Comments(0)

Fukitorimushi: Wipe-up worm floor clean robot

Yeah. Today I came across this fine robotic design from Japan. This floor-cleaning robot moves like a worm over the floor and wipes it up. It is so the somehow more decent version opposed to the Roomba. With a pair of Fukitorimushi and Roomba you can now wipe-up floors and vacuum clean carpets!

Fukitorimushi was shown at the Tokyofiber exhibition in Milano. The floor-cleaner uses a special microfiber to wipe and a special "sensors" of blue-white light to search for dirt! Say hello to a new era of home-robotics!


Tags: floor, indoor, roomba, cleaning, home
May_25:2009 .020200 Comments(0)

BBC Blast Studio

Another multimedia, web-based controlled robotic experiment. You can connect to the BBC Blast Studio, in order to control the machines. You can mold, throw paintballs onto a canvas or do other different sort of things. It is a real time art installation, and somehow an inofficial follow-up project of the Absolute Robots.


Tags: webbased, colors, experiment, uk, bbc
May_25:2009 .020200 Comments(0)

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