Lego Mindstorms oversized bugs

Some days ago I discovered this picture of this wonderful Lego-Mindstorm-Hexapods. They are not huge, but also not small and were showed on the Robo Japan Exhibition 2008. I love the small feet, that let the bugs crawl forward. What is more to say? Having those two bugs at home is not a must have, but this two buddies would give a nice warm presence.

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Tags: lego, mindstorms, play, homebrew
Nov_24:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Catarpillar builds a heavy mining robot truck

Catarpillar Robot Truck

Yay, if you've ever wanted to drive a big truck, be sure, that robots had the same dream. Until now, because engineers at Caterpillar and informatics engineers at the Carnegie Mellon University are about to equip a huge mining truck with technology, to make it drive autonomous. This is not meant to be fun or research, they have some clear reasons in mind: improvement of safety, efficiency and productivity in order to reduce costs and increase availability. Japan company Komatsu already has some mining trucks rolling at the Gaby mine in Chile, but this caterpillar will by far be the biggest and strongest.

3,550-horsepower, 24-valve engine moving while up to 42 miles per hour. A weight of 700 tons with the ability to load 240 tons of mines. GPS keeps the tracking of this vehicles, while laser-scanners monitor the road and search for obstacles. The software they use will be an adaption of a competition entry at the DARPA Urban Challenge. Tony Stentz from Carnegie Mellon University said, that the "autonomous" technology is surely at it early stages and maybe will increase and get more popular and enhanced over the next 10 years. And it seems, that non-human environments like mines, are a good test- and playground to experiment with. Beware to meet this robot!

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Tags: car, vehicle, autonomous, large, ourdoor
Nov_22:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Florian Kräutli - Magnetic Curtain Structure

Magnetic Curtain Florian Kraeutli

Once again a proof, that the best ideas in design are simple. Swiss designer Florian Kräutli made usage of a structure, that combines magnets and cloth to a curtain, that can take any shape. Just put the curtain into the right shape and you're done. The magnets will fix the curtain in shape, well you now why.

Not let the magnetic points be tiny little swarm robots. Yay, that'll be fun. "Beware of the crouching curtain!"

Magnetic Curtain Florian Kraeutli

The structure itself remembers me on "superstructures" from city-visions from the 1960ies, just think of Archigram or something like this. Some related structure is the D12-Mediator. Are this geometric shape very somehow soothing and relaxing, or is it just my emotion?

Tags: research, structure, magnet, magnetic, swarm, indoor, architecture
Nov_17:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Mari Kimura: Violin vs. spooky robot Guitar

This could go on forever. String-artist Mari Kimura set up a system, some kind of Guitar Bot, that produces very odd sounds. The bot is triggered by the Violin play of Mari Kimura, while the sound is produced by guitar-like mechanics. Computer algorithms react to the sounds of the environment and by exact rules. The pitch of the four string-robots are shifted accordingly, but separate from each other, varied by moving bars. This sounds very like bending a string instrument, while it is playing. The bot is keeping its tones and motions - unique and shivering. While she is playing with the violin.

About the technical setup I quote Mari via Create Digital Music:

Behind the white box, there is a Mac and an audio interface. I am running a software MaxMSP, which is LISTENING to the pitch. loudness and the timing of the violin. The ‘patch’ I created in Max contains certain interactive instructions such as "listen to the E (highest open string on the violin)". For example in the beginning, if you listen carefully you notice when I play above E, it stops. Interactions change in predetermined time frames.

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Tags: music, art, video, string, guitar
Nov_16:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Waseda Flutist Robot

Waseda Flutist Robot: A music playing robot, with a very special character. The exact name is "Anthropomorphic Flutist Robot WF-4RIV", but this makes this creation not less scary. He plays the "Flight of the Bumblebee" - a real benchmark for flute playing robots it seems. The robot was developed by the Takanishi Laboratory of the Waseda university in Japan. They have interesting research, worth taking a look.

Tags: music, video, flute, play
Nov_10:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

House cleaning robot from Japan

University of Tokyo and Toyota Motor Corporation made a household-bot, a so called maid-robot. It has a really funny form and seem to have a friendly nature. The robot "mops up, does the laundry and even cleans the kitchen". Is this the answer to the Ready-Bot?

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Tags: indoor, household, assistant
Nov_07:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Surveillance cameras disguised as robot sculptures by Björn Schülke

Media Artist Björn Schülke put a tiny twist into this robotic sculptures. They move and look mostly harmless, but they are surveying the visitors. The videopicture can not only be seen on the monitors in the heart of the robots, but are also taped and archived. Schülke talks of "autonomous observing systems" on his webpage. The robots are somehow reacting to the "warmblooded" spectators. Although they look interesting, the sculptures have no other use than than "permanent observation". Now say what?

(Pictures by Schuelke)

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Tags: art, video, surveillance, germany
Nov_05:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

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