Bicycle, Unicycle and Portrait-making Robot

Did you already met this robots? A new breed of small scale robots is coming upon us. We have to get serious about living with robots real soon...

A Japanese manufacturer with the name Murata build this robots, that can ride bicycle, as well as unicycle. Official site here, additional information at Pink Tentacle.

When we already are on the topic about tiny humanoids, that do things normally humans do, than also notice this wonderful art-bot. The "Portraitist" Salvador DaBot is a robot with face recognition and the ability to draw faces as portrait with a pencil on paper. It was made by the Swiss robot artist and researcher Silvain Calignon. This here is the 2.0 version of the robot, and besides nice chat abilities it got a mustache an beret update. Meanwhile the "Portraitist" Salvador DaBot got a nice collection of works!

Portraitist via Botjunkie

Tags: humaniod, art, living-with-robots, research, painting
Sep_27:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Spykee: Toy-Robot, that spies and skypes

Invade and observe

Toy-Robots are beginning to get serious. The Spykee is a WiFi-enabled robot, that you can control via remote. It has a build in camera. You can "see with the robot-eyes" and "head with the robot-ears", while you control that boy. You can also videophone with the robot, because it has got a full-grown interface to the Skype VOIP-Protocol. In other words: this robot is also a remote controlled videophone. The sugar on top is, that you can use Spykee also as a music device, because he should be able to play music from your computer via WiFi.

See some hands-on at this blog. The inofficial website is located at, whey they collect wisdom and also some homebrew-stuff. You can find a chess-playing Spykee there at the moment. The official Spykee-Website is a little bit like, well, like those flashy-toy websites. A review with a full feature list is available at RobotsRule. Unfortunatelly that robot is not cheap. It should cost about 200 Pounds, so expect the price to be about 250 Euro.


Tags: play, indoor, skype, spy, toy, camera
Sep_24:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Light Bot: Robot-programming and gaming pleasure

This is fun! Light Bot is a neat flash-game. You control a little robots, by giving him commands like "walk forward" or "turn left". Your job is, to collect find blue tiles in the maze and turn them yellow. To do so, you have to set up the program in your robot accordingly. At higher levels you will like to write macros or little functions to make things easier for you to program (in the game the things are called functions). This is a very pleasing way to get into or learn writing and thinking in code. Even for kids.

Coding-language for kids is even a very interesting topic of its own. Maybe some of you will remember Logo, with that "crazy turtle"? I also took a quick glance at Boku, which looks quite interesting.


Tags: game, training, tool, play, kids, learn
Sep_20:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Artbots 2008: Rechnender Raum from Ralf Baecker

The Artbots 2008 in Dublin is currently running. Unfortunately without me. But I seen that there is also a contribution from Germany involved. It is the Rechnender Raum from Ralf Baecker. I've seen the work some month ago. It is far more interesting than it looks at the first place. And besides... it makes very sleek sounds:

It is an analogue 3-dimensional dynamic sculpture, that permanently calculates "cellular automaton". Doesn't sound that spectacular, but it is. Read more at the Artbots-Page.

Tags: event, uk, germany, europe, art, artbots
Sep_20:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Wind-up Birds: Robotic Woodpeckers

Picture by hc gilje

Another interesting music and robots and outdoor experience was made during an art project, called UT-21. This project connects several artists, 7 from Poland and 7 from Norway. The "Wind-up Bird" are small machines, that generate sounds very similar to woodpeckers, with some circuitry, mechanics and a wooden block. It should only have taken about 15 minutes for a real woodpecker to come to that place and "play along" with the music bots. (I don't know if this was a play for the bird, since I am no expert in biology. But I am really sure, that was pretty much a play experience for the art-people.)

One of the artist has some of the initial questions at the beginning of the project at hand. They are really pragmatic - for an art project. (But quite normal for a real researcher, eh?) They go like this:

How will nature treat them, with hostillity or acceptance? How will the wind-up birds adapt to heat/cold wet/dry conditions? Will small insects creep inside the circuitry creating possible short circuits, beetles eat the wood, squirrels use the wood slit as nut storage (or the roof as a slide?), birds use it as a shelter, etc.? Will they be treated as foreign objects or accepted into the local eco-system? How do real woodpeckers react? Are they threatened, attracted, or not bothered? Will they use the roof as a pecking drum?


Tags: music, outside, art, swarm, play
Sep_16:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Writing Robots Challenge at Let's Make Robots

This is a neat challenge indeed. The guys at Let's make Robots started competition to build a robot, that is able to write (I already know one).

The rules:

  • Make a robot that one way or the other writes either "", or "LMR" the way you like it.
  • Shoot it on video, enter it as a robot.
  • Best entries will be promoted / used to promote LMR - Fame, envy, marvel, admiration and respect is the prize!

Go here for more infos.

Tags: challenge, competition, homebrew, do-it-yourself, research, lmr
Sep_11:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Trauma Research with a Spiders-Robot and Bumble-Bees

Are you ready for some of the most unusual research? British scientists set up a spider-robot, that only exercise is to shock and traumatize bees. The researches had explored the effect, that traumatic experiences have on bumble bees.

Shock-Robot "Spider in Disguise"

The "spider in disguise" machine, that you can see on the picture, was used to attract bumble bees (smells good, looks flowery). When the came too near to the machine, the two robotic-arms hit together and gave the bee some really shocking event and set them in panic. After some pretty good shocks the bumble bees began to avoid the spider-machine.

The researchers were more interested in the after-effects of the shock-therapy. They came up with the result, that traumatized bees were changing their collection habits. The were generally slower that their colleges without the stress exposed to. The bees were acting nervous and distracted and learned, that some robot-spiders in disguise could lurk anywhere...

Please don't build such machines!! I guess this thing was only made once for research purposes. Read the whole story at Science News.


Tags: research, obscure, outdoor, living-with-robots
Sep_11:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

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