Monica's Helper Robots - Comic-Strips

Helper-Robots is a website, where "Monica" puts her robot-comics on - a mixture of Lolcats and Finite State Fantasies for my taste. Every strip is in think-mode, at least the speech is very technical. There is also one, where you get some background information on how and why. It is somehow hard for me to tell what this comics are about, but at least they play at the living-with-robots level. I slightly get the feeling that the robot-scene is not mainly dominated by men, like the computer-nerd culture is. And I hope they clean the site a little, it seems that they just stared over a journal.

Tags: fun, giving-birth, helper
Mar_13:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Absolut Robots - Exploration of Artificial Creativity

Be prepared for the biggest networked robot installation that has been so far. Absolut, that one of your favorite drinks, enabled a huge project: the Absolut Machines. The project features two robot-halls: one in New York City, the other in Stockholm. Everyone can log in and play live with the robots. They are music creatures.

The results are filmed and streamed live into the internet, so not only you can see the action, but also other the people in the world logged in. By playing short music-sequences robot is animated to interpret the entered data and it plays additional sequences to it. An exploration of artificial creativity. The sound generation is not only a software thing. The sequences are triggered by real physical instruments, for example by ping-pong balls that fly across the air and hit brandy glasses. And everybody can watch it. That's what I call maximalism! Sometimes you can spot some people in the robot-hall maintaining the system or just hanging around.

The project was made by two former MIT-lab members, namely Dan Paluska and Jeff Liberman. Please note that beautiful DOS-styled operating system. If this isn't a hint, than what else?


Tags: art, maximalism, networked, global, music, artificial creativity
Mar_12:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Swarm Robotics on Wikipedia

Wikipedia holds an article about Swarm Robotics, that simply needs some polishing. The latest versions online evidentially were written by scientists. With all that mad sentence structures, ill anatomy of paragraphs and most prominently the subjectification of verbs, where they just don't support the readers imagination. Sentences with goals at start, going over wished things and ending up-where it all started, is such an evidence for it.

I decided to do some editorial work for this site. It should just be a great article to get quality information on this relative new chapter of robotics.

Some of our re-written text:

Relative simple individual rules can produce a large set of complex swarm behavior. A key-component is the communication between the members of the group that build a system of constant feedback. The swarm behavior involves constant change of individuals in cooperation with others, as well as the behavior of the whole group.

Potential applications for swarm robotics include tasks that demand for miniaturization (nanorobotics, microbotics), like distributed sensing tasks in micromachinery or the human body. On the other hand swarm robotics can be suited to tasks that demand cheap designs, for instance mining-tasks or agricultural foraging tasks. Also some artists use swarm robotic techniques to realize new forms of interactive art. Both miniaturization and cost are key-factors in swarm robotics. This are the constraints to build large groups of robotics, therefore the simplicity of the individual team member should be emphasized. This should motivate a swarm-intelligent approach to achieve meaningful behavior on swarm-level, instead of the individual level.

Much smoother now.

Tags: swarm, open-source, wikipedia
Mar_10:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Modular Snake Robots

It is incredible what the Carnegie Mellon University builds inside their labs. This video show the 'Modular Snake Robots'. This is really advanced level! The snake-bots are highly flexible and versatile. They can walk on the floor, crouch on bars and trousers, as well as going through holes and tubes - or climate control units - how creepy. They can even swim and look, no are, living creatures. Once again, the Modsnake Website.


Tags: outside, creature, modular, research, giving-birth
Mar_08:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Gazillion Bird Swarms in England

This documentary explains the natural phenomena of a huge swarm of Starlings seems that you can see in some regions of the UK. One of the reason, why the birds do it, is to make themself warm throughout the winter. On another video of this swarm phenomena the maker of the film notices at the YouTube site:

The film can't get anywhere close to portraying the beauty and enormity of this sight. You can feel the air push around you as the flock whooshes overhead.

There are however also pictures available from this session at flickr, as well as a pool of starling pictures for the biological interested.

Tags: swarm, nature, outdoor, play
Mar_07:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Hex Bug - Simple Sensor Toy Robot

Toys, Bugs, Drum'n'Bass. This continues our series of music and robots, like the content we had in the last few days. Anyway - the Hex Bugs are colored, six-legged and they have cool names like Bug Echo and Bug Delta. They have sensors for hand-clapping and object-detecting, like "Don't walk on this wall". Imagine what swarm-behaviour they would unveil if you stack a room full of this toys. This toy-robots I guess will be hardly available in Germany. Where can I buy them?

Tags: music, swarm, play
Mar_06:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Music Videoclip with Keepon passing Scientific Tests

Everyones darling "Keepon" plays the main role in this video. It is the first videoclip I know that is build entirely on real, physical dancing robots. There are other clips as well, but they consist more of film-tricks than real robots... It doesn't seem to be the case in that clip.

The video is hosted on Wired's YouTube account and they disabled embedding of the video by default. I don't know why, because at the same time they release the video under a creative commons licence. To be honest, this video is also a promotion for the band Spoon, but if the promotion is so lovely and jeweled with a star like Keepon, than we will love it, too. Full Rating. Caution, there are also little humanoids in this video.

Tags: music, play, outdoor, video, humanoid, keepon
Mar_05:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

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