[ News Blog of Survive2012 ]

Wakamaru - looks after elderly Japanese

The Wakamaru is designed to help the elderly, and will be released next year, costing 1 million yen, ($US8,300):

Its 3-foot-tall frame contains an integrated cell phone that is programmed to call emergency dispatchers automatically if a problem occurs with a patient. An embedded Web camera lets doctors and family members keep an eye on the patient at all times. Speech-recognition software and a built-in dictionary provide the robot's vocabulary.

Wakamaru is so robust that he or she -- Mitsubishi can give the robot either a male or female voice -- can be programmed to remind patients to take their medicine and even call a doctor when it appears that someone is in distress.

The 3-foot-tall yellow wonder on wheels, named after an ancient samurai, can wake people up, warn them about the weather and patrol their house when they leave. It also recognizes faces and can talk.

"Wakamaru can make eye contact and then start the conversation," said Ryota Hiura, senior engineer on the company's robotics team.

Source: Wired + KRT Wire

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Man makes robot clone of himself

Ishiguro's silicone-and-steel doppelgänger was made from casts taken from his own body. Powered by pressurized air and small actuators, it runs on semiautonomous motion programs.

It blinks and fidgets in its seat, moving its foot up and down restlessly, its shoulders rising gently as though it were breathing. These micromovements are so convincing that it's hard to believe this is a machine -- it seems more like a man wearing a rubber mask. But a living, breathing man. [and it talks...]

Source: Wired

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Robot Cops to Patrol Korea

Police & military robots will patrol Korean streets within the next 5 years.

"Patrol bots will guard the streets at night, and even chase criminals, while horse-shaped combat bots will augment the country's fighting force. In both cases, the bots will communicate via Korea's vast mobile network."

Amazingly, RoboCop, and all the problems highlighted in the movies, could be reality real soon!

Source: Gear Factor

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Fastest robot on two legs!

A two-legged robot that walks at record-breaking speed has been developed by researchers from Germany and Scotland.

"RunBot" is the fastest robot on two legs – for its size. At 30 centimetres high, it can walk at a speedy 3.5 leg-lengths per second. This beats the previous record holder – MIT's "Spring Flamingo" – which is four times as tall but manages just 1.4 leg-lengths per second.

Source: New Scientist

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World's First Robot Receptionist

The world's first walking humanoid robot is set to make its office debut in 2006 as a receptionist, Honda announced on Tuesday. The latest version of Honda’s Asimo robot will be starting its new job in April at a Honda office in Wako in Saitama prefecture north of Tokyo.

The prototype, unveiled in Tokyo, can guide guests to a meeting room, serve coffee on a tray and push a cart with a load of up to 10 kilograms, says Honda.

Source: New Scientist

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Meet and Greet Robot

Goes on sale in limlited quantities this November in Japan

It is capable of receiving people, explaining exhibits, detecting the presence of people, finding its way around, providing visual images and administering questionnaires. It can store parcels up to 22lbs inside a compartment in its torso, while taking and carrying out delivery orders.

Source: itnews.com

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Robot with Coordinated Movement

A shape-shifting robot comprised of many independently moving components has been demonstrated walking, rolling and slithering for the first time.

Source: New Scientist

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Rise of the Machines!

For a while it was looking like a future with sci-fi robots was never going to come true. But the last couple of years have let us see how rapidly robots are growing in brain and in brawn...

Swarms of independently-minded collaborative robots are no longer the stuff of science fiction - they may soon be patrolling national borders and exploring space James McLurkin has a novel party trick - he can coax 20 small autonomous wheeled robots to form herds, disperse again, wheel in neat circles, sing a harmonic rendition of the theme from Star Wars, and automatically recharge from a power station.

Source: New Scientist

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Drinking Robot

The Bar Bot is driven by self interest. Its aim is to drink beer. In order to achieve this goal in bars, the social beer consumption localities of human society, it also deals with money. It asks people for coins and spends them as soon as there is enough for a beer. The Bar Bot is not beneficial for humanity. Rather, it maximises the advantage for itself, like humanity. But to pursue its own, highly selfish objectives, it dependends on others: somebody has to give it coins, somebody has to hand it a beer. This is where it engages in communication, in social interaction with human beings. The Bar Bot is driven by self interest, it interacts socially with humans and is predisposed to alcohol. The Bar Bot is probably the most humanoid robot ever built.

Source: RoboticsLab

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Killer Robots are coming

Next March or April the US Army will have some of these robots operating in Iraq: Exterminate

It is a black, 2-foot-six-inch robot rolling on twin treads, with an M249 machine gun cradled in its mechanical grip. Basically it is the same Talon robot they currently use for bomb-disposal duties.

Four cameras and a pair of night-vision binoculars allow the robot to operate at all times of the day. It has a range of about a half-mile in urban areas, more in the open desert. And with the ability to carry four 66-mm rockets or six 40-mm grenades, as well as an M240 or M249 machine gun

Source: Wired

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Robot Fighting!

robots fighting

A robot fighting contest that draws huge crowds in Japan each year has highlighted sophisticated technological trends in robotics, experts say.

The 2004 Robo-One contest, held in Kawasaki, central Japan on 8 August, drew hundreds of spectators. The event is inspired by the sport K-1, a combination of kick-boxing other martial arts that is popular in Japan.

But the contestants are remote controlled robots constructed and operated by robotics enthusiasts and experts. Robots battle it out one-on-one for the title of overall Robot-One champion. In each bout a winner is declared if a robot is unable to stand within ten seconds of falling over, or if one freezes up or falls from the fighting platform.

The competition also includes a frenetic multi-robot brawl known simply as "The Rumble". Eight robots scrap it out with the last one standing declared the winner.

Follow the link below if you want to see video footage of the robot fighting!

Source: New Scientist

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Self-sustaining killer robot

Killer - it kills flies Self-sustaining - it eats flies

Chris Melhuish and his team of robotics experts at the University of the West of England in Bristol are developing a robot that catches flies and digests them in a special reactor cell that generates electricity.

So what is the downside? The robot will most likely have to attract the hapless flies by using a stinking lure concocted from human excrement.

With a top speed of 10 centimetres per hour, EcoBot II's roving prowess is still modest to say the least. "Every 12 minutes it gets enough energy to take a step forwards two centimetres and send a transmission back," says Melhuish.

But it does not need to catch too many flies to do so, says team member Ioannis Ieropoulos. In tests, EcoBot II travelled for five days on just eight fat flies

The only limit to this idea is things they can eat. Nobody really minds if a few robots eat a few flies. I'd like to see a robot that ate seagulls and cleaned our beaches, but not everyone hates seagulls as much as I do....

Source: New Scientist

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A Climbing Robot

The spider-like robot, called Lemur, was developed by engineers at Stanford University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, as a prototype for a fully autonomous rock climber. It can already follow a human climber up an irregular surface without any guidance from a controller. And it has a spookily human gait.

At present it doesn't have any skills that supercede humans, and it cannot see (the route needs to be pre-programmed)... BUT, one day it will be super-human, and coupled with its relatively expendable nature, highly useful for search and rescue, exploration, and, dare I say, warfare.

Source: New Scientist

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Security Robots are here!

Secom has introduced the "Secom Robot X," a six-wheeled security robot.


  • 24km range
  • top speed of 10 kph
  • 360 degree cameras
  • smokescreen
  • flashing red and blue lights
  • microphone/speaker

It operates remotely, and according the the manufacturers, at around $3,000 per month it is half the price of a human security guard. And this is serious, and it will affect our lives, for they say 500 robots will be produced in the first year!

Sources: New Scientist + Tech Japan

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FDA Clears Implantable Chip for Market in United States

(i KNEW this would happen.)

FDA Clears Implantable Chip for Market in United States The Associated Press Apr 4, 2002 13:40 EST

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Dow Jones/AP) - The Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for Applied Digital Solutions Inc. to begin selling an implantable chip that would contain personal identification and medical data, the company said Thursday. Applied Digital, Palm Beach, said it had received a letter indicating that the FDA does not consider the chip a medical device under its jurisdiction. VeriChip, a small device about the size of a grain of rice, emits a radio signal and has been derided by some for its "Big Brother" implications. Applied Digital has said it could prove invaluable in emergency situations when a patient is either unconscious or can't otherwise reveal information. VeriChip is expected to sell for about $200. A scanner used to read information contained in the chip would cost between $1,000 and $3,000. Shares of Applied Digital rose 4 cents, or 8 percent, to 52 cents in Thursday midday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.


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NS-5 Personal Assistant Robot

If it wasn't for a couple of subtle giveaways, I'd be running around town telling folk about this amazing new product. Worth visiting for the skills of the site designers alone:


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Robot Dogs

The US army has hired two robotics firms to design robot dogs, for the purpose of carrying equipment.

"Today's soldiers carry as much as 100 pounds of equipment. That's exhausting, even for the toughest grunt. In the future, the Army wants to dump up to half that gear onto the back of a drone"

"We're at the bottom of the pyramid right now," said Ben Krupp, president of Yobotics, which won a $750,000, two-year TACOM grant to build a Great Dane-sized drone. "It's tough just to get a four-legged robot to run across the parking lot without falling down."

(meanwhile the Navy is investing in robo-lobsters)

Source: Wired

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Mini-copters now exist

Australian made, this 1.5 metre long and 0.5 metre high helicopter can fly on its own without the help of humans of GPS.

"The robot's eyes work using two cameras and software that detects where objects are and how fast the Mantis is moving relative to objects around it."

Apart from all the good uses such a machine can be put to, it doesn't take much to think of what it could be used for in the wrong hands...

Source: ABC Australia

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Leaps and bounds in Robotics

Sony have made a robot called QRIO, and it can:
  • Run
  • Jump
  • Dance
  • Keep balance
  • Protect itself if it falls
  • Get up again
  • Fight?
  • See with stereo vision
  • Recognise faces and voices.
  • Converse
  • Show emotion

I say fight because "If pushed by someone, QRIO will take a step in the direction it was pushed to keep from falling over." We all know that push and shove can lead to an all out brawl.

Prediction: within 10 years people will be mugged by robots.

Source: Sony QRIO site

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Kung Fu robots!

Humanoid robots capable of performing somersaults and complex martial arts moves were demonstrated at CEATEC in Tokyo on Saturday.

Morph3 (above), is 30-centimetres tall, and can perform back flips and karate moves thanks to 138 pressure sensors, 30 different onboard motors and 14 computer processors.

Also on display was Fujitsu's HOAP-2. The little droid can perform moves from the Chinese martial art taijiquan, as well as Japanese Sumo wrestling stances.

Source: New Scientist

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