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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Consumer Electronics Show 2011

If you are into High Tech and Robotics than the International Consumer Electronics Show is the place to “Get Your Geek On”. The CES is the largest gathering of it’s kind in the U.S. It attracts celebrities, business people, politicians, movers, shakers and this year Robots. This year’s attendance was up for the third straight year with over 140,000 people in attendance and over 2700 vendors displaying everything from 3DTV, MP3 players, Tablet Computers, Appliances and Robots. A gathering of this size is too large for one building so the Las Vegas Convention Center along with five area resorts played host to the event.

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Humanoid Buyers Guide

Welcome to our humanoid buyers guide! If you are a newcomer to the fascinating world of tabletop humanoid robots and are curious about the variety of products available in this category, we’ve got you covered. This guide is based on web research and product reviews published in Robot and is not exhaustive. However, it is a representative sampling of many of the most popular humanoids available in the U.S. and Europe today.

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Repto The Servo Robot

Repto the Servo Robot In the January/February 2009 issue of Robot there was an article by a man named I-Wei Huang, who had created small organic robots he dubbed Swashbots. I read the article and then later viewed Huang's YouTube videos, blog and website, www.crabfu.com. I found myself truly inspired. Here was someone with a similar skill set to my own and who had created simple and engaging robotic creatures. I could not wait to try and do the same.

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The Meaning Of Artificial Life

A fascinating discussion has taken hold among Robot readers, writers, and editors. Beginning in the July/August issue, continuing with emails and the article “Intelligent Machines – Plausible or Fantasy?” in the November/December issue, a significant and growing train of thought emerges. Where does software end and biology begin? What is the difference between a “grown” machine and a “natural” one? Can Mary Shelley’s character, Dr. Frankenstein, ever emerge in reality by creating artificial life? Robot continues pursuing this topic by interviewing two prominent authorities in the field of computer science and human thought processes.

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Low Buck 3D Stereo-Vision

Recently the cost of tools for making and displaying your own 3D videos has become surprisingly affordable. In this article we will walk you through the steps to make your own 3D movie on a very low budget. Our example 3D camcorder is small enough to attach to your RC car, plane, boat, heli or robot!

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Georgia Tech’s Shimon Can Jam!

When most of think of robots, we think of task-orientated machines, not grooving hep-cats laying down the sound with their bandmates while bobbing their head to the beat. However, that is what the team at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology created when they designed Shimon, a marimba-playing robot that can improvise jazz solos and backup human musicians based upon their playing—not based on a pre-programmed sequence of notes and rhythms. And it learns over time to improve its virtuosity, accompaniment and improvisational skills!

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Robot Remote Control Console

It is imperative that we incorporate a robust remote control capability into each of our robots or else, as history has shown, they will become our robotic overlords! If the engineers of Skynet, Colossus and HAL had considered remote control in their design these evil machines would never have been able to take over the local ship or the world. What a minute, those were just movies! (“Never mind…”) Actually, the reason I built the Robot Remote Control Console (RRCC) is far less dramatic and a great deal more practical than what you saw on the big screen.

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Robotis DARwIn-OP Raises The Bar

We caught up with Professor Dennis Hong, director of RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) at Virginia Tech and asked him to describe the latest iteration of this awesome humanoid. As always, Dennis spoke quickly and articulately, delivering a massive amount of information in a short amount of time with the greatest of ease, something his students love him for, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Here’s the inside scoop!

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A Dream Of Robot Rights

Capri foresees the programming of thoughts and feelings into robots as the next big step in robotic evolution and he is concerned humans won’t recognize a robot’s feelings. In the next 20 years, Capri envisions that robots will be sentient and that they’ll need protection. “This is where I would draw the line and call for a Bill of Rights for Robots.” He added, “We, as humans, need to exercise our sense of empathy toward the robots we are creating, and robots should be programmed with a sense of empathy toward us and each other.”

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Balloon Bot

As I have learned from my own projects, the major challenge in creating a successful robotic arm is the gripper. A robotic arm’s capability and usefulness is directly related to its ability to manipulate its environment. So when I read about a new gripper invented at Cornell University based on something as simple as a balloon filled with coffee grounds I was, to say the least, intrigued. After studying their novel design I was sure I could implement my own (cheaper) version and apply it to my next project.

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Pimp Your Bot!

Author Jim Phelan recounts how he came to give his Parallax Boe-Bot a makeover: “The ‘Pimped Out’ Boe- Bot with the squirrel tail is a cute little ‘feller’. I like his proud ‘dog show’ stance. The squirrel tail came from the Renaissance Festival via my daughter at my request. She and her friends got animal tails there and were in the habit of wearing them at the back of their jeans.

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Programming And Customizing The Multicore Propeller Microcontroller

Author: Harry Mueller From Robot Magazine Issue 28 – May/June 2011 by Shane Avery, Chip Gracey, Vern Graner, Martin Hebel, Joshua Hintze, André LaMothe, Andy Lindsay, Jeff Martin and Hanno Sander, Parallax, Inc.; © 2010 McGraw-Hill, available at www.parallax.com and www.amazon.com As hobbyists and students, we …

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