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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Rescue Robots Adopt a Video Game Approach

The robot above was tested by firefighters in Italy and found to be easier to use when the video camera moved in sync with the body. Photo courtesy of KTH The Royal Institute of Technology.

Tests conducted recently in Italy suggest searching emergency scenes would be easier if cameras on rescue robots moved in tandem with the body of the bot. For example, when the robot is looking to the right, pressing the lever to make the robot move forward will cause it to …

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Visualization System Projects Robot’s Thoughts

A projection system displays a robot's thoughts regarding path planning. Photo courtesy of Melanie Gonick/MIT.

Researchers at MIT have built a system that displays an autonomous robot’s path planning options, as the bot considers its route. The system was designed in response to visitors of the school’s Aerospace Control Lab who often thought the robots were simply displaying random behaviors. “Normally, a robot may make …

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Novel Site Sells Hands-on Electronics Lessons, Mailed Monthly

With EEME Kits, kids can learn basic electronics hands on, making a variety of simple circuits, including a lemon battery. Photo courtesy of EEME.

If you have kids and you post about them on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the online ads for a monthly arts and craft subscription service. For a small monthly fee, the company will send you a kit including all the supplies for a few craft projects …

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Lowe’s Introduces Robot Shopping Assistant

With the Lowe's OSHbot, a customer can bring in a spare part and scan the object using the bot's 3D sensing camera. After identifying the object, OSHbot will provide product information to the customer and help guide them to its location on store shelves. Photo courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Lowe's.

How many times have you discovered you’re short a few parts? Say, for example, you need a few more bolts to complete a project. You probably tuck one away in your pocket and take it with you to the store, so that you can find the identical bolt …

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PopPet: A Robot Pet for Kids to Build

While PopPet is barely longer than a credit card, this DIY kit offers big fun for kids. Photo courtesy of Jaidyn Edwards.

Lots of bots give kids the opportunity to code, but only a few can actually be built by little kids. PopPet, the robotic pet, is a do-it-yourself kit made with children in mind. Designed by Jaidyn Edwards of Adelaide, Australia, PopPet requires no soldering to build. The circuit board is already complete. …

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Electrostatic Robot Hand Wins RoboBusiness Award

Grabit's grippers uses electrostatic for electrostatic forces for a low-energy solution to handling materials such as glass sheets safely, while minimizing stress. Photo courtesy of Grabit.

A robot gripper that uses electro-static adhesion won a Game Changer Award at RoboBusiness earlier this month. Many grippers use a vacuum to hold on to items, but that puts stress on the items and can cause damage. According to Grabit, the company behind the gripper, using electrostatic adhesion eliminates …

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Build Your Own Gizmo with FlowPaw

The FlowPaw makes it easy to create your own gizmo with sensor boards that click into the fingers. Photo courtesy of DSP Robotics.

DSP Robotics is trying to raise £19,500 via Kickstarter for their expandable electronics education board: FlowPaw. With the right accessories, you can turn FlowPaw into just about anything you want. Whether you make it into a robot, a security device, a game controller, or a synthesizer, DSP …

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New, Highly Customizable Off-Road Chassis from Actobotics

The Nomad 4WD Off-Road Chassis kit from Actobotics allows for quick and easy structural customization with just a hex key.

Sparkfun has released a new robot chassis kit: the Nomad 4WD Off Road from Actobotics. The robot is based on the aluminum channels that are the core of the Actobotics system. The channels feature a pattern of holes in two sizes. The holes make it easy to customize …

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Help RoboGames Broadcast the Fun Online

Battles can get quite heated at RoboGames. Photo courtesy of the Robotics Society of America.

The Robotics Society of America (RSA) needs your help to create a professionally produced, Web-based TV series about RoboGames. There are just 15 days left in their KickStarter campaign, and the RSA is already more than 70 percent of the way to their $40,000 target. But they need …

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Ozobots Follow Lines On Screen and Off, Respond to Colors

Ozobots race along a track made of printed lines as well as those on the screen of a tablet. Photo courtesy of Evollve Inc.

Imagine racing real toy cars in a video game world. The Ozobot, by Evollve Inc., makes this concept a reality. The tiny, line following robot can interpret colors. To program the robot, simple draw a colorful line according to the directions that come with the bot. Ozobot can be …

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Iron-Man Inspired, Light Up Prosthetic Hand for Kids

Pat Starace says his light-up Iron Man prosthetic was designed to be "awesome." Photo courtesy of

A new Arduino-powered prosthetic hand not only looks like Iron Man’s, it also lights up in multiple ways. Mechanical designer and animator Pat Starace says he designed the child-sized hand with three goals in mind. “It had to look awesome, it had to perform awesome, and …

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EyeCane Offers Better Navigation for Visually Impaired

Two sensor beams, one pointing directly ahead, and one pointing towards the ground collect data on obstacles. Photo Courtesy of the Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

A new electronic travel aid for the visually impaired could offer a major improvement on the white cane, by providing information about obstacles using sound and motion. Weighing less than 100 grams, the device provides information simultaneously for two directions: directly ahead for far away obstacles, and …

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Turn your Car into a Tele-operated Vehicle in Ten Minutes

The Pronto4 Robotic Applique Kit can bring semi-autonomous driving capabilities to any ground vehicle. Photo courtesy of Kairos Autonomi.

Kairos Autonomi won a Game Changer Award at RoboBusiness last week for an artificially intelligent robot driver: the Pronto4 Uomo (pronounced wo-mo). While the robot’s appearance isn’t very slick, the specs are impressive. In 10 minutes, the Uomo can turn a normal car into a tele-operated vehicle, or one that can follow a …

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