For the geek who has everything, from motherboard art to processor keychains, My Robot Nation today announced the official launch of what it claims is the world's first consumer friendly digital-to-actual 3D creation service. Chalk this one up as a rad and unique gift idea, for yourself or someone else. What this company does is let you create your own robot collectible online, then have it made in full-color and in 3D.
Since 1990, the $100,000 Loebner prize has been left sitting on the table, patiently waiting for a computer program to come along that’s capable of carrying on a conversation indistinguishable from a conversation with a human. So far, no program has even been able to claim the $25,000 silver prize, which would be awarded to a program that can fool just two judges in the Loebner panel that it’s human. So robots can’t fool people. But can they fool other chatbots? Cornell decided to put that question to the test, to hilarious results.
Researchers from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia have published their study on the robotic hand, PsysOrg.com reports. The main objective of the dexterous anthropomorphic robotic typing hand, or DART hand, was to demonstrate that it could type on a computer keyboard, and it certainly passed that test. A single DART hand was shown typing at 20 words per minute, and the researchers predict that two DART hands could type at 30WPM. By comparison, humans average 33WPM with two hands.
We're not sure whether to laugh, cry, or sign up for an Old Glory insurance plan, but apparently it's now possible to be legally wed by a robot, at least in Tokyo.
The couple in question are both connected with Japan's robotics industry, and now they're legally connected to each other, all thanks to an automated preacher known as I-Fairy.
According to BBC News, I-Fairy, with its flashing eyes and plastic pigtails, instructed the groom to lift the bride's veil for the customary kiss after the two tied the knot. C-3PO was no where be found, nor was Robby, Cylon, or any of these other notable robots.
The direction of robotics is something of a puzzle. On the one hand, the most successful robots are those designed for a single, repetitive function. On the other, there’s this insistence to create a human replicant: something “more human than human,” in the words of the Tyrell Corporation, despite the distinct limitations for success.
Take for example Engineered Arts’ RoboThespian. It has an impressive range of expression ability, all of which is controlled through a touch screen interface programmed in Adobe Flash AS3. It’s presently employed in science exhibits, as a teaching aid--where the repetitive strain can take a toll on a regular human. (And where it’s multi-lingual ability is a plus.) As a bonus, it has a better acting range than some from Hollywood that come to mind.
But will anthropomorphic robots every break away from their puppet-like qualities? They are cute, in their own way, but fundamentally limited in ability, and decidedly non-human in their comportment. If RoboThespian is the current state-of-the-art, then it may be a while before they acquire Asimovian characteristics--which is when they become really interesting.
It's eerie enough waking up to find your cat sitting on your chest and staring in your face as if to say, 'Are you gonna be feed me or what?' But a robot baby with an oversized head? The creepiness factor just jumped off the scale.
The robot's name is Diego-San, given birth by researchers from the Machine Perception Laboratory at UCSD. That's right, multiple parents, just like that Krueger guy. Diego-San's vitals include a high resolution camera and 6-axis accelerometer, along with 20 moving parts.
Diego-San's creators say the robot is supposed to model a 1-year-old baby so they can conduct research on how a baby's brain develops. He stands about 51 inches tall, or a little over 4 feet, and weighs 66 pounds, roughly the equivalent of any healthy 12-month baby (just not a human one).
The real question is, who would win in a fight - Diego-San or Chucky?
Let's hope Google's Android platform doesn't turn out to be some devious plot at taking over the world, because if it is, there will be no stopping them. In addition to powering a bevy of smartphones, a couple of netbooks, and even an e-book reader or two, Asus will use the open-source OS in an upcoming robot.
Thankfully it's not one of those malicious robots hell-bent on destroying the human population like you see on some sci-fi flicks. Quite the opposite, actually, as the EeeBot (what else would Asus call it?) will be an educational robot with other software and services as part of several technology projects funded by the Taiwanese government.
As described in an outline on a government website, the goal is to build an affordable robot to interact with kids. The EeeBot project will focus on building content and services around the robot to subsidize the cost of the hardware, and Asus will work on both hardware and software as part of the project.
Actroids are manufactured by Kokoro, a part of the Sanrio Group. They are custom-made female robots that “[a]bsolutely look like a real human!” According to the Kokoro web site: “High-quality robot is available at a reasonable price with varieties of costumes to choose from for more opportunities to make better use of it.” (sic) Plus, you’ll be happy to learn, your Actroid will be “[e]legant, feminine, and lively at all times…”
Don’t have the coin to buy your own? Rest easy, Kokoro says that rentals are available.
There are few things in life as uncomplicated as driving a car. Really, there’s not all that much to it. Turn the key, engine revs up, put it into gear, point it in the right direction, step on the gas, and off you go. The Federal Highway Administration tells us that in 2004 the United States had 199 million drivers and 237 million cars. How hard can it be if nearly 90% of adults can drive?
As simple as this task is, there are all sorts of folks who want to make it easier. Modern cars are replete with little reminders: Do we have enough gas? Did we leave a door open? Are our headlights still on? But that doesn’t seem to be enough. Others want to make sure we know not only all about the car, but all about the entire transportation infrastructure that surrounds the car. TomTom will give us directions on how to get back and forth from work. (We haven’t figured that out?) And OnStar will tell us that we were in an accident. (How do we manage to miss something like that?)
What can AIDA do? According to Assaf Biderman, an associate director of the SENSEable City Lab: “Within a week AIDA will have figured out your home and work location. Soon afterwards the system will be able to direct you to your preferred grocery store, suggesting a route that avoids a street fair-induced traffic jam. On the way AIDA might recommend a stop to fill up your tank, upon noticing that you are getting low on gas. AIDA can also give you feedback on your driving, helping you achieve more energy efficiency and safer behavior.” First, if you can’t do this stuff you really shouldn’t be driving. Second, one nag in the car is quite enough, thank you.
Forget about underpowered netbooks and nettops, Vstone may have the best idea ever for Intel's Atom platform. Meet Robovie-PC, a new hobby humanoid robot kit built around Intel's Atom Z530 processor (1.6GHz). Armed with a highly scalable embedded PC, the Atom-powered robot can connect to the Internet and be programmed to take shots with its 1.3MP camera.
Fully assembled, Robovie-PC stands about 15 inches tall and weighs a little under 5 pounds. It (He?) boasts 20 degrees of freedom, plus pretty good mobility thanks to the gear interlock parallel link mechanism used in the legs. But should Robovie-PC walk right off your desk, the squishy polyurethane foam that makes up the exterior body should keep it from shattering like Humpty Dumpty.
Other specs include VGA output, USB ports for mouse and keyboard, wireless LAN card, and compatibility with Windows XP, Vista, and Linux, with support for Windows 7 coming soon.
The only place you can pick one up right now is in Japan, where Robovie-PC runs about $4,440.