Ever wonder what the children would look like if an iPhone mated with the AIBO robot dog? It turns out that you won't have to wait long to find out.
Bandai is about to release a cute little robot dog that uses the iPhone as its head and brain, while emulating quite a few of the AIBO general behaviors.
Several readers have asked about the NAO robot teams competing at RoboCup 2011, so we decided to try and put the situation in perspective, and take a look at the rulebook, which turned out to be much more complex than we had imagined.
The RoboCup Standard Platform category was originally designed to be exactly that - a "standard platform". The concept was to create a uniform playing environment where all the teams used the same robots, the same restrictions, and the same advantages. At the same time they would have a free hand to experiment and innovate with the software, AI, and algorithms in order to coax the best performance out of their robots and win the match.
DasaRobot (Korea) was exhibiting its GENIBO dog robot at InnoRobo 2011 in Lyon, France last week, and Philippe Kervizic of Robotics Business was kind enough to send in this video footage of the performance:
GENIBO appears, in many ways, to be quite similar to the discontinued SONY AIBO canine robot, but according to the company it was deliberately designed to be more "dog-like" in appearance and behavior. It also lists at a significant discount below the old AIBO price tag.
So far we haven't had the opportunity to road-test the robot, and haven't caught sight of one in any of the robot shops and exhibitions here. Hopefully we'll have the chance soon.
Although many people automatically think of LEGO's as children's toys, they are actually a great tool for prototyping designs and even replicating mechanisms that would be difficult, and quite expensive, using other methods.
For example, when Jin Sato fell in love with Sony's AIBO robot dog but couldn't afford to buy one, he recreated the robot using LEGO Mindstorms, and dubbed his robo-canine creation “MIBO”.
Now a journalist (Adam Rutherford) and a designer (Andrew Carol) came up with the idea using LEGOs to recreate the world's oldest known computer, the Antikythera mechanism that is believed to date back to 150 BC, over 2000 years ago.
And, while we're at it, here's Jin Sato's MIBO robot dog celebrating it's 6th birthday:
This one really had us chuckling….
Usually robot builders tend to be very literal and don’t have a highly developed sense of humor or marketing savvy. But themumbys on eBay in Canada apparently is the “exception that proves the rule.”
They recently posted a used I-Cybie robot dog, which is fine-no chuckles there. But, it was the “marketing speak” they used that tickled our funnybone. The i-Cybie is described as a “rare and excellent ‘clone’ of the Aibo” and includes “the extremely rare Programming Card.” And the kicker, the robot dog has already been “pre-modified” to add a serial port. As for the robots operational condition, well the ad states, “The robot worked perfectly last I used him, but I haven’t used him in over a year.”
All that being said, it does look like quite a buy, assuming it could be captured at the right price. We may even put in a bid ourselves.
We tend to focus on the technology and performance aspects of robots and robot companies we cover, but the business aspects are just as important, if not more so. You can design the best, fastest, most capable robot the world has ever seen, but if you can't get investment capital to fund bringing that great product to the market then it's kind of meaningless.
We've been convinced for a long time that the NAO robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics in France was very, very hot. Now it turns out that they have been able to successfully pitch that same message to key venture capital investors. Last Friday they announced the closing of their first round of venture capital financing with a whopping 5 million euro (approximately USD $7.35 million) investment lead by CDC Innovation.
’NAO Robot Racks Up 5 Million Big Ones’ continues