Robot Magazine – The latest hobby, science and consumer robotics, artificial intelligence

robot magazine robogames issue

Subscribers to ROBOT Magazine are receiving their copies of the latest issue right about now, and the store copies should be in bookstores very soon.

This particular issue, with the Kumotek KT-X humanoid robot on the cover, will prove to be quite interesting and exciting since it includes coverage of robots at the Maker Faire, animatronic dinosaurs, a how-to on programing servos, Arduino Bot Brains, a chance to win a Parallax robot, a look at the latest Kondo hexapod robot, and our detailed coverage of RoboGames 2011.

(Via Robot Magazine - The latest hobby, science and consumer robotics, artificial intelligence.)

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Who's the Fastest Robot? (Video)

Ever wonder what the fastest robot might be? Can an i-SOBOT outrun a Robonova? Does a MANOI have the heels of Mercury? Can a Robo-Reptile out-sprint a Bioloid? What's your best guess? Who would you put your money on?

We won't spoil all the fun by revealing the robots name, or the competition here. You're going to have to watch the race in its hilarious entirety, including all the grins, giggles, energy and totally robotic chaos to enjoy it for yourself:

Fastest humanoid robot race

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Pleo dinosaur robot gets a second life

We’re happy to report that Pleo, the cute green dinosaur robot originally created by UGOBE has been resuscitated, brought back from the dead actually, and is alive and well, just in time for Christmas, assuming you have deep pockets and can figure out what to do with the little creature.

Jetta, a.k.a. Innvo Labs, based in Hong Kong and Carson Nevada, bought the rights to the Pleo design, and has relaunched the product, and the Pleo World website, in hopes that the robot will gain enough public attention and interest to generate enough sales to recoupe their investment.


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Sad But True…

image1413602298.jpgThis poor little orphan Pleo seemed so lonely and dejected on the shelf at Tsukumo Robot Kingdom yesterday. His rubber skin had definitely seen better days with it's paint worn away, and it's batteries flat. It was such a sad sight that we serously considered opening a robot dinosaur orphanage.

Unfortunately Pleo prices here, even after Ugobe went bankrupt, are still much higher than the US. This poor Pleo will probably end up in a nearby recycle discount shop, or hacked for spare parts.

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Pleo Robot Debuts (Video)


Pleo, the AI packed robotic dinosaur infant, was introduced to the market here at the IREX show at the end of last November. IREX is the worlds largest robotic exhibition, and always draws huge crowds. Attendees are primarily local, as you might expect, but there are a large number of people that fly in from all over the globe just to see the latest and greatest in robot technology and design.

Pleo grabbed a lot of attention and interest. People really got into the Pleo experience (see video below) after they got the hang of it. The exhibitors booth was always crowded, and the staff was almost overwhelmed with questions from prospective Pleo parents. It will be interesting to see how the product is received here, and how well it sells over the next six months to a year.


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Pogue Pukes on Pleo

We have to admit up front that we've been a little harsh on UGOBE and Pleo the robot dinosaur in the past. Truth is that we really like the "product", even though we do have some concerns about how it has been managed and promoted. We would even buy one, if UGOBE and the local distributors here in Japan didn't insist on a roughly 50+% markup over the US price.

But, we're just a small, niche blog that has a limited, if dedicated, following. We're not the New York Times, nor can we write as well, and as pointedly, as David Pogue. Pogue, for those that don't already know him, is one of the world's top and  most widely read technology reviewers and critics. He's even been invited to entertain and enlighten the attendees at the TED conferences.

In his hands-on review of the Pleo this week titled "Pleo the (Yawn) Dino-Robot. Next!", Pogue was loud and clear in voicing his, and his children's, opinions that the Pleo experience doesn't last more than half a hour, and that the company's hype for the robot is inflated by a thousand times.

While he does say that "... everyone should have the chance to play with a Pleo...", he then goes on to propose a new website scheme that would pass Pleo's from user to user at a fraction of the original purchase price - kind of a Pleo/NetFlix mash-up.

Perhaps it comes down to the fact that this type of toy/gadget/novelty isn't for everyone. It's not like a mp3 player, laptop computer, or cell phone.

Some people, like us, will be fascinated by Pleo, and will end up spending hours, days, weeks, or even years getting a lot of pleasure, excitement, surprise, and enjoyment out of it. For others, maybe the majority, Pleo will turn out to be a lot like the original Robosapien - a 'wow' gotta have it kind of toy for the moment and then spend the rest of its life on the shelf or in the dark bedroom closet corner.

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Pleo Falls Into Trap in Japan

Well, unfortunately it looks like we won't be getting a Pleo anytime soon, at least not here in Japan. If we really want one we'll have to buy it in the US during one of our trips and bring it back with us. Ugobe, the developers of the fascinating robot dinosaur have apparently fallen into the same trap that other foreign manufacturers have in the past, which is unfortunate.

Pleo will be introduced in Japan with pre-orders being accepted by Business Design Laboratory starting December 1st. But, the list price will be 52,500 yen (almost 500 dollars)! Business Design Laboratory sells other robot products at a premium, like the $4,000+ Hello Kitty robot, the ifBot that sells for close to $6,000, and Nuvo at well over $5,000. None of these products appear to be setting any sales records.


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