60 Beat Game Pad for Drone Control (Video)


If you happen to be lucky enough to own a AR.Drone (unfortunately I'm not one of the lucky ones - at least not yet) then you'll definitely want to check out the 60 Beat Game Pat controller.

The 60 Beat looks great, to the point that the line between the virtual game world and real world control seems very blurred, or even non-relevant. As DigitalSirup states in the video description, the game pad coupled with your AR.Drone is "sweet and delicous."

Related links: Preview of 60 beat game pad support for Drone Control - YouTube

Read More

Getting Ready for RoboGames 2013 (Video)


In less than a week we'll be right in the middle of the action at the world's largest open robot competition, RoboGames. It's an absolute blast, but can be a bit trying at times if you're trying to capture both still photos and video footage with dynamic robot events taking place all over the venue at the same time.

In order to capture some of the "b-roll" footage without having to get distracted or stressed out, I picked up a Contour ROAM2 HD action camera. Before going into action, I decided it would be a good idea to run a field test to prove the concept.

As you can see from the video, the camera definitely seems up to the task. I should be able to mount it strategically, turn it on, and let it do it's job while I capture shots or other video with one of my other cameras.

Of course, I'll give it a good workout on Friday, the first day of the event, to work out any bugs.

Related links: RoboGames 2013: Contour ROAM2 HD Action Camera Test - YouTube

Read More

Robot Actors Work Cheap (Video)

Feist  Now at Last  Made in China  YouTube

If you're a film director on a tight budget, why not think about substituting robot actors for their more expensive, and sometimes harder to manage, human counterparts?

I know - you're probably thinking that robots can't express the range of emotions and generate empathy like a (good) human actor can at the drop of a hat. Think again. With a little bit of creativity, insight, and dedication robots can do the trick - especially if they happen to be small and really cute.

The video short, "Feist - Now at Last" was released in July, 2011 and still has lasting value. I also noticed that the robots used in the video are an advanced version of the iSobot humanoid robot created by Takara Tomy several years ago. I said "advanced" because the robots head appears to incorporate a small video camera that was never released to the market.

Related links: Feist - Now at Last (Made in China.) - YouTube

Read More

Great Gymastics Requires Constant Practice (Video)


One thing that has always impressed me is the Japanese dedication to constant improvement. They keep on striving to improve long after others would have called it quits. A good example is "Hinametetu", the robot builder responsible for the horizontal bar gymnast robot No. 15 Kovacs.

He keeps trying, modifying, adjusting, and retesting his design until he gets it absolutely perfect.

Related links: NO.15,Kovacs-Landing(Challenge ) - YouTube

Read More

Feel Lonely? University of Tsukuba Students Have Your Solution (Video)

Japanese Students Invent  Girlfriend Coat to Hug Lonely People  VIDEO

Are you feeling a little down and alone? Never fear. Enterprising young Japanese students at the University of Tsukuba have invented the perfect answer for you - a 'girlfriend coat'. I kid you not!

You put on the coat, fasten the belt, and then magic happens. The belt tightens and feels just like your girl friend came up from behind, put her arms around you, and gave you a loving squeeze. At the same time, her voice talks to you through headphones telling you how sorry she is to be late.

The students don't have any plans to commercialize the girl friend coat yet. In fact, I'm wondering why they undertook the project to begin with. There is also no word on whether or not any of the students are in a serious relationship or even dating regularly. That remains to be discovered....

Related links: Japanese Students Invent 'Girlfriend Coat' to Hug Lonely People [VIDEO]

Read More

ROMO Robot at TED2013 (Video)


Keller Rinaudo, on of the inventors of the Romo robot, took the stage at the TED2013 event this February in Long Beach, California to explain the who/what/where/why behind his minirobot creation.

Romo is fairly impressive, and can do a number of different routines, including movement, some tracking, and response reactions. The brains of the system are provided by your smartphone. Beyond that, you're pretty much on your own, limited only by your imagination.

Related links: Keller Rinaudo: A mini robot -- powered by your phone - YouTube

Read More

Global Cloud Robotics Hackathon 2013 (Video)

Cloud Robotics Hackathon

It's probably a bit too late for people to register and participate in the 2013 Global Cloud Robotics Hackathon, unless you're a glutton for punishment and a wiz at hacking/coding/developing. Nevertheless, feel free to give it a try if you enjoy a good challenge.

The Hackathon kicked off on April 6th and the final submission deadline is April 14th. Of course, it corresponds to National Robotics Week. In addition to all the glory and bragging rights, the sponsors have put up cash prizes totaling $3,000. Personally, I prefer the energy and interaction of a live hackathon where a big portion of the benefit is getting to hang out with other developers, exchanging tips, experiences, and ideas.

The prizes are nice, no question, but it's the interaction and exchange that really turns me on. The organizers have also started Google Hangout based Q&A sessions to respond to questions from remote participants. Last year the hackathon focused on getting people involved with robotics, even at a novice or primative level. This year the focus has shifted to remote monitoring, an area that could produce tremendous benefits in the long term

Related links: Cloud Robotics Hackathon

Read More

3Doodler 3D Printing Pen Featured on CNN (Video)

3Doodler The World s First 3D Printing Pen by WobbleWorks LLC  Kickstarter

I usually have CNN muted on the TV in my office while I work, and glance up to see what's going on in the world from time to time. But, I didn't expect to see the 3Doodler printing pen featured.

WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Thanks to their recent success with a Kickstarter project that yielded well over $2 million, the two inventors, Maxwell Bogue and Peter Dilworth, are going to commercialize the innovative product.

The 3Doodler concept is elegantly simple. Basically it's a repackaged plastic filament extruder that you can hold in your hand. I'm sure that a lot of 3D printing devotees are kicking themselves for not coming up with the idea first. Of course, just having the idea isn't enough. Bogue and Dilworth also had the vision to imagine what the product could be, and they had the drive, passion, and ambition to stick with the development for months, overcoming many hurdles along the way, until they had enough confidence to go public with their Kickstarter project.

Oddly enough, they set the original project target at $30,000 and would have been happy to achieve that number. Instead, and much to their surprise, the response was overwhelmingly positive - more than they ever imagined was possible. The Kickstarter project is closed already, though I was lucky enough to sign up within the first 200, but they do plan to sell commercial 3Doodler units for around $100 each later in the year after they ship all their Kickstarter commitments.

Related links: Inventors create world's first 3D pen - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Read More