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.
We have no idea how long the supplies will last - they may have already run out - but Makerbot Industries has dropped the price of their original CupCake CNC 3D printer kit to an amazingly low USD$455.
We want to be perfectly clear up front. This iPad remote telepresence robot isn't a product yet, but it is very, very close to becoming one, as you can see from the video below.
The creative folks over at Taptic Toys have married up an iPad 2 with a balancing robotic platform that brings the Anybots product line or a Segway to mind. Since the iPad 2 incorporates FaceTime using its built-in camera and microphone it seems like a natural fit.
The minimalist styling appeals to us a lot also. Using fairly standard, off-the-shelf components a configuration like this should be quite easy to deploy and maintain almost anywhere across the globe, as long as you have sufficient WiFi (or a reasonable facsimile) access for FaceTime to operate.
Under the heading of "robot business", we were very pleased to see that even in today's extremely challenging business climate, robot ventures are continuing to attract substantial investment.
While increased use of robotics isn't likely to result in a corresponding increase in employment for their human counterparts, contrary to popular belief, it will open up new applications and open the door to exploring new opportunities that were previously considered to be too hazardous, risky, or beyond the keen of available economical technology solutions.
A good example is Liquid Robotics, the creator of marine robotic drones that utilize ocean waves and solar arrays to generate the power required for their operation. These unique platforms are almost totally self-sufficient and can automatically maintain their position in the ocean, kind of the sea-going equivalent of the geostationary satellites positioned in space over the planet.
The Makerbot has created a huge revolution in creativity by making it possible for makers everywhere to cheaply and easily print 3D objects of their own design.
The person (or personality) most commonly associated with the Makerbot and the whole 3D printing groundswell, is Bre Pettis, well known for his quirky mannerisms, glasses, hair, and random-access lightening bolts of creativity. He often leaves you a bit breathless with unexpected comments that seem to come totally out of the blue,
So, it wasn't surprising that Michael Curry, a leading 3D printing evangelist with tons of creative talent, saw fit to immortalize Bre in ABS plastic. And, like the Reanimator, Curry gave the Pettis clone the ability to speak.
Updated the Robots Dreams Robot Event Calendar highlighting upcoming events through July of this year. Most of the events are located here in Japan, but some, like RoboCup 2011 are as far afield as Istanbul. We've also included a few events that are craft/hack/design related since they often feature robots and technologies that apply directly to robot design and fabrication.
Our personal favorite is the two day Design Festa gathering at the Big Sight convention center that attracts over 100,000 people and has to be seen to be believed. Here's a look at the Spring Design Festa 2010 event to give you a feel for why we like it so much:
RT Corporation Announces Android Accessory Demo Kit/Accessory Demo Shield - New board set enables Android developers to create reliable real world solutions incorporating sensors, displays, motors, and robot technologies using Google Android Open Accessory -
San Francisco, CA May 10, 2011:
RT Corporation, a well known Japanese developer of robotic technologies and solutions, today announced its new RT Accessory Demo Kit (RT-ADK)/Accessory Demo Shield (RT-ADS) board set. The RT-ADK/RT-ADS configuration makes it possible for Android and Arduino application developers to add real-world interaction and functionality to their creations, reliably extending the reach of the “cloud” to include sensing and physical action.
We had the pleasure of meeting Matt Mets about a year ago when we visited Hack Pittsburgh, a burgeoning, exciting hackerspace. Matt impressed us with his knowledge, energy, and seemly endless enthusiasm. Luckily we were able to keep in touch, and became dedicated fans of his work, including his projects and Make articles. Later last year, Matt visited Tokyo as a member of the Hackers On A Plane group, and we had the chance to spend more time with him both at Tokyo Hackerspace and the Make Tokyo 06 event.
So, it was natural for us to visit Matt at the Makerbot Industries BotCave Headquarters during our Spring trip to New York this year. He generously showed us around the facility and consented to several video interviews. Here is the first session where we asked him about the company's evolution over the past year and how it's developing so rapidly based on the dynamically creative nature of Makerbot users:
During this interview, Matt mentioned Michael Felix's design and creation of a large geodesic dome with the connectors and key parts printed out using the Makerbot 3D printer. This was quite surprising since we had been conditioned to think of the Makerbot as only being able to print relatively small parts. Needless to say, we had to track down a video documenting the dome design and deployment:
Pretty amazing stuff. Definitely inspiration to make sure that we try to think outside the box - or outside the dome - as much as possible going forward.
How about playing peek-a-boo with an eight-legged, chopstick robot with independently operating eyes?
One thing that really attracted our attention to this robot was the creative use of readily available building materials. Creating a body, eight multi-jointed legs, plus two additional multi-directional linkages for the camera eyes, isn't a trivial task. If they were made out of metal or even plastic the design/prototyping lead time could be extremely lengthy. By using inexpensive wooden chopsticks the development time had to be cut to a small fraction of the time it would have taken using metal frames.
Here's another look at the robot in operation chasing its very attractive handler:
In many ways the design technique reminds of the old ham radio days when prototype radio circuits were laid out on a wooden board and secured using nails. The prototyping board was usually stolen from the kitchen (when the woman on the house wasn't looking). Over time this technique became known as "bread-boarding".
Perhaps, one of these days, we'll refer to this new robot prototyping technique as "Chopsticking". I wouldn't be surprised at all.
Kondo Robot just announced a new multi-legged robot kit, the KMR-M6, that incorporates features sure to make it a huge hit with educators, researchers, hobbyists, and avid robot competitors. Based on feedback from their large established user base, Kondo designed the robot to require only two servos per leg using a unique spring and multi-bar linkage approach that provides improved flexibility and stability even while tackling complex obstacles.
Robots Dreams features general robotics, hobby and educational robots, robot contests, FIRST, RoboCup, combat robots, artificial intelligence based DARPA robots, robot software and code, robot hacks, robot reviews, LEGO Mindstorms NXT, VEX, and Lynxmotion. Robots Dreams also reports on space, military, industrial and medical robot news. The robot centric website focuses on hobby and educational robot products and projects, including robot and robotics technology news from Japan, the US, and around the world. Arduino, pic, Basic Stamp, and other micro-controller robot designs are of particular interest.
Entertainment robots, domestic helper robots, health care and senior care robots, and other robot applications in assisting mankind are covered regularly. The Robots Dreams video channel on YouTube includes new robot product news, exclusive coverage from major robot events including ROBO-ONE, the Wonderful Robot Carnival, and RoboGames. Robots Dreams is a member of the ROBO-ONE press, and an official corporate sponsor of RoboGames and the Wonderful Robot Carnival. The Robots Dreams Flickr photo gallery includes over 30,000 unique robot images taken by our dedicated staff covering robot news and robot competitions for the past ten years.