RoboGames champion Nick Donaldson seems to live, eat, sleep, and breathe robots. He consistently wins a raft of medals across a wide range of different categories during the annual robot gathering, and has designed all types of robots including LEGOs, multi-legged rescue bots, and even a few that might be difficult to categorize. Now, thanks to almost 10 years of hard work, dedication, and a little luck, it looks like one of Donaldson's cutest robot creations, a robot monkey, just might become the hottest selling robot toy in the US this Christmas.
The 8th annual RoboGames attracts teams from around the world to compete in 60 different events - from dancing androids to fire-breathing combat robots and autonomous cars to soccer playing droids.
The San Francisco Bay Area has long been a rich playground where hard working cogs in the startup machine wrestle valiantly in their cubicles with the coding questions of the ages. 51 weeks out of the year, it's humdrum workday solving the world's technology problems.
And then there's week 52 - RoboGames week...
Wouldn't it be cool to be able to control your LEGO Mindstorms robot creations using the iPhone, from across the room, or across the planet, and to see what the robot sees?
Kleekbots is scheduled to release their implementation as a commercially available product early in 2011. The product plans include one-click sharing, free robot build instructions, live video streaming, and it works on the desktop as well. You can sign up to be updated with the latest release schedules and information via their website.
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:
"I love how this Mindstorms robot is able to emulate a real human gait rather than having the slow shuffle that most walking robots feature. Of course it is held up with strings, but it shows the potential of the (toy) technology. ..."
Net sales for the first half of the year were 4.37 billion Danish kroner, worth $825.4 million in US dollars, compared with 3.55 billion kroner for the first half of 2008.
Profit before taxes for the first six months rose 64 percent to 927 billion kroner or $175.32 million. The improved profit picture was helped in part by higher sales but also by “careful management of costs,” the company said.
LEGO Sales Jump