Aldebaran NAO Robot Developer Program Generates Strong Response (Video)

Response to the Aldebaran NAO Robot Developer Program has been quite strong, much stronger actually than anyone predicted. And, we have to say that the caliber of the applicants is extremely high. We're definitely impressed.

As of earlier today, the program is still accepting qualified participants. If you're interested, and think you're up to the most exciting robot initiative we've seen in years, then review the requirements and put in for a possible invitation to join the program.

Here's the Nao Developer Program video created by the guru's at Aldebaran:

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Robot Art Exhibition in Manhattan

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Steven Skollar, one of the top contemporary robot artists, and our favorite robot themed painters, will be kicking off the Planetary Premiere of his latest creations at the Arcadia Gallery in Manhattan tomorrow. The opening reception is scheduled from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm on Saturday, November 13th, and the exhibition will continue through November 26th. We highly recommend it.

The Arcadia Fine Arts Gallery is located at 51 Green Street, New York City, just a few minutes walk from Canal Street.

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Peeking into the NASA JPL Robot Lab (UStream video)

Ever wonder what it would be like to be inside the NASA JPL labs as they put together a space robot? As a kid who grew up spending more time in school doodling spaceships, aliens, and astronauts when I should've been studying in class, the chance to look over the shoulder of the NASA engineers and technicians as they assemble one of the rover robots destined to drive across the surface of the red planet would be absolutely mind blowing. Well, now I, and everyone else with Internet access, can share in the experience.


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New Applications for Industrial Robotics: Robotics Summit 2010

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The next online robotics summit is scheduled for Wednesday, October 27, 2010. The latest summit is focusing on "New Applications for Industrial Robotics" and promises to be interesting. Several of the speakers and sessions will be particularly relevant, addressing important topics like close robot/human interaction and contact, as well as the competitive advantages that can be realized through effective implementation of robotics in many different business sectors. Also, the organizers have lined up a wide range of companies and technologies presenting their latest developments.


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Modular Robotics Cubelets Beta Kits Available for Pre-Order

The Beta Cubelets robot kits are currently available for pre-order on the Modular Robotics website.

The initial Beta build was limited to only 100 sets, and almost half of them are already spoken for as we write this report.

According to the website:

"The cubelets standard kit comes with 20 magnetic blocks that can be snapped together to make an endless variety of robots with no programming and no wires. You can build robots that drive around on a tabletop, respond to light, sound, and temperature, and have surprisingly lifelike behavior. But instead of programming that behavior, you snap the cubelets together and watch the behavior emerge like with a flock of birds or a swarm of bees."

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Sneak peek at exciting new robot projects in the works at Trossen

Although we're fascinated by robotic technology in the rapid advances being made, we have started to take for granted some of the amazing tools and technology that have already become integrated into our daily lives. Things that would have been astounding to people just a couple of decades ago, are now commonplace to the point that we use them almost without noticing how wonderful they are.


A good example is the Internet and some of the social networking applications like Facebook. Even though I live just outside of Tokyo, and Andrew at Trossen Robotics is on the other side of the world near Chicago, we can, and do, chat regularly online using Facebook almost as if we were next-door neighbors.

Here's some snippets from our latest chat that included an update on several exciting projects and new products that are in the works at Trossen:


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High End Remote Telepresence Solutions


In researching the landscape of currently available telepresence products, we ran across this interesting two-page PDF file covering the high-end corporate solutions provided by Tandberg, a part of Cisco. There is also a three-page PDF white paper going through some of the major benefits of implementing remote presence that includes some fascinating, real life examples including how customers were able to continue to sustain their business even during times of crisis.

For example, the 2003 SARS epidemic in Asia and China, and the more recent H1N1 Swine Flew virus outbreak, could have had disastrous results on the business operations of companies dependent on the affected areas, if their employees had to attend business meetings there. The use of telepresence systems like this minimizes the risk and allows critical business processes to continue with a minimum of disruption. It's no wonder that major multinational corporations are embracing the technology. And with the advent of lower-cost, higher mobility remote telepresence robots, adoption is very likely to ramp up quickly.

Of course, Tandberg is selling a full corporate solution, and the so-called "white paper" is clearly marketing material, there are many points of commonality with the mobile, more individual, remote telepresence robot based approaches that have recently hit the market. However, many of the business, and possibly personal, needs are the same. They overlap quite a bit. It would be interesting to put together a scatter chart based on the two approaches, showing the key characteristics of both approaches and how they address basic market requirements.

In any case, companies like Cisco will end up being the eventual winners. Internet traffic will definitely increase as the demand for more and more bandwidth ramps up to support telepresence implementations, and that will require more infrastructure. Also, companies like Tandberg will be making strategic moves to consolidate their positions in this sector and will be definitely looking to acquire promising remote telepresence startups. It's going to be interesting, both from the perspective of a dyed in the wool robot fan, and also as a student of Wall Street trends and investment opportunities.

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