We're currently doing an evaluation of some POB Technologies products, and are trying to decide which particular project would be best to demonstrate their power and capability. We have lots of different robotic platforms, some wheeled, some with tracks, and quite a number of humanoids, so the best project would involve one, or more, of our existing robots. And it should be something of practical use - something that can be applied to autonomous operation, tracking, or even just a simple fun project as long as it's not trivial or meaningless.
In going through the specs, manuals, downloads, and forums on the POB site, we ran across fairly detailed documentation showing a mash-up that uses the POB-EYE and related modules to give an original Robosapien robot vision and the ability to track objects.
Going on two years ago, we put out the challenge for someone to hack together Elmo and the Robosapien. The popular Robosapien at the time was the V2, but since then the RS Media, with it's personality editor capability has come out and has been just pleading for someone to do an Elmo-Sapien.
Well, we're happy to report that 'someone' just did....
’Elmo-Sapien Lives! (Video)’ continues
At first glance, the robot on the right looks like a standard RoboQuad from WowWee, that you could find at toy and specialty stores almost anywhere.
But, on closer inspection you might notice that this particular RoboQuad is equipped with a video camera mounted on the top of its head, and has been transformed into a really unique, remote controlled, spy bot.
Robert Oschler, the publisher of RobotsRule.com and developer of the popular RoboDance software application, has really outdone himself this time. He's equipped his RoboQuad with a video camera, Skype video conferencing ability, and can control the robot remotely from anywhere in the world using voice commands processed through RoboDance. He explains it all, and promises some interesting follow-on information, in the video below.
Shiny Shiny out of the UK is one of our favorite YouTube feeds, half because of the great gadgets and stuff they review, and half because of the really entertaining hosts, like Susi and Zara. Usually they manage to show off the product they're reviewing pretty successfully, though every once in a great while, things can unexpectedly go wrong.
And, when they go wrong, as they did during Zara's Homersapien robot review video below, they go really, really wrong. Nevertheless, Shiny Shiny shows you that too - which we have to totally respect them for.
A couple years ago, when the original Robosapien robot, created by Mark Tilden, went on sale, there were no third party products. Actually, at that point, no one outside of the WowWee Robotics labs knew enough about the robot to even begin hacking it, or creating new software and accessories for it.
We bought one, and are very glad we did. Figuring out how to control it from our PC was a significant challenge that taught us a lot, though we wouldn't want to try doing it from scratch again. Fortunately now there are several million of the popular Robosapien robots out there, along with other robots in the series, like the RoboRaptor, and RoboPet. And, there are a number of third party solutions for Robosapien fans and addicts to chose from.
’The Robot Sleeps Tonight (Video)’ continues
It's always hard to make any judgments about new products just based on reports from the big trade shows like CES since the hype is usually so thick you couldn't cut it with a knife. But now that all the excitement and media love-fest has calmed down a bit, we're starting to see better information come out that will eventually lead to a thumbs-up, or thumbs-down, purchase decision on some of the interesting robots scheduled to hit store shelves later this year.
One good example is the RoboPanda from WowWee. Initially we were fairly cold about it, but willing to wait for more details. After watching the latest demonstration video (included below) featuring the talented robot, we've warmed up a bit. It has definite potential, and may appeal to both customers that want to purchase one for their children or grandchildren, and to hackers like us that want a platform to modify and show off our own creativity.
’RoboPanda Demonstration (Video)’ continues