I'm really drooling over the new Attacknid robots released in the U.K. by WowStuff. They look really jaw dropping. It will probably be a while before they hit toystore shelves here in Japan, or in the U.S. for that matter. But, as soon as they are available you can be sure that there will be a couple battling it out at the Robots Dreams headquarters.
Remember Dr. Guero, the robot builder that stunned everyone last year with his bicycle riding Primer-V2 humanoid robot? He's back with another astonishing robot feat. This time his Primer-V4 robot is a full fledged tightrope walker!
Pretty darn amazing, especially considering that just a few short years ago many of the hobby level humanoid robot builders were lucky to keep their robots balanced and upright while walking for an extended period or boxing in the ROBO-ONE ring.
The tightrope used for this feat was a 4mm diameter cable suspended 1 meter above the floor. The technical challenges were significant and considerably different from normal humanoid robot walking. When a bipedal robot walks on the ground the standard approach is to apply gyro sensor feedback corrections primarily to the leg servos to shift the center of gravity. The arms don't play a significant role.
With tightrope walking the arms and upper body play a much more critical role in shifting the robots center of gravity to keep it balanced and avoid crashing to the floor. Dr. Guero's blog doesn't mention the use of any safety net, but I'm sure he had to catch the robot quite a few times before he got it working perfectly.
The robot's feet have a small slot for the tightrope, which is fair enough. A human tightrope walker in the circus would cup their feet and use their toes in the same fashion.
Here's Dr. Guero's bicycling robot, for those that haven't already enjoyed it:
Furby is back, and he looks really bad - in a good way....
The new Furby has some interesting, and hopefully engaging, improvements especially in the way that it interacts with humans. The only thing that appears a bit off target are the LCD eyes. While they appear useful in indicating changes in Furby's personality (or personalities), the LCD eyes don't really match the rest of Furby's body and give an eerie, somewhat unsettling feeling to the toy. It will be interesting to see if that impacts market acceptance and take-up on the toy as we move into the critical 2012 holiday gift buying season.
About two minutes after I posted about the first iOS app for the Aldebaran NAO humanoid robot, another one popped up on my radar screen. This one, iControlNao, is by Klaus Engel and seems to have fairly similar functionality.
One significant difference, assuming I'm interpreting the app description correctly, is that iControlNao detects all the Nao robots in the vicinity and, using Bonjour, automatically connects to the one you select. The app notes also imply that it can be used with the Nao simulation software, assuming you have access to it.
Here's the introductory video from Klaus Engel:
It was hard to capture in words all the fun and excitement of the new BattroBorg 20 battling robots when I first posted about them last week. Now, with the Tokyo International Toy Show opening here tomorrow morning, I can share this exclusive video footage of the robots in action with you:
And here's some additional footage in Japanese via the Takara Tomy YouTube channel:
Seems like almost every major country has popular television program featuring local talent performers, and Korea is no exception. What does make the "Korea's Got Talent" program unusual is that some of the top performers are robots operated by middle school students.