Top-selling Robot Monkey Hits US Store Shelves and Hearts (Video)

monkey robot

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.


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Robot Learns, Thinks, and Acts By Itself (Video)

thinking learning robot

The Hasegawa Group located at the Tokyo Institute of technology has been able to integrate artificial intelligence into a semi-humanoid robot enabling it to think, learn, and act by itself. The robot uses a self-replicating neural network to learn in much the same way as its human counterparts.  It is able to extrapolate based on its past experience and knowledge combined with observation of its surrounding environment, then make educated guesses. In that sense, it learns from its mistakes, just like a child, and consistently corrects and adjusts until it can successfully perform required tasks.


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New Manhattan Hotel Features Robot Bellboy (Video)

robot hotel bell captain

Drawing inspiration from Japanese capsule hotels, while incorporating a lot more style, comfort, and size, the Yotel hotel even features a robot bellboy to take care of your checked luggage while you explore the Big Apple. The decor, as you can see from the video below, seems straight out of a futuristic SF movie and could be a bit stark for some tastes. Nevertheless, the room rates would be hard to beat in what has to be one of the most expensive cities in the world.


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Where’s My Jetpack? – NYC Exhibition

where's my jetpack?

As much as I love living in Japan, there are times when I miss the excitement, variety, and creativity of New York. Things happen there, especially when technology and art collide head-on, that are unique in the world. A great example is the KAL SPELLETICH "Where's My Jetpack?" exhibition currently underway at the Jack Hanley Gallery in Manhattan.

"Before flying was a means to an end, it was a sensation. The perennial struggle to fly aimed forthe deep-rooted joy of weightlessness, a release from our own corporeality, and the all-too-humansatisfaction of  “touching the sky”. The flying machine made the human superhuman. For KalSpelletich, flight’s future promise may be gone but not forgotten – Where are the jetpacks? Theflying cars, escape pods, gravity boots, moon colonies? This is supposed to be the future. Where’sMy Jetpack?! takes us back to a moment of invention. Or perhaps, reminds us that its time is now."

Unfortunately I'm going to miss seeing it in person, at least this time around, so I can only drool over the images on the exhibition website.

(Via Jack Hanley Gallery Exhibition - KAL SPELLETICH: Where's My Jetpack?!.)

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The BBC Checks Out Robot Research at the ISRC University of Ulster (Video)

BBC visits the Ulster ISRC robot labs

The BBC recently visited the Cognitive Robotics lab at the University of Ulster, Intelligent Systems Research Center and broadcast a short news segment (see below) covering the advanced robotics research work underway in the lab. While it doesn't disclose anything dramatically new or exciting, the video does provide an additional views of the Willow Garage PR2 preparing coffee and solving a Rubik's cube along with a researching shaking hands with the one of the famous Shadow robotic hands.

That being said, the vintage footage that starts off the video makes it all worthwhile - classic robot camp stuff.


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Ishiguro Laboratory Looking For Scientific Engineer

ishiguro robot lab

Hiroshi Ishiguro's famous robotics laboratory situated in Kyoto, Japan, is looking for an outstanding international scientific engineer that can make a major contribution to their development in teleoperated robotic systems. Demonstrated expertise with state of the art robotics projects is one of their key selection criteria. The exact definition of a 'scientific' engineer isn't immediately clear - at least to me, though they are looking for candidates with experience in hardware/software humanoid robot construction; teleoperation; computer vision, and/or spoken language processing.

The laboratory is world famous for pushing the edge with startling, sometimes almost frightening, android creations including the Geminoid series, Telenoids, and Elfoids. While other robotic researchers tend to shy away from the boundaries of the Uncanny Valley, Ishiguro's laboratory seems to have staked out the territory as their own personal hunting ground.

All things considered, it looks like a real plum job for the right candidate, the opportunity to work with the leading experts in the field and potentially gain a lot of invaluable know-how, experience, and visibility in the robot community.

Thanks to @mspetitegeek for the heads-up.

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iheartrobotics: Perfect Dancing TurtleBot Robot Accessory

turtlebot robot accessories

The robot loving guru's over at have been pumping out interesting new accessories for the TurtleBot robot platform at a dizzying pace. Their latest creation, available via the iheartrobotics webstore, adds speakers that could provide music as the robot attempts a Michael Jackson, or Lady Gaga, imitation. There's also a link in their blog post that shares all the build details in case you want to hack one together yourself.

Be sure to check out the rest of the TurtleBot goodies they have created. It looks like the robot may be going for a new Guinness World Record for the most accessorized robot ever.

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What Do Robots Eat When They Run Low on Power? (Video)

gundam robot cup noodle

It's not surprising to find Japanese companies featuring robots in commercials to pitch and promote their products. Gigantor (Tetsujin 28) is currently appearing in cellphone ads and commercials for NTT/DoCoMo. Gundam has done gigs for ANA airlines. And, even Atom (Astro Boy) has been known to earn a few yen doing the pitchman, or pitch-robot, routine.

But, the latest Gundam TV commercial is puzzling to say the least. And, the real mystery - what is the meaning of the punchline message at the end of the video? We're just as puzzled as we're sure you will be after you watch it. If you have any clue, please post a comment below and let us know.


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Robot Film Festival Videos Available OnLine (Video)

nao robot inpersonator

Much to our regret, we weren't able to make it to the States to attend the recent Robot Film Festival in person. Thankfully, the organizers were kind enough to post all of the festival films on Vimeo, so we've been amused, entertained, surprised, and delighted by their creativity and production quality. We had expected something akin to home movies, or the typical YouTube video, but quite a few of the Robot Film Festival entries turned out to be extremely well executed and professional.

A great example is "Nao 1337 Audition" created by Carlos Asmat. The film features an out of work actor (played by Nao) auditioning for a film role. In typical 'type-casting' fashion, he shows off his acting chops with excellent renditions of the Terminator, Johnny 5, R2D2, and others. Did he impress the casting director? We're not sure. But he definitely impressed us.


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