Robot Stand-up Comedy with Marilyn Monrobot – Entertainment as Valuable Research (Video)

Heather Knight seems to keep a schedule that would make Alice in Wonderland's rabbit look like he was moving in slow motion. She's pursuing robotics research towards her doctorate at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and running Marilyn Monrobot Labs in New York City. She has also done work for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, applications and sensor design for Aldebaran Robotics as a part of the NAO project, and is an alumnus of the MIT Media Lab.

Somehow, in the midst of all of that, or perhaps because of it, she's doing some surprising work exploring the potential for interactive robots to teach us a lot about our own behaviors and motivations. And, she's doing it via the vehicle of robot stand-up comedy:

Related links: Marilyn Monrobot Official Website

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Creatively Demolishing Robot Misconceptions (Video)

How do you measure or compare robots? Ever think about comparing the tonnage? Or how effectively and dramatically your robots can pound the heck out of a dead coyote carcass? Or how it may make a startling impression on a youngster that will last their whole lifetime?

Survival Research Labs has a totally unique, and surprising, approach to robotics. They focus on the artistic, the dramatic, and the memorable aspects and tend to ignore traditional engineering and approaches that might stand in the way of doing what they want to accomplish. Along the way they manage to crack, fracture, and sometimes demolish common misconceptions about robots and their role in society.

From Simone at Suicidebots: "Mark Pauline, punk rock übermensch of Survival Research Labs gave a talk at the Sono­ma County Museum of Art the other day, in which he related his experiences starting up SRL,trials and tribulations along the way, and how the damn kids can’t even fix a toilet nowadays."

Mark Pauline: Grampa Shows The Whipper Snappers How It’s Done

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Trossen Robotics Releases PhantomX Hexapod Robot Line

They may be a bit pricey, but the new PhantomX Hexapod robot lineup from Trossen Robotics features incredible price performance for dedicated robot fans, research labs, and educational institutions:

Check out the Specs-
Speed (AX-12+): 1.44 fps / 0.44 mps
Speed (AX-18F): 2.82 fps / 0.86 mps
Weight: 4.6 lbs / 2.1 kg 
Dimensions: L 19, W 20, H 7.5-9 
Payload: 4 lbs / 2 kg

Feature List:
3 Degree-Of-Freedom Legs
Arduino-Compatible ArbotiX Robo controller
Open Source Software
Advanced Inverse Kinematics Driven Gait Engine
6 Different Walking Gaits Available
High Quality LiPo Battery
Rugged ABS Construction
Totally Hackable!
Add Arms, Grippers, Cameras, Pan/Tilts, even Computers!
Wireless Xbee Control via PC or Handheld
Tons of I/O available and fully programmable for autonomy
Control Wirelessly from RC or PC
Extra nuts and bolts provided for repair
High payload means you can load up add ons
Great platform for hobby, education, research, and Mech Warfare.

PhantomX Hexapods Have Arrived

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Robots in the Bathroom – Beyond the iRobot Scooba (Video)

After posting my thoughts on the redesigned iRobot Scooba 230 bathroom floor cleaning robot yesterday I started to wonder how robotic technology could be applied to the most private space in the home. If the relatively tiny floor space here didn't seem to justify spending several hundred dollars for a special purpose robot, then were there other possible applications in the bathroom that could be improved by the use of automation?

I didn't have to wonder very long. It turns out that Morinosuke Kawaguchi, a leading expert on product design, gave a presentation at the TedX Tokyo meeting last summer addressing how Japanese companies have already super-robotized the bathroom in almost every possible way.

Although the soundtrack is in Japanese, I think you can easily follow
what he has to say since his graphics tell the story in a very simple
and understandable style.

[Update: Here's the same video with simultaneous translation into English –]

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