October 23, 2012

Germany Saves With Robotic Solar Panel Mounters

German solar company PV Kraftworker has put robotic arms to work to mount solar panels in the field. The arm has suction cups on the end and can therefore lift and position the panels with the aid of video cameras. Because it is mounted on a track vehicle it can work on any terrain.

Kraftwerkes says that the work that was done by 35 workers can now be done with only 3 workers in an eighth of the time for about half the cost. Future plans involve using robots to make electrical connections to panels that are glued to frames rather than screwed in.

Another German based company, Gehrlicher, also uses robots for the task as the video demonstrates. The obvious advantage here is that they can work in any kind of weather.

Via Planet Inspired

Read More in: Robot Videos | Service Robots

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October 22, 2012

CHARLI-2 Goes Gangnam

Can't get enough Gangnam? Then take a look at Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory's (RoMeLa) CHARLI-2 that has the audacity of simulating the basic steps in its Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid. The bot is usually found at RoboCup soccer matches but we guess that the 4 1/2 ft. tall ASH just needed to take a break from the sport and kick up its heels dance.

Via RoMeLa

Read More in: Humanoid Robots | Robot Videos

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HAL Exoskeleton Goes to Fukushima

Still recovering from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the Japanese government has been working with the Hybrid Assistive Limb exoskeleton. Developed by the University of Tsukuba's Cyberdyne, HAL has sensors that monitor signals coming from the user's brain. This takes the weight off the wearer's muscles and a computer monitors heart rate and breathing. The device is already being used for medical rehabilitation.

Because it has the additional feature of blocking radiation on the outside while the inside circulates air, HAL should be suited for work in the disabled power plant. Unfortunately, it may take decades to decommission it. The video shows the suit being demonstrated last year.

Via Bangkok Post

Read More in: Robot Science/Medicine | Robot Videos | Service Robots

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October 19, 2012

Must Have: Robot Cookie Jars


Stash those freshly baked munchies in a Limited Edition Lost in Space B-9 Robot Cookie Jar created back in 1999. At a height of 14", each is numbered and made of hand painted ceramic.


Prefer the retro look? The 1050s Ceramic Vandor Toy in the Cupboard Cookie Jar pleasantly greets all humans who come in search of a snack.

Via Robot Cookie Jars

Read More in: Miscellaneous Robots | Must Have Robot Friday

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October 18, 2012

GA Tech Robot Learns Problem Solving

The Georgia Institute of Technology recently received a $900,000 endowment from the Office of Naval Research to develop a problem-solving robot. They plan to create a MacGyver-like bot that can solve problems and work with available materials in the area, i.e. using boxes to climb. Team leader Professor Mike Stilman says that they are attempting to understand "basic cognitive processes that allow humans to take advantage of arbitrary objects in their environments as tools."

Algorithms will be used to help develop the software that will be placed in Stillman's Golem Krang humanoid robot that will eventually be used in disaster areas or other dangerous places humans should not go.

Via Georgia Tech

Read More in: Robot Videos | Service Robots

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October 17, 2012

X1 Exoskeleton Developed by NASA

NASA, some engineers from Oceaneering Space Systems of Houston and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition of Pensacola have teamed to develop a robotic exoskeleton as an extension of the Robonaut project. The 57 lb. X1 can be worn to inhibit or assist a human's leg movements. The device has 10ยบ of freedom, four motorized joints and six passive one that when used together can achieve turning, side-stepping, flexing, etc. While the X1 will be able to assist astronauts walking in reduced gravity on planets far, far away, it could be used on our planet as an assistive walking device.

Currently in the developmental stage, we expect that if we wait long enough, Robonaut will get a couple of them, a torso with arms and become a real boy humanoid.


Read More in: Robot Science/Medicine | Robot Videos

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October 16, 2012

Necomimi Ears Express Emotions


Instead of wearing your heart on your sleeve or investing in a mood ring, you can display your true emotions with Necomimi, a headband with cat ears that become animated when flex your brain waves. Designed by Tomonori Kagava, the appendages droop when you are relaxed and perk up when you concentrate or feel excited. We were a bit skeptical of the $99.95 ears until Jimmy Kimmel made Guillermo test them out. The headband works for 4 hours when supplied with 4x AAA batteries (not included.)

Via Jimmy Kimmel Live

Read More in: Miscellaneous Robots

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October 15, 2012

Avrocar - The Little Flying Saucer That Couldn't

A declassified document was recently found in the National Archives that featured a VTOK aircraft that was being built for the Canadian government in 1952 by Avro Aircraft until they found it too expensive. In 1955, the U.S. Army and Air Force decided to pick up the tab on the vehicle that had a wing span of 18 ft., a height of 4 ft. 10-inches and a weight of 4,620 lbs.. The ultimate goal was to build a hovercraft capable of reaching a speed of Mach 4 (2,880 mph) and a height of 100,000 feet (19 miles.)

Needless to say, the project was scrapped in 1961 when a model of the VZ-9AV Avrocar with turbojet engines uncontrollably rolled when tested above 3 feet and only hit a speed of 35 mph. The vehicle is now in the USAF's National Museum where all can lament its demise or appreciate it as a fine example of military intelligence during the Cold War.

Via USAF National Museum

Read More in: Military Robots | Robot Vehicles | Robot Videos

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October 12, 2012

Must Have: Robot Costumes


It's almost boo time again so maybe it is time to start thinking about costumes for the special event. The Artsy Heartsy Retro Robot Costume has a polyester jumpsuit and headpiece, and a foam overlay. It will fit sizes 2T - 6X. There is also an adult-sized Retro Robot Costume with a red polyester shirt and pants with elastic waistband, silver, blue and yellow accents, and a white square opening in the front allows the human to peer out.


Older kids will can go as either the Red or blue Rock'em Sock'em Costume in sizes 7 - 10 that comes with shoe and hand covers.

Via Robot Costumes

Read More in: Must Have Robot Friday | Wearable Robots

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October 11, 2012

Robotic Honeybee in Development


With the assistance of NVIDIA GPUs, the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex in the UK are trying to create the first autonomous honeybee. The $1.6 million Green Brain project is attempting to make up for the decline of the honey makers. The team is trying to build models of brain systems that govern the insect's vision and sense of smell. And because it is small, the bee brain can be place in small flying vehicles. If successful it will be able to identify certain flowers or be used in mechanical pollination.

Via University of Sussex

Read More in: Robot Science/Medicine

Sheila Franklin Permalink | Comments (0) social bookmarking

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