Cubelets are like high-tech Lego bricks that introduce you to the magical world of electronics: sensors, motors, displays. Each of the blocks is capable of performing some function, but it is only when you magnetically align some boxes together, that the functions extend and become meaningful. You don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of systems to play with the cubelets, just some common sense would get across, and it does look like fun. A standard kit of 20 blocks costs $300.
Quattroped robot created at the National Taiwan University’s Bio-Inspired Robotic Laboratory (BioRoLa) moves on normal ground by making use of its four wheels, but when faced with terrain that wheels cannot negotiate, it transforms its wheels into something like legs. These aren’t your conventional legs that move back-and-forth, these are more like “whegs” that provide motion by moving in a circular path. The bot moves by making use of alternate pairs of its whegs.
Researchers at Virginia Tech have created a robotic hand that can type whatever the user commands it to. Called DART (dexterous anthropomorphic robotic typing hand) the robotic hand manages to replicated 19 muscles and 23 degrees of freedom, as compared to the 40 muscles of the human hand and 23 degrees of freedom. The hand can manage typing 20 words per minute, so it probably isn’t any good for games, but it can be very useful for people who have trouble typing, the elderly, and super-lazy people like me.
Most humanoid robots tend to have only a similar shape as humans, though they are easily distinguishable. Geminoid humanoid robot on the other hand, is not so easily recognized. Created by Hiroshi Ishiguro of ATR, who has given us such scary bots as the Telenoid and Elfoid, the Geminoid-F was built at the Aalborg University in Denmark. Actions of the bot may give it away, but by looks alone, its skin and hair are remarkably similar to humans. Checkout the videos to see more of the robot.
Robots can do all the high-tech jobs, but its all a bit meaningless if they can’t get the basic work done. It may not be as glamorous as rocket science, but farming is a pretty basic requirement. Expanding their job portfolio, robots are ready to have a go at planting seeds as well. The hexapod Prospero robot walks through the land, detecting seeds.
If you remember the creepy Telenoid bot, it should be much easier to recognize the Elfoid P1 robotic mobile phone. Apparently, people do have love for scary mobile phones, so this humanoid, 8-inch long mobile phone is covered in urethane skin with controllers embedded in its chest, and the same genderless and ageless looks of the Telenoid. The mobile phone will have a motion capture system, to relay the user’s face movements and expressions to the other end.
Paintball robot has to be a dangerous non-weapon weapon. Yes, I can see the joys of having a remote controlled robot armed with a paintball gun, but I’d never want to be the one in its line of fire. Besides, what is paintball if you don’t get to do the firing yourself, and stand bravely in the line of paintball fire. The bot can climb stairs, has a rotating top, and if you like it, you can help it take off on Kickstarter.
Meka robotics has unveiled its fully working Meka M1 Mobile Manipulator, a humanoid robot that would find pleasure in working for humans. It has functional arms, hands and an omnidirectional wheelbase. The head of the robot happens to have the Microsoft Kinect sensor, which we’ll say has proved to be quite useful. Anyhoo, the standard model M1 is priced at $340,000 and you may have to shell more bucks for customization of this very expensive toy.
Roombots are modular robots that could convert your furniture into something like magical transformer furniture. The miniature modular robots can get together to arrange themselves into a table, sofa, chair or whatever furniture you might need. When not in need, the autonomous modular robots can stack themselves against a wall. Given that they have to move and join together into desired shapes, the bots may also need to evolve their style and function. The future looks amazing with adaptable transforming robots for furniture, until they decide to revolt.
These cute, jiggly wiggly robotic sculptures are handmade from polymer clay, and each of them has a tiny heart of its own. They may have jiggly wiggly in their name, but the robot sculptures don’t quite lend themselves well to any bending. Checkout Etsy shop RobotsAreAwesome for more robotic goodness.