Robotland Bookstore

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Robot dog from Sega Toy

Sega Toys has announced it will market a small toy robot dog, called Mio, that can express its "emotions" and respond to petting. It has sensors on its head, chin and back. Mio's eyes will display over a hundred icons to express psychological states. It can also respond to voice with its own "babble," play music and shuffle along. Take a look at the video clip here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

New working humanoid: HRP-3 Promet Mark II

The new HRP-3 Promet Mark II is designed to work in tunnels, disaster zones and other dangerous environments such as nuclear power plants. Jointly developed by Kawada Industries, Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and others, HRP showed off its skills tightening bolts and screwing screws.

Rain- and dust-proof, the latest robot in the HRP series stands 160 cm tall and weighs 68 kg. HRP-3 has 42 degrees of freedom and has improved grasping ability. The robot can operate autonomously or by remote control. The price for the robot will be $80.000-150.000 when ready for the market in 2010.

(HRP - Humanoid Robotics Project).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

DARPA Urban Challenge 2007

The DARPA Urban Challenge is an autonomous vehicle research and development program with the goal of developing technology that will keep warfighters off the battlefield and out of harm’s way. An autonomous ground vehicle is a vehicle that navigates and drives entirely on its own with no human driver and no remote control. Through the use of various sensors and positioning systems, the vehicle determines all the characteristics of its environment required to enable it to carry out the task it has been assigned.

The Urban Challenge features autonomous ground vehicles maneuvering in a mock city environment, executing simulated military supply missions while merging into moving traffic, navigating traffic circles, negotiating busy intersections, and avoiding obstacles.
The competitive final event is scheduled to take place on November 3, 2007. The exact location will be announced before the National Qualification Event scheduled for October 2007. DARPA is offering $2M for the fastest qualifying vehicle, and $1M and $500,000 for second and third place.

53 teams from have been qualified for the first qualification round.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Robot Dinosaurus Pleo

Pleo is an autonomous robotic life form modeled on a one-week-old Camarasaurus dinosaur. Pleo is designed to mimic life which means Pleo thinks and acts independently, just like a real animal. It’s about the size of a really fluffy house cat, with big blue eyes and a chubby playful body. Pleo does evolve over time in 3 major stages as curious baby, adaptive infant, and finally juvenile dinosaur.

Pleo will be available for $349 USD in the United States in October 2007. Replacement battery packs will be available too. International customers will have to wait until some time in Fall 2007 for further information on Pleo availability in their area.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Robotarium X - the first AI-Zoo

The Robotarium X at Jardim Central, Alverca (Vila Franca de Xira), Portugal, the first zoo in the world dedicated to robots and artificial life. It is latest technology-art project of Leonel Moura, a European artist born in Lisbon, Portugal, who works with AI and robotics.

Robotarium is conceived for a public garden it is constituted by a large glass structure containing 45 robots, most powered by photovoltaic energy and a few plugged to the ceiling or to the ground. The robots are all original, created specifically for the project, representing 14 species classified by distinct behavior strategies and body morphologies. Obstacle avoidance, movement or sunlight detection and interaction with the public are some of the robots skills.

Home Robot for Rent

Japanese robot manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has announced that its humanoid communication robot Wakamaru is now available for rent. Wakamaru has vision, auditory and touch sensors and was launched last year. The rental project is aimed at businesses, hospitals and events, where the robot can be used as receptionist or guide. Wakamaru understands about 10,000 japanese words, can retrieve information or emails from the Net with its wireless LAN link.

The daily rental fee varies according to the lease length. For a lease of 1-5 days, it's 120,000 yen ($970), while 21-30 days is only 20,000 yen ($160). Shipping and management charges extra. The rentals will come with touch panels that can display venue maps and other info.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Robotics Journals ranked by impact

The below table shows the citation impact of robotic journals based on their 2005 "impact factor," as enumerated in the current edition of the Thomson Scientific Journal Citation Reports®. The 2005 impact factor is calculated by taking the number of all current citations to source items published in a journal over the previous two years and dividing by the number of articles published in the journal during the same period—in other words, a ratio between citations and recent citable items published.
Rank 2005 (Impact Factor):

  1. IEEE Trans. Robotics(1.49)
  2. Autonomous Robots(1.25)
  3. Int. J. Robot. Res.(1.13)
  4. Robotics & Auton. Syst.(0.77)
  5. Robot. Comp.-Int. Mfg.(0.64)
  6. Robotica(0.49)
  7. IEEE Robot./Autom. Mag.(0.45)
  8. Advanced Robotics(0.35)
  9. J. Robotic Systems(0.32)
  10. J. Int. Robot. Syst.(0.22)

See also new: Top 10 Robotics Journals 2010 - click here!

Robot tour in Versailles

From June 7 to 27, 2007, Orange fibre customers will be able to enjoy a remote tour of the rooms in the palace of Versailles inaccessible to the general public by steering, from their PC, a robot fitted with a camera. A world first that brings together culture, high-speed broadband and robotics.

During this experimental phase, Orange fibre customers will be able to discover the collection in the
Chimay rooms, which are generally closed to the general public. Accompanied by an explanatory
voice commentary, the images of the works filmed by the robot will be broadcast live in high definition.

This unique technological innovation is made possible by fibre optics and a visiophony system
developed in the Orange Labs. These free tours, lasting 20 minutes, will be available every day from 9
am to 1 pm and 6 pm to 10 pm. Orange "fibre" subscribers can book tours since June 4 on the highspeed
broadband portal at

This experimental phase is part of the GVN project (Grand Versailles Numérique (Digital Great
Versailles)). Launched by the Palace of Versailles in 2005, GVN’s aim is to imagine, test and then
deploy new digital tools designed to enrich visits to the museum and the Versailles estate. It is a
research and experimentation programme that merges culture and technology. A prototype of GVN
could be duplicated in other cultural sites, in France and throughout the world. The innovations
contained in this project are linked to improving the reception, information and orientation of the public,
preparation, enrichment and prolongation of the visit, sharing knowledge and exchanges between

Robosoft, a worldwide leader in service robotics solutions, has prepared and loaned the project one of
its robuters®. The robuter is an intelligent mobile robot equipped with a camera, and able to perform
pre-programmed themed visits, or to be remote controlled on demand from any PC connected to the
Internet. This world first is a clear illustration of Robosoft’s vision that, by 2011, robuters will change
our daily lives, particularly through functions like tele-presence, which is demonstrated today in the
Palace of Versailles. Exclusively available on Orange fibre, this experiment illustrates one of the uses made possible by fibre optics and opens up perspectives in other fields (tourism, cultural, educational, medical, security, etc.) or in the search for solutions to facilitate access to cultural events for people with reduced mobility.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Underwater robot Depthx successful dive

The Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer (DEPTHX) project is creating the navigation and autonomy needed to enable an underwater robot to map the depths of the Zacaton Cenote in central Mexico. This scientific investigation is seeking to understand the unique organisms that survive in this, the deepest sink hole in the world (300 m).

The DEPTHX project is led by Stone Aerospace, Field Robotic Center at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, who designed and integrated the vehicle. Southwest Research Institute has built the sciencepayload for science investigators from the University of Texas at Austin, Colorado School of Mines, and NASA Ames Research Center. Carnegie Mellon is developing the navigation and guidance software to map the cenote and autonomously execute the exploration strategy.

Depthx has 100 sensors, 36 computers and 16 thrusts ( small actuators) and is navigating autonomously.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Androids have higher calling than mechanical cousins, IU expert says

Human-looking robots have a greater potential for social interaction according to MacDorman, associate professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "They are the ultimate human communications interface. They can serve as companions, entertainers, rehabilitation therapists, realistic medical training dummies and teachers for autistic children."
MacDorman, , will share his expertise at the International Robots and Vision Conference in Chicago, June 11-14. He will join scientists from 26 nations presenting at a session highlighting recent trends and technology in service robots.

In the United States robots are still viewed mainly as tools for performing specific tasks, even when they act autonomously. They can be programmed for tasks such as delivering messages, medications and food in hospitals, cleaning public areas and general surveillance. "However, using an android seems to have little if any advantage over special-purpose robots in performing these kinds of jobs," he said. "A less expensive, wheeled robot can courier or vacuum faster than an android and with less power consumption."

Pool-cleaner robots

Home vacuum robot maker iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT) has launched two new pool-cleaner robots for home use. The two robots, Verro 300 and Verro 600, are available now for $800 and $1200. The 300 model uses water jet and vacuum to suck up debris from the pool. The Verro 600 uses brushes along with the vacuum and filter. Drop the robot into the water and it will clean the pool in 60 to 90 minutes. The robots require a power umbilical plugged in but do not need any hose connection to the pool's pump. iRobot worked with the Aqua Products Group companies to develop their robots.

Another makers of pool cleaner robots are Maytronics (Isreal), Weda (Sweden), Aquabot (USA), Ozonex (France).

Home Companion robot

Korean start-up KornTech has launched a new home companion robot called Rogun a 1-meter tall humanoid who can walk and communicate wirelessly with the Internet and cell phones. It is designed to play with kids and entertain them through a small video screen on his chest. Through a cell phone the parents will be able to watch their kids and send commands to them and the robot. KornTech says they have spent US $1 million developing the first unit. They will build more to order for $100,000 right now. In the future the plan to sell the cuties for as little as $5000.

Hitachi Develops Portable Photo-topography Equipment for Measuring Brain Activities in Daily Life -- Tech-On!

Hitachi Ltd's Advanced Research Laboratory has prototyped a portable photo-topography equipment, which weighs only 1 kg. As using this equipment allows easy measurement of brain activities in daily life, "Not just for medical applications, photo-topography technology will be more familiar to us. For example, this technology may be useful for health care application with observing a trend in everyday measurements," said Hitachi. The company also explains about some other application fields such as psychology, marketing and education.

Child robot makes debut : Science & Nature : Features : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

Child robot makes debut : Science & Nature : Features : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

A child-sized android with flexible joints and soft skin developed by the Japan Science and Technology Agency was unveiled June 2 at Osaka University, where the agency's research and development team is based. The 1.3-meter-tall, 33 kilogram humanoid robot has optical, auditory and tactile sensors. Fifty-one actuators inside its body run on compressed air and enable the robot to make complex movements smoothly.About 200 tactile sensors are embedded in the robot's gray skin, which is made of silicon and other materials. The robot can react to its surroundings by blinking and altering its facial expressions.

The robot, which has the physical ability of a 1- or 2-year-old toddler, can turn over and stand up with assistance. At the news conference Friday, the humanoid moved its hands and feet and turned its eyes. The 33-kilogram humanoid is fitted with an artificial vocal cord can also form words.Its name is CB2, an abbreviation of Child-Robot with Biomimetic Body.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Autonomous Navigation in Dynamic Environments

Series: Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics , Vol. 35
Laugier, Christian, Chatila, Raja
2007, Approx. 170 p., Hardcover
ISBN: 978-3-540-73421-5
Not yet published. Available: October 4, 2007

Part I: Dynamic World Understanding and Modelling for Safe Navigation.- Mobile Robot Map Learning from Range Data in Dynamic Environments.- Optical Flow Approaches for Self-Supervised Learning in Autonomous Mobile Robot Navigation.- Steps Towards Safe Navigation in Open and Dynamic Environments.- Part II: Obstacle Avoidance and Motion Planning in Dynamic Environments.- Provably Safe Motions Strategies for Mobile Robots in Dynamic Domains.- Motion Planning in Dynamic Environments.- Recursive Agent Modeling with Probabilistic Velocity Obstacles for Mobile Robot Navigation among Humans.- Towards Real-Time Sensor-Based Path Planning in Highly Dynamic Environments.- Part III: Human-Robot Physical Interactions.- Tasking Everyday Interaction.

DARPA Grand Challenge

DARPA Grand ChallengeThe Race of the CenturySeries: Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics , Vol. 36
Iagnemma, Karl; Buehler, Martin; Singh, Sanjiv (Eds.)
2008, Approx. 480 p., Hardcover
ISBN: 978-3-540-73428-4

The DARPA Grand Challenge was a landmark in the field of robotics: a race by autonomous vehicles through 132 miles of rough, cross-country Nevada terrain that showcased exciting and unprecedented capabilities in robotic perception, navigation, and control. The event took place in October 2005, and drew teams of competitors from academia and industry, and many garage hobbyists. This book presents fifteen technical papers that are written at a level that makes them easily accessible to a broad technical audience, describing the technology behind most of the robotic vehicles that participated in this famous race. The papers describe each team's driverless vehicle, race strategy, and insights. As a whole, they present the state of the art in autonomous vehicle technology, and offer a glimpse of future technology for tomorrow’s driverless cars.
This book will serve as an authoritative, archival source for the DARPA Grand Challenge and a “must have” for robotics students and researchers, since it describes the state of the art in perception, planning and control.

Friday, June 01, 2007

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Tayside and Central | Scientists to build robot society

Scientists in Dundee have announced plans to create a "robot village" in an effort to learn how different cultures emerge in society. The University of Abertay’s four-year study will feature about 60 miniature robots who will be organised into groups and programmed to interact. The project team plans to observe the robots to see how they behave together. The university will undertake the study along with five other institutions across the UK. Scientists say the robots will be organised into groups or “villages” and told to observe then copy each other’s behaviour in different situations. The research, costing more than £700,000, is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. A consortium of universities, including the University of Exeter, Warwick, Manchester and the West of England will take part in the study along with researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University.