Robotland Bookstore

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Intelligent Chair with robot leg

Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. has developed a leg-shaped robot that now has been applied to a seating application. Together with Okamura Corp., a leading manufacturer of office furniture, the two companies became first in the world to develop a concept model for seating using muscular mechanism. The concept model fits the body, in which the back and seat of the chair follow the movement of the user's body from seating and reclining through to standing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Robot Report

THE ROBOT REPORT dot com is a new website dedicated to tracking the business of robotics. It is a resource for news and links to and about this growing industry:
· Service Robots for Governmental and Corporate Use
· Service Robots for Personal and Private Use
· Industrial Robots
· Ancillary Businesses
· Educational and Research Facilities
THE ROBOT REPORT dot com will be updated as often as there is news - and continually for the addition and maintenance of links.

Robothand i-LIMB Hand

Photo: Touch Bionics

Touch Bionics is a leading developer of advanced upper-limb prosthetics (ULP). One of the two products now commercially available from the company, the i-LIMB Hand, is a first-to-market prosthetic device with five individually powered digits. This replacement hand looks and acts like a real human hand and represents a generational advance in bionics and patient care.The Touch Bionics i-LIMB Hand was developed using leading-edge mechanical engineering techniques and is manufactured using high-strength plastics. The result is a next-generation prosthetic device that is lightweight, robust and highly appealing to both patients and healthcare professionals.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stroke Survivors Walk Better With Human Help

Stroke survivors derive much more benefit from walking therapy when it's conducted by a physical therapist instead of a robotic device, report researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago. The researchers suggest that the effectiveness of robotic devices may be best reserved for acute stroke patients who have no ability to walk on their own, while those who can walk independently -- even at very slow speeds -- may be better served by human-assisted therapy.

The research was fundet by The National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the Department of Education.

American Heart Association (2008, May 11). Stroke Survivors Walk Better After Human-assisted Rehabilitation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 13, 2008, from­ /releases/2008/05/080508164414

Monday, November 10, 2008

Telepaediatric Robot

eHealth, telemedicine, telecare, telehealth are new terms describing different aspects of ICT applications in healthcare. Today there are many users groups with different backgrounds and special needs involved in the development and use of ICT solutions for healthcare, prevention and wellness. eHealth is an interdisciplinary field in the intersection of a number of different competences as e.g. medicine and caring sciences, medical informatics and engineering, psychology, social sciences, economics, ethics and law. Telehealth is about delivery of health services at a distance, using a range of communication techniques, such as email, videoconferencing and the Internet. Telecare is about delivery of health services to patients in their own home including electronic monitoring and supervision of patients.

One of the leading eHealth Centres in the world is The Centre for Online Health at the University of Queensland. COH is one of very few research and teaching centres in the world which focus on the evaluation of telehealth for the delivery of health services. Specific areas of expertise include telepaediatrics, teledermatology, and tele-homecare. Current areas of interest include ENT, home palliative care, neurology, retinal screening, automatic email message handling and tele-geriatrics.

The COH has developed a telemedicine system which is mobile and wireless, allowing the unit to be easily transported directly to the bedside of patients when a specialist consultation is required. To suit the context of this application (i.e. paediatrics) the mobile units have been built in the shape of an telepaediatric robot. The robot provides general paediatric support for hospitals without a local paediatrician and/or sub-specialist paediatric support and professional education and support for regional clinicians.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Robot assisted walking for workers and elderly

The need for assisting technology is expected to grow in Japan, which has one of the most rapidly aging societies in the world. Three japanese companies are leading the development of robot assisted walkers, Honda, Toyota and Cyberdyne.

Ambient Assisted Living: Robot assisted walking for workers and elderly

Telerobotic Shopping

A prototype of the telerobotic shopper based on a TMSUK-4 humanoid robot was demonstrated on July 10 at the Izutsuya department store in the city of Kitakyushu, Japan. The remote-control robot was demonstraded by an unwell grandmother unable to go shopping with her granddaughter sent the robot in her place. Using an NTT DoCoMo video-capable cellphone, the grandmother was able to control the robot and enjoy the shopping experience through the robot’s camera eyes. The woman maneuvered the robot to the hat section, eyed what was available on the shelf, and had her granddaughter model a few for her before deciding which one to purchase. According to tmsuk, this innovative type of “3D communications” technology brings us a step closer to a future in which telerobotic shoppers roam the fashionable areas of cities like New York or London.

Robotic Telepresence in TV studio

Natural Partners Inc., one of the largest distributors of Professional Only Natural Health Supplements in the West Coast, and producers of the "Well Rounded" and the "Well Well Well" television series, has begun using robotic telepresence on its Well Well Well TV Show which will enable easier access for Doctors and other Medical Professionals to participate in the TV show without having to travel to NPI's Scottsdale studios. Through the use of RoboDynamics' robot TiLR, guests on the show will be able to participate remotely from their homes and offices through the use of a computer and broadband connection - and will no longer need to travel to Scottsdale in order to participate on the show. When TiLR is not in the NPI studios, it will assist the warehouse operations staff of NPI, enabling rapid face to face communications with various suppliers and other stake holders, leading to faster and more streamlined warehouse operations.

Remote controlled telepresence with iPhone

Robotic telepresence (RTP) is the future. It gives you the ability to transport yourself to a remote location, move around, look about, interact with people or objects from your PC or mobilephone whereever in the world without being there.

A creative example combinding an iPhone with a mobile robot comes out of Japan. The iPhone is rigged to a mobile base and connects to MacBook Air over WiFi.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Assistive robot mimic service dog

An assistive robot at Georgia Institute of Technology, called El-E, can open drawers, doors and even a microwave by grasping affixed towels, much in the same way a service dog would. El-E can also follow verbal commands, such as “tug it” or “tug it down.” An assistive robot like this could benefit those with disabilities or the elderly living at home. See video.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Robots will take over many jobbs

At Scenarioland John Heylin reports a speech of Marshall Brain, founder of How Stuff Works who thinks robots can easily eliminate half the workforce of the United States fairly soon. In 20 years or so robots will have computing power enough to take over jobs in factories, construction, transportation and retail. Walmart alone has over 1.2 million employees, performing easy jobs. If robots take the jobs, a million jobs at Walmart will be gone. 6.5 million construction workers, 16.4 million factory workers, 3 million drivers are in the risk zone. In total about 50 million jobs in the U.S. alone may be taken over by robots. Brain recommends to modifying our economy to deal with the mass unemployed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Household robot demo in Tokyo

Toyota Motor Corp and Tokyo University’s Information and Robot Technology Research Initiative , IRT, have jointly developed a prototype of a household robot that can clean up rooms, smoothly put away dishes from a dining table and pick up shirts and put them in a washing machine. According to a press release the 155-cm, 130-kg humanoid robot excels in the capacity to distinguish and perceive objects such as furniture and cleaning equipment. The robot is equipped with two arms, five recognition cameras and laser sensors. It gets around on wheels.
The robot also analyzes past failures and corrects its behavior patterns.

Toyota and Tokyo University’s IRT said the robot has been designed to help cope with the predicted labor shortage stemming from Japan’s aging society and low birthrate. The developers said they will keep improving the robot and hope to start marketing it in around year 2015.

See Reuters Video.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

World's tiniest, thumb-sized walking robot

Japanese toy manufacturer Tomy unveils world's tiniest, thumb-sized walking robot
The two-legged toy, dubbed ‘‘Robo-Q,’’ is only 3.4 centimeters high, but its artificial intelligence can detect obstacles and navigate through a maze using built in infrared sensors. Using a controller, it can also play games like soccer.

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Neural Headset

California based NeuroSky is providing solutions to effectively interface bio-signal information, including brainwaves, to consumer electronic products such as music players that automatically select songs by analyzing the feelings of users, as well as devices to support nursing-care work and to measure learning effects. NeuralSky's MindSet reads brain waves, known as EEG's, and the brain's activity can be utilized by computers and other devices.

NeuroSky plans to demonstrate a brain-controlled video game at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show starting on Oct 9 at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, near Tokyo. A brain-controlled video game is expected to hit the Japanese market as early as 2009.

The MindSet™ is the first commercially available, "consumer-ready", brainwave-controlled headset for the mass consumer market. The headset reads and interprets different mental states associated with the headset user and transmits that information wirelessly to a variety of platforms. Utilizing NeuroSky's fully-embedded, ThinkGear-EM technology, which manages the brainwave acquisition and interpretation chores, the MindSet communicates equally well with game consoles, PC's and mobile platforms, including cell phones. The MindSet is currently available to NeuroSky's OEM customers.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Unicycle-riding robot

Smart technology to come! Kyoto precision parts maker Murata Manufacturing has unveiled a unicycle-riding robot called Seiko-chan. The 50 cm-tall robot can go forward and back on one wheel and come to a full stop without toppling over. It uses the same gyro sensor and flywheel technology that went into Murata Boy, the firm's popular bicyclist robot. Kids who saw the biker asked the firm to create a unicyclist, and a female employee designed its look. The diminutive performer can be controlled via Bluetooth, and is also equipped with an obstacle sensor and a video camera.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Asimo welcomes investors to Japan

Invest in Japan has started a promotion campaign using humanoid Asimo as an eye catcher. The campaign named "Think original" points at the fact that Japan is leading in manufacturing technology patent filing, more than USA and Europe together.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Robots in the Metaverse

The Department of Industrial Design of the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e) has the following vacancy (code V51.062): The Metaverse (global standards among real and virtual worlds) project will provide a standardized global framework that enables the interoperability between virtual worlds (as for example Second Life, World of Warcraft, IMVU, Google Earth and many others) and the real world (robots, sensors, actuators, vision and rendering, social and welfare systems, banking, insurance, travel, real estate and many others). The project is a funded through the European ITEA organization and the Dutch SenterNovem organization.

US Ground Robotics Research Center

In July the University of Michigan College of Engineering oppened a new research center with four new faculty members, a master’s degree program and 5,000 square feet of additional lab space. With $2 million in projects funded by the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) the new Ground Robotics Research Center looks to leverage automotive expertise as the area expands into military ground robotics and intelligent transportation. TARDEC gave another $2 million to seven other universities in the state and U-M will collaborate with these institutions and industry partners.

The U.S. Army has moved its ground robotics activities from Alabama to Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich. The area’s automotive presence makes this a natural fit. Robotic systems that sense a vehicle’s surroundings and react accordingly are the next frontier in auto safety. The military uses robots for transporting cargo, surveillance, unmanned defense, de-activating roadside bombs, rescuing soldiers and more.

The center will research all aspects of ground robotics, including their design, propulsion, navigation and reliability. It will also look at how robots and humans interact and seek ways to improve safety.

In addition to 5,000 square feet of new robotics lab space, the college will provide space for industry offices on campus in effort to foster collaboration.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Telerobotics with Rovio WiFi Robot

According to Wikipedia definition telepresence refers to a set of technologies which allow a person to feel as if they were present, to give the appearance that they were present, or to have an effect, at a location other than their true location. Telepresence refers to a user interacting with another live, real place, and is distinct from virtual presence, where the user is given the impression of being in a simulated environment.

Leading consumer robot developer WowWee, an Optimal Group company (NASDAQ:OPMR), has developed a new telepresence robot called Rovio. The three wheel robot is based on
Evolution Robotics NorthStar 2.0 system, which enables robots to be truly aware of their environment and perform everyday tasks with complete autonomy.

Rovio robot is able to let users drive the robot with shortcut “go-to” commands, to make it easy to control the robot remotely over the web or from a mobile phone. Rovio can also operate in “patrol mode” and automatically send pictures of specific locations the user wants to check. Rovio can autonomously guide itself back on course if someone picks it up and move it, The robot can navigate to its charging station from anywhere in the house, and dock with pinpoint accuracy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Swiss researcher won the Robotdalen Scientific Award

Sylvain Calinon from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland is the winner of the Robotdalen Scientific Award 2008 and received € 20 000.

Sylvain Calinon’s winning thesis is titled "Continuous Extraction of Task Constraints in a Robot Programming by Demonstration Framework" and examines how a human instructor can teach manipulation skills to a robot by first demonstrating the required motions, then leading the robot through them, then coaching the robot’s refinement of its skill level by providing feedback using gestures and voice emphasis.

The other finalists are Pinhas Ben-Tzvi from University of Toronto in Canada and Antonios Bouloubasis from University of Reading in Great Britain, both received honorary mentions and € 1 000.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Robotics Cloud

Rescue Robot BEAR lifts 600 pounds

The Vecna Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR), is designed to rescue military personnel in combat situations, the Vecna BEAR can lift up to 600 pounds. Based on a Linux operating system, BEAR is controlled by hydraulics with dynamic balancing behavior to navigate buildings, landscapes and even stairs.

Robotics will be the next big industry for Taiwan

Johnny 5 robot from PlayRobot

Taiwan´s Vice President Vincent Siewat said at the first Taipei International Robot Show (TIROS), that the show not only serves as an important milestone but also indicates that robotics will be the next big industry. He cites Bill Gates who predicts that robotics is the next big industry. Siew said: "The prospects present in the robotics industry are the same as those in the personal computer industry when it was about to boom."

Chen Chao-yi, director general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Industrial Development Bureau, said Taiwan has the advantage to edge into the robot market in a short time, as it has a complete industrial supply chain and the ability to adjust to the fast-changing industry. The Industrial Development Bureau has already invested NT$35 million (US$1.11 million) to help companies develop robots and the investment is expected to generate an output value of NT$1.4 billion, according to Chen.

Taiwan's robot manufacturers are aiming for a share of the global market, which is worth a total of $17 billion annually, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). Industrial robots are expected to increase from about 951,000 units by the end of 2006 to 1,173,300 by the end of 2010, representing an average annual growth rate of 5.5 percent, the IFR said.

iRobot acquires Durham underwater robot technology firm

Leading robotics company iRobot has acquired Nekton Research, a developer of unmanned underwater robot technology. “We believe that the underwater market is the next frontier for robots” said Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairman of iRobot, in a statement. “This acquisition positions us for leadership in robot solutions on both the land and sea.” Nekton customers include several U.S. military clients – the Office of Naval Research, Naval Undersea Warfare Command, naval Air Systems Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.

Robots invade hospitals

Rodney Brooks of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicts that the use of robotics in everyday life will surge. He specifically sees a role for robots in the healthcare sector. According to Brooks, a number of US hospitals are already using robots as "human assistants", freeing nurses to focus more on patient care. In less than 50 years, Rodney Brooks expects to see robots deployed in all aspects of everyday life. The US is leading the way with using robots as human assistants in hospitals to help improve the working environment of nurses. Worldwide more than 200 hospitals have installed automated guided vehicle systems (AGVS) so far.

JBT Corporation (formerly FMC Technologies), Chicago, IL, is a world leader in providing Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) Systems and supplies ATLIS (Automated Transport and Logistics Integration Systems) specifically designed for the hospital and health care industry to provide safe, efficient automatic transportation of goods. The goods typically transported by the system include carts of dietary/food items, medical/surgical supplies (case carts), linens, trash, regulated medical waste, pharmaceuticals, items for decontamination centers, and general housekeeping items.

Aethon, based in Pittsburgh, Pa., has developed TUG a automated technology platforms redefining hospital supply chain logistics by automating the location, delivery and recovery of key assets. TUG is used in more than 100 hospitals by central supply, dietary units, laboratories, laundry rooms, mail rooms, materials management, medical records, nursing, pharmacy and other departments.

In Europe Swisslog, based in Buchs, Switzerland is the leading with its TransCar, a automatic guided vehicle system (AVG) for healthcare industry that negotiates multiple-floor facilities with narrow aisle-ways and human traffic. The TransCar AGV employs industry-leading virtual path, laser contour-following guidance. This automatic guided vehicle system does not require embedded wires, tape or chemically applied guide paths.

InTouch Health, a remote presence robotics company operating from California let doctors "virtualise" or "beam in" to a patient's bedside without having to be physically present.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Robotdalen Scientific Award 2008

For the second time Robotdalen awards the winner of the Robotdalen Scientific Award with € 20.000. The prize ceremony takes place on the annual conference Robotdalen Day in Eskilstuna, Sweden on September 10. Three finalists, selected by the jury, will attend the ceremony where one winner and two honorary mentions will be announced. The three candidates attending the prize ceremony are:

Pinhas Ben-Tzvi, University of Toronto, Canada
Sylvian Calinon, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Schweiz (The Winner 2008)
Antonios Bouloubasis, University of Reading, UK

Members of the jury are:
Peter Wide, PhD, Professor in Measurement Technology at Örebro University, Sweden
Charlotte Brogren, Vice President R&D, Robotics Division, ABB
Emil M. Petriu, Dr.Eng., P.Eng., Professor and University Research Chair at the School of Information Technology and Engineering (SITE), University of Ottawa, Canada
Mel Siegel, Professor, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
Dr Amy Loutfi, Senior Researcher at the Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems Research

Friday, September 05, 2008

USA preparing next generation for the "Robotics Age"

The Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University has published a short video that shows the exponential change that those of us over 40 have experienced in our professional lives, as we've moved to personal computers, the Internet and now to robots, in the span of less than thirty years. Robots are here to stay! Are we ready? Watch the video here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Future of Robosaur Pleo

In an intervju with Gizmodo UK Ugobe's Steve Bannerman talked about the future for Pleo Robot Dinosaur. So far 55,000 units of the little robosaur have been shipped worldwide. Retail price for Pleo is $349, which means 1,9 million dollars total sales.

A visit at the PleoWorld Community Forum, where Pleo owners can register and download software updates shows that 17016 users have signed in so far. A search by user name results in 15332 members. 6315 members have also registered its Pleo by name.

In June Ugobe has raised another 12.8 million dollars in additional venture capital for the purpose of extending the Ugobe robot line. Taiwanese manufacture Hyield Venture Capital Company, a division of FoxConn Technology led this recent round of funding that included the Frontier Management Group in Shanghai, China, and Maxima Capital who launched Dell's Asian operations facilities. This brings the total funding raised by Ugobe so far to 24 million dollars.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Robot as car navigator

NEC Corp demonstrated the use of its "PaPeRo" home robot as a human machine interface (HMI) for inputting information, such as the destination and purpose of an outing, into a car navigation system and other devices. The demonstration was performed at AT International 2008 in june at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

The purpose of utilizing PaPeRo as an HMI is to improve user convenience through the use of a home robot equipped with voice recognition and camera functions, instead of using a touch panel or other devices, which are usually used to input information into a car navigation system. For example, when a user in house tells the robot that he is "going to Yokohama on a date," the robot recognizes that person's voice and uploads the information to the server via wireless LAN, etc. The server performs an arithmetical operation on the uploaded information in consideration of the dialogue history between the robot and the user, the knowledge information inputted to the robot, the season, the time, etc. Then, information on the best route for the user to go to Yokohama on a date is calculated, and the result is sent to the user's car navigation system, etc and displayed on the screen. Therefore, the user only has to get in the car and talk to the robot to reach his destination by the best route.

Toyota Mobility Robot

Toyota's "Mobility Robot", TMR, was developed with main focus on supporting short-range personal transportation. TMR can stably negotiate steps and slopes and is equipped with an autonomous transportation function for indoor use and with a tracking function so that the robot can follow the user. TMR has a traveling range of 20 km on a one hour charge, can reach a top speed of 6 km/hr, and can climb slopes of up to ten degrees. Weight 150 kg, 100 cm tall when stopped for boarding or alighting and 110 cm tall when in motion. Toyota plans to conduct practical application testing at relevant Toyota facilities beginning in the latter half of 2008.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fuel Filling Robots

Since the early 1990-ies automated fuelling a car has been a robotics application idea such as Swedish Autofill, Israelian FuelOmat, French OSCAR MK5, or German Robin. As the first company in the world, Trans Robotics showed a functional and operating unit for automatic refuelling for cars at a gas station in Stockholm, Sweden already in 1990.

Swedish Fuelmatics AB has now developed a new automatic refuelling system based on an exclusive world wide licence to a series of patents for automatic refuelling originating from Fuelmatic´s predecessor Autofill and Trans Robotics. Fuelmatics automativ Refueling System, ARS, is a refueling concept that allows the driver to remain in the car during the entire refueling process, thus providing a "Drive-Through fill up". The ARS has opened up for new and more efficient payment solutions based on cellphones as virtual terminal and thus can replace the customer terminal which is common at "Pay at the Pump" sites.

In the Netherlands The TankPitstop has recently opened the first automated fuel robot in the world to actually work in practice. The TankPitstop is an automated fuel robot which allows motorists to refuel and pay without actually doing anything themselves. The innovative robotic technology will make refuelling much easier. The system reduces the burden on the environment, enhances safety and, by fully automating the refuelling process, makes refuelling quicker and more comfortable.

The €75,000 car-fueling robot works by registering the car on arrival at the filling station, and matching it to a database of fuel cap designs and fuel types. A robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors extends from a regular gas pump, opens the car's flap, unscrews the gas tank cap, picks up the fuel nozzle, and directs it toward the tank opening, much as a human arm would, and as efficiently.

N. van Staveren BV and Rotec Engineering are the first companies in the world to have perfected this refuelling technology and to make it actually work in practice. After being extensively piloted on a wide variety of different cars, the TankPitstop will be put into operation at various petrol stations in the Netherlands in the second quarter of 2008.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Climbing and creeping robots

MIT-spinoff company Boston Dynamics has developed a range of legged robots that can run in rough and vertical terrain.

RiSE is a small six-feet robot that climbs vertical terrain such as walls, trees and fences. It's feet have claws, micro-claws or sticky material, depending on the climbing surface. RiSE changes posture to conform to the curvature of the climbing surface and a fixed tail helps RiSE balance on steep ascents. RiSE is about 0.25 m long, weighs 2 kg, and travels 0.3 m/s.

RHex is a man-portable robot with extraordinary rough terrain mobility. RHex climbs over rock fields, mud, sand, vegetation, railroad tracks, telephone poles and up steep slopes and stairways. RHex has a sealed body, making it fully operational in wet weather, in muddy and swampy conditions, and it can swim on the surface or dive underwater.

LittleDog is a quadruped robot for research on learning locomotion and BigDog is the most advanced quadruped robot on earth. It walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog's legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter long, 0.7 meters tall and 75 kg weight.

New exoskeleton for wheelchair users

Wheelchair markets are expected to grow as the baby boomers age and will need more technical support for continued mobility through disability. Rehabilitation becomes more prevalent and baby boomers will be willing to pay directly for mobility and comfort as they do for homes and cars now. This trend will assure market growth worldwide and opens market opportunities for new technical solutions such as exoskeletons and robot suits.

Israelian Argo Medical Technologies Ltd is one of the first companies in the world to offers a exoskeleton called ReWalk™, the first commercially viable upright walking assistance tool. ReWalk™ is a wearable, motorized quasi robotic suit that enables wheelchair users with lower-limb disabilities to stand, walk, and even climb stairs. For potentially millions of wheelchair users, ReWalk™ delivers a new perspective – on the world, on themselves, and on life.

Japanese company Cyberdyne has recently established a new research and development laboratory and manufacturing center which will allow manufacture of 500 robot suits per year.

3D maps för servicerobot navigation

3D maps have gained substantial interest in the robotics community as such maps provide better support for a wide variety of tasks including navigation, localization,and perception. For example, robots that know about the 3D-structure of the environment can better avoid obstacles, can more reliably localize themselves, and can more robustly detect objects. 3D-representations provide benefits in all applications in which robots are deployed in real-world scenarios. 3D-models of environments are envisioned to be useful in a wide area of applications, which goes far beyond robotics, like architecture, emergency planning, interaction, and visualization.
At the research center Roobotics, Automation and Process Control at Örebro university, Sweden, a group of researchers has developed a 3D navigation system for autonomous mining trucks. The first field tests have been conducted i Finland in 2007.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Toyota personal scooter

Toyota unveiled its Winglet electric scooter, similar to a Segway and incorporating robotics technology from Sony's Aibo lab. The automaker calls it "a personal transport assistance robot, designed to contribute to society by helping people enjoy a safe and fully mobile life. The Winglet is a compact next-generation everyday transport tool that offers advanced ease of use and expands the user's range of mobility.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New edutainment robot from LEGO

LEGO Education, The LEGO Group’s educational division announced a new robot product, WeDo, that redefines classroom robotics, making it possible for primary school students 7 to 11 years of age to build and program their own solutions. Bridging the physical world, represented by LEGO models, and the virtual world, represented by computers and programming software, WeDo provides a hands-on, minds-on learning experience that actively involves young students in their own learning process and promotes children’s creative thinking, teamwork and problem solving skills – skills that are essential in the workplace of the 21st century. The new product will be available in the United States and Brazil beginning January 1, 2009.

The complete LEGO WeDo package includes:

  • 158 brightly colored LEGO elements, including gears, and levers
  • One LEGO USB Hub connects directly to a Mac/PC laptop, desktop, OLPC XO or Intel Classmate computer to allow control of hardware input (tilt and motion sensors) and output (motor), thereby bringing models to life
  • One motor, one motion sensor and one tilt sensor
  • Drag-and-drop icon-based software that provides an intuitive and easy-to-use programming environment suitable for beginners and experienced users alike, developed by a leading provider of engineering hardware and software, National Instruments
  • Activity pack CD-Rom provides up to 24 hours of instruction and includes 12 activities based on four themes: Amazing Mechanisms, Wild Animals, Play Soccer and Adventure Stories. Running alongside programming software, activities are introduced via animations. Teacher notes and glossary are also included.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

iRobot Lawn mower

Robot Stock News reports that iRobot has designed a lawn mowing robot according to a new patent filing. iRobot considers various configurations including an all-electric model and a gasoline-electric hybrid, as well as various shapes ranging from the familiar Roomba-like disc to a pentagon shape to a four-wheeled model to a "tombstone" shape.

That´s good news for consumers who still have to pay a high price for automated garden assistence. Innovation and competition is really needed on the lawn mover robot market dominated by a few manufacturers such as Swedish Electrolux, Italian Ambrogio and Australian Friendly Robotics. When iRobot entered the market for home robotics with its iRoomba vaccum cleaning robot the market lifted up. Lets hope iRobot can repeat its success strategy in the lawn mover segment too.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Walking Assist Device for Elderly

Honda Motor Co has developed a prototype of a walking assist device (WAD) for supporting the elderly and others with weakened leg muscles. The device is designed to be worn with a belt around the hips and thighs. It is equipped with sensors for measuring the hip angle so that optimal assistance will be provided from the motors around the thighs. The device helps lengthen the user’s stride and facilitates walking. WAD is based on the company’s ASIMO humanoid robot technology and available in three sizes. WAD uses brushless DC motors powered by lithium ion batteries that allow up to two hours of walking assistance per charge.

WAD was presented at Barrier Free 2008, International Trade Fair on Barrier Free Equipments & Rehabilitation for the Elderly & the Disabled, in Osaka in April 2008.

Japan Robotics JV for mass market robots

The robotics fight between Japan and South Korea accellerates. In Japan the four robotics companies ZMP Inc, Business Design Laboratory Co, Vstone Co and Tmsuk have formed the “Association for market creation of the future generation robots” to cooperate in research, development and marketing. After a decade of working in isolation, Japanese robot startups now need a broader, more-agressive front to push products to mass market, said Yoichi Takamoto, Tmsuk CEO and chair of the newly formed group.

The Japanese firms are concerned about South Korea ambitious robotics plans to put a robot in every household by 2020. The South Korean government has mobilized companies and scientists to help integrate robots into Korean society. The country plans to build two robot theme parks by 2013 and even drafted a “Robot Ethics Code” last year to prevent robot-human abuse. In February, the National Assembly passed a bill to spur development and marketing of intelligent robots. The law also established investment firms to provide financial support for robotics manufacturers.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Robotics Research Center in Alabama, USA

A state-of-the-art robotics training and education center will be housed at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Alabama. The Center will be a collaboration between the state of Alabama, the two-year college system, AIDT, and robotics industry leaders. Initial plans call for three buildings to be built on a 53 acre site directly across Hwy 31 from Calhoun’s Decatur campus. Phase 1: The Robotic Maintenance Training Center will house an industry training program. Companies like Omoron, Mitsubishi, ABB Robotics, Rockwell, and Fanuc, have already agreed to contribute $40M in equipment for the training center.
Phase 2: The Advanced Technology Research and Development Center will feature a test facility for companies currently in the robotics manufacturing industry.
Phase 3: The Integration and Entrepreneurial Center is expected to be a collaborative consolidation of technology involving higher education and industry.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Robotics Boost for Europe

The European Commission has announced a policy to boost European robotics. The European Union will double its investments between 2007 and 2010 with almost € 400 million to support European robotics research. This ambitious programme aims to forge stronger links between academia and industry, and plans to fund a widespread experimentation by academic researchers and industry.

"There is a clear window of opportunity for automation industries in Europe – in particular robotics – not just to maintain leadership, but to grow further and to move higher up the value chain", said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media at Automatica in Munich this week. "To achieve this, the industry has to intensify its efforts in several areas".

The European Union has today a strong position in industrial robots for automation: about one third of all industrial robots are produced in Europe. The robotics market's growth rate will form an important part of the world economy within the next two decades: the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) estimates the current world market for industrial robots at about € 4 billion and forecasts a 4.2% increase per year until 2010.

Service robots that operate outside the manufacturing domain offer opportunities for new applications and market expansion: according to the IFR, growth in this market is expected to reach between 10% and 15% per year between now and 2010 and the number of professional service robots will grow from 40,000 in 2006 to 75,000 in 2010. Service robots are used in many sectors, e.g. for the distribution of goods, for cleaning vehicles, in agriculture and in medical applications.

Robotics is strategic for Europe's future competitiveness. Manufacturing will only be maintained in higher wage regions such as Europe through automation. Automation also plays a key role in ensuring a sustainable production and minimizing wasteful use of resources.Finally it will contribute to help Europe's ageing society by compensating for a declining labour force.

Robot car-washer,"Robosen21"

Japanese export organization Jetro announced a new robot truck and bus washer called "Robosen21". The robot washer saves cost, space and time of big car-washing by using only 120 liter water in 7 minutes, 0.2 liter gasoline for a 12 meter body truck or bus. The purchase by Japanese leading bus companies and logisticscompanies is rapidly increasing. The price and maintenance costs are almost 1/4~1/5 of gatetypeauto-washer. The price of a high pressure water car washer is lower but must spend more time (1.5 ~2 hours) with 600 liters water and must be done by hands. Only 7x17 meter paved ground, electric-power, water facilities, rail etc is needed. installations are not necessary.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Robot Vision 1999 - Make Love Not War!

All is Full of Love is an elegant, moving description of two Björk robots in love. As they are pieced and wired into existence, they sing to each other and fall in love. The video reaches its harmonious climax as the robots join in embrace while still being detailed by the industrial machines beside them. Each robot was designed by videoartist Chris Cunningham, who first made a name for himself in the early 90's in the art departments of major motion pictures, designing robots and creatures for Clive Barker and David Fincher.

Robotics Conferences around the World 2008


  • ICIA'08 The IEEE International Conference on Information and Automation, ZhangJiaJie, Hunan, China, June 20-23, 2008
  • AIM 2008, IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics. Xi'an, China, July 2-5, 2008
  • ROMANSY'08 The 17th CISM-IFToMM Symposium on Robot Design, Dynamics, and Control, Tokyo, Japan, July 5-9, 2008
  • Animals to Animats: 10th International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior. Osaka 7-9 July
  • ROBOCUP'08 The 12th annual RoboCup International Symposium, Suzhou, China July 15-18, 2008.
  • ICMA 2008, IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation, Takamatsu, Japan, Aug 5-8, 2008
  • MFI 2008, IEEE International Conference on Multisensor Fusion and Integration. Seoul, Republic Of Korea, Aug 20-22, 2008
  • SICE 2008, SICE (Society for Instrumentation and Control Engineering) Annual Conference, Chofu, Japan, Aug 20-22, 2008
  • ARSO '08, IEEE International Conference on Advanced Robotics and Its Social Impacts. Taipei, Taiwan, Aug 23-25
  • ICAL 2008, IEEE International Conference on Automation and Logistics. Qingdao, China, Sep 1-3
  • IEEE-CYBER, IEEE International Conference on Cyber Technology in Automation, Control, and intelligent Systems, Shengyang, China, Sep 16-17
  • DARS 2008, 9th International Symposium on Distributed Autonomous Robotics Systems. Tsukuba, Japan, Nov 17-19
  • ICRT Japan 2008, International Next-Generation Robot Fair, INTEX Osaka, Japan, Nov 26-28
  • SI International 2008, IEEE/SICE International Symposium on System Integration. Nagoya, Japan, Dec 4
  • ROBIO'08, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, Bankok, Thailand, Dec 14-17
  • ICARCV'08 10th International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision, 17- 20 December 2008, Hanoi, Vietnam.


  • EUROBOT'08 The EUROBOT Conference 2008 is dedicated to research and education in robotics, and will take place in Heidelberg between 21-25 May 2008.
  • Dynamic Walking The 4th Dynamic Walking conference will take place in Delft from May 26-29, 2008.
  • RSS'08 The Robotics: Science and Systems Conference in Zurich, Switzerland from June 25-28 2008.
  • IAS-10 The 10th International Conference on Intelligent Autonomous Systems that will be held on July 23-25, 2008, in the Baden-Baden, Germany.
  • RO-MAN 2008, IEEE International Symposium on Robot an Human Interactive Communication, Muenchen, Germany, Aug 1-3, 2008
  • RAAD'08 The Workshop on Robotics in the Alpe-Adria-Danube Region in Ancona on September 15-17, 2008.
  • REM'08 The 9th International Workshop on Research and Education in Mechatronics 2008 at the University of Bergamo, Dalmine, Italy on September 18-19, 2008.
  • EUCOMES'08 The 2nd European Conference on Mechanism Science, 17- 20 September 2008: Cassino, Italy.
  • PARALLEL'08 The second workshop on Fundamental Issues and Future Research Directions for Parallel Mechanisms and Manipulators, Montpellier, France September 21-22, 2008.
  • IROS'08 The 2008 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent RObots and Systems (IROS 2008) will be held at the Acropolis Convention Center, Nice, France, from September 22 to 26, 2008.
  • Nordic Conference on Robotics 2008. Stockholm, Sweden, from October 22-23, 2008.
  • ICRA'08 The IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, in Pasadena, California, on May 19-23, 2008
  • RoboGames 2008, 5th Annual internatioinal RoboGames, San Francisco, USA, June 12-15, 2008
  • ARCS'08 The International Conference on Automation, Robotics and Control Systems (ARCS-08) Orlando, FL, USA, on July 7-10, 2008.
  • PERMIS'08 The Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems (PerMIS'08) Workshop, in Washington DC, U.S.A., August 19-21, 2008.
  • IEEE-CASE 2008, 4th IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering. Washington, DC, USA, Aug 23-26, 2008
  • BioRob 2008, International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, FireSky Resort, Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ, USA, Oct 19-22
  • TePRA 2008, IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Practical Robot Applications.Woburn, MA, USA, Nov 10-12
  • ROBODEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE AND EXPOSITION 2008, Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, November 18-19, 2008

Roadmapping for Robotics

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Aibo meets Pleo

On May 23, 2008 robodog Aibo met baby dinosaur Pleo for the first time. The Japanese-American Robotics Meeting took place at Infonaut Robot Lab conducted by Wolfgang Heller, who is experimenting with intelligent machines to find out what works today, peoples reactions and future demands.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Robot World 2009+

USA: Robot World US$ 3,4 million private investment

The winner in the global robotics competition will be those countries with the best robotics researchers and engineers. The great challenge is to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, math and technology.

In the USA the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh has recently announced plans to open a robotics exhibition next spring called "Roboworld". The $3,4 million exhibition will permanently occupy a 6,000 square-foot exhibit area on the second floor of the Science Center and will feature more than 30 hands-on, interactive exhibit stations in three thematic areas focusing on robotic sensing, thinking and acting. And it will include members of the Carnegie Mellon University Robot Hall of Fame. The exhibition, which also will pay homage to portrayals of robots in popular culture, will capitalize on the work of area universities and businesses that have developed an international reputation in robotics.

Roboworld is made possible in part by $1 million leadership gifts from Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. Bozzone and from The Grable Foundation. More than $2.5 million has been raised toward the construction of roboworld, with approximately $1 million still needed to complete the exhibition.

South Korea: Robot Parks US$1.6 billion public investment

In The South Korean government has plans to build two US$1.6 billion Robot Parks close to the capital Seoul by 2013. The parks will be attached to the port of Incheon and another at Masan, and will showcase “an array of robotic marvels allowing visitors to interact with tomorrow’s machines.” It will also showcase the government’s “Robot Ethics Code”, aimed at “preventing robot abuse by humans”.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Robot Party Will Win The Next Election

Futurist Wolfgang Heller and this robot team

He has analyzed the working life of Swedish men or women and came to the conclusion that if someone lives 80 years and works 40 years full time, he or she has worked about 70.000 hours, which is about 10 percent of the total of 700.800 lifetime hours. Most people work less because of illness, child care, studies, holydays, unemployment etc. In Europe the average lifetime worker will use 55.000 hours of his life for paid and taxed work. In the long run we move to zero.

Work place studies show that office workers only use 4 hours for productive work the rest is socializing and waste. Not worried yet? It will get worse when large groups of craftsman, teachers, nurses and workers will retire in the next 5-10 years. In 2004 there lived 670 000 men and 884 000 women older than 64 years in Sweden. In 2010 there will be about 770 000 men and 950 000 women in this age group.

Who will do their jobs in industry, farms, school, hospitals etc? Who will take care for them? The Swedish government hopes some pensioners will work longer and that immigrants will take over most vacancies. But Wolfgang Heller is doubtful if this will work in the long run. Insourcing qualified workforce from Africa or Asia is no good solution because it increases misery in this parts of the world.

When people in developed countries live 80, 90, 100 years but only work 5-10 percent of their lifetime a radical solution is needed to finance the 90-95 percent high standard living. An alternative is to increase work time and to decrease standard of living. But "More Work for Less Money" is not a message people will support in an election. Instead they will continue to vote for "More Money, Less Work" and that is what the Robot Party is promising. Robots can take over boring, heavy and dangerous jobs first. They can do the jobs for one, two, ten people, as they already do in manufacturing. Later they will serve at home, in hospitals and care centers. They can work underground, in deep sea, in the air and in space. They will assist, train, entertain and support mankind until it´s time to take over more challenging, creative and funny jobs such as research, arts and soccer playing. In 2050 they will play against the human world soccer champion team and the goal is to win. Until that day they may daydream when painting Wolfgang Heller´s wall.

"When I´m grown up, I will be a soccer champion."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nanny Robot

Newsletter "Japan Today" published a picture with children looking at a “babysitter” robot, developed by Tmsuk, at an Aeon shopping mall in Fukuoka. The newsletter reports that the robot can watch kids while parents go shopping. Children wear special badges with codes which the robot can read. The robot can then identify the children by their names and ages and chat with them using a limited vocabulary.

Some webreaders comment the news and are worried about "the risk of dehumanization", childrens curiousity to break the robot i pieces, what will happen in case of fire, also the partents judgement to use robots as guardians is critized. One reader writes: "Can the robot comfort a child who misses mummy? Can the robot ensure the safety of the children while they are playing? Can the robot stop a child from running out of the play area? Can the robot sense an emergency? Put band-aids on fingers?"

Public robot experiments with children engage people and often result in a list of pro and cons of robot use in society. Critics often define threats and what is missing to make a product och service more acceptable. For the curious inventor they are an important source to learn more about the consumers demands to get the innovation right. What the news doesn´t tell is what the children think about the new interactive nanny robot. Equiped with a tv-screen showing entertaining robot videos may "paralize" the kids for hours. This works fine in malls all over the world. Go on shopping, partents!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Talking hospital robots in Norway

S:t Olavs hospital in Trondheim, Norway has hired seven talking robots for transportation of containers wiithin the hospital building. The autonomously moving robots ask people to move when blocking their way.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Motoman takes the lead with 2 hands

Yaskawa Motoman SDA-10

In an interview with John P. Desmond of Online Newsletter Robotic Trends Craig Jennings CEO of Motoman, one of the worlds´s leading industrial robots manufacturer with nearly 200.000 robots worldwide, explained the innovative idea with a two hand industrial robot.

Motorman is targeting a new market for manual labor-intensive operations. Human tasks such as handling, manipulation and assembling can now be automated with two hand robots. The price for a dual-arm 15 axes, 20 kg payload robot is about $110.000. That price makes it very competitive with the total cost of labor i China according to Jennings. The advantages with robots are also no risk of intellectual property theft, having full flexibility to meet varying production needs, being very responsive to production changes. New applications for two hand robots are drug discovery robotics, clinical lab robotics, alternative energy production, such as solar reflector panels, humanoid robotics, aerospace.

If Jennings is right a new wave of industrial entrepreneurship and robocraft could hit local markets and revitalize local production all over the world from Kiruna to Cape Town. With one two hand intelligent robot in every workshop local production may become competitive again as an alternative to centralized mass production in low labor cost countries with all its negative consequences for humans, nature and climat.

Why not develop a tree, four, five hand robot that can do thing we never dreamed about. There is room for smarter robots in the future, be sure! Multi hand robot - a markets signal worth watching!

Read: Motoman Expands Into Humanoid Robotics: A Conversation with Craig Jennings Industrial Automation Robotics Trends

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who will win the game?

Robot intelligence vs. dog intelligence is the latest fight between technology and nature. Who will win the game?

Big robotic dog

This prototype of a 4-legged robot that can navigate rugged, complex and slippery terrain was developed by Boston Dynamics with help from Foster Miller, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Harvard University Concord Field Station. Development is funded by the DARPA Defense Sciences Office.
BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter/40” long, 0.7 meters/ 28” tall and 75 kg/ 165 pounds weight. The robot is powered by a gasoline engine driving a hydraulic actuation system; its legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next just as animals and humans do.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dextre the two armed space robot

Dextre is the official name of the Special Purpose dexterous Manipulator (SPDM is said to be the most sophisticated robot ever sent into space. Unlike the rest of the crew, Dextre is making a one-way trip. The robot will become a permanent resident of the International Space Station, where it will assist or replace human astronauts on spacewalks to maintain the space station. Dextre has a sense of touch is capable of working on nearly 140 different parts of the station.

The robot can be teleoperated by the station's crew or by Earth-based controllers.that will be an essential tool for repairing and maintaining the International Space Station. It is designed to remove and replace smaller components on the Station exterior, where precise handling is required.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Korean robots will build skyscapers by 2010

By 2010, the Korean Construction and Transportation Ministry hopes to have an almost completely automated construction process in place for skyscaper projects that could cut labor costs by up to a third, project timelines by 15 percent, and reduce the number of construction-related injuries on these typically dangerous projects. This will boost overall productivity by 25 percent. The Ministry plans to inject $17 million (W16 billion) 2008-2011 to put these robotic builders to work.

Korea has developed the core technology for building high-rises without human workers and is going ahead with the process of applying the technology to nuts-and-bolts building projects. It will create a construction process almost totally automated, taking advantage of 12 high-tech patents including so-called "intelligent" cranes and the world's first bolt-tightening robots.
Industry insiders also expect this breakthrough to lower the number of accidents at job sites, address the labor shortage stemming from an aging society, and step up Korea's competitiveness in building super-sized structures.

Swedish Construction Robot lifts 14 tons

Swedish construction service group Skanska has developed a new construction robot for housing construction. Constructing a house on the ground independed of weather conditons and without scaffold and cranes is the innovative idea Skanska has tested in a full scale trial with its new construction robot that can lift 12 tons with millimeter precision. The robot assembles building elements and lifts heavy parts upp from the gound to next level. The advantages with this method are less time of construction, lower costs, easier planning and safer working environment. Video (in Swedish only).

Robot dogs can substitute live pets

Wolfgang Heller with his robot dog Aibo

A study by Saint Louis University found that a lovable pooch named Sparky and a robotic dog, AIBO, were about equally effective at relieving the loneliness of nursing home residents and fostering attachments. If humans can feel an emotional bond with robots, even fairly simple ones, some day they could not just be our assistants, but also our companions.

Friday, March 07, 2008

iCub robot learns baby talk

iCub will be the first robot in the world which will learn, think and talk like a human with help of specialists who research how parents teach children to speak. Over the next four years robotics experts in the European ITALK project will work with language development. The experiments with the iCub robot will include activities such as inserting objects of various shapes into the corresponding holes in a box, serialising nested cups and stacking wooden blocks.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Japanese Robot Show 2008

The Kennedy Center in Washington hosted in February a Japanese robot show including Honda's ASIMO and the Toyota Partner Robot playing the trumpet. Other robots on display included the humanlike Actroid DER2, Paro, a stuffed seal used for therapeutic purposes, Wakamaru, the Mitsubishi robot, and the robo-dog Aibo.

The show demonstrates Japanese robotics visions and engineering excellence but also lack of market successes. Sony´s Aibo and Mitsubishi´s Wakamaru are no longer aivailable on the market because of marekting and technical problems. Today the household robot market is dominated by US company irobot that has delivered more than 2,5 million vaccum cleaning robts and continues to develop new application such as mobile videobots for domestic and military use.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Robotics Conferences 2008

International Conference on Human Robot Interaction 2008
Amsterdam, The Netherlands Conference: March 12-15th, 2008

EUROS European Robotics Symposium 2008
Prague, Czech Republic Conference: March 26-29th, 2008

Int. Conference on Cognitive Systems (CogSys 2008)
Karlsruhe, Germany Conference: April 2-4th, 2008

ICRA '08 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Pasadena, California Conference: May 19-23rd, 2008

IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence
Hong Kong Conference: June 1-6th, 2008

2008 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference
Zurich, Switzerland Conference: June 25-28th, 2008

IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics
Xi'an, China Conference: July 2-5th, 2008

Munich, Germany Conference: August 1-3rd, 2008

MFI: 2008 IEEE Int. Conf. on Multisensor Fusion and Integration for Intelligent Systems
Seoul, Korea Conference: August 20-22nd, 2008

IROS 2008 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
Nice, France Conference: September 22-26th, 2008

BioRob 2008 International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics
Scottsdale, AZ, United States Conference: October 19-22nd, 2008

Japanese Android talks english

Actroid DER2 from Japanese robot company Kokoro was recently demonstrated at the Japan! Culture + Hyper Culture event at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The robot talked to visitors and answered questions using voice recognition software AmiVoice of Advanced Media, Inc. The robot uses also pneumatics to create a human-like appearance and the range of gestures and facial expressions.

New Robot League

A robot called Nao from the French company Aldebaran Robotics has been selected by the RoboCup Organisation Committee to replace the Sony Aibo in the Standard Platform League, as of the 2008 edition of the competition.

The new humanoid robot includes voice recognition, vision, speech synthesis, "emotional expressions", a WiFi connections, and will is based on Linux. Nao stands 22 inches high and has 23 degrees of freedom. The exterior shell of the robot was created by Parisian designers Thomas Knoll and Erik Arlen. The robot's shell can be customizable by the user. The robot supports URBI (Universal Real-time Behavior Interface) scripting language.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Infonaut Robotland Library

"By the year 2050, develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world soccer champion team" according to the RoboCup vision. If this will happen, robots will become a very important part of our lifes as partners, friends and may be as our lovers. They will support humans and each other, they will repair, reproduce, play, teach and invent new and better robots. If you want to learn more about robots and our future, take a look at the brand new Infonaut Robotland Library a servce in association with

Wearable Robots for Superhumans

You may have heard about wearable computers, but have you ever heard about wearable robots? If you are paralysed you may have the dream to move again, if you are old and weak you may like to have some support to walk stairs or carry heavy shopping bags. If you have a heavy jobb or move in dangerous environments, you may want to amplify your body with a wearable robot, also called biomechatronic exoskeleton.

In this new book Wearable Robots: Biomechatronic Exoskeletons José L. Pons defines a wearable robot (WR) as a mechatronic system that is designed around the shape and function of the human body, with segments and joints corresponding to those of the person it is externally coupled with. Teleoperation and power amplification were the first applications, but after recent technological advances the range of application fields has widened. Increasing recognition from the scientific community means that this technology is now employed in telemanipulation, man-amplification, neuromotor control research and rehabilitation, and to assist with impaired human motor control.

The book gives a full overview of wearable robotics, providing the reader with a complete understanding of the key applications and technologies suitable for its development. The book will appeal to lecturers, senior undergraduate students, postgraduates and other researchers of medical, electrical and bio engineering who are interested in the area of assistive robotics. Active system developers in this sector of the engineering industry will also find it an informative and welcome resource.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Welfare Robotics in Norway

Foresight "Baby boomers" and Caregivers in Norway start recognizing that "end of life quality" will depend on access to smart technology at home and at caregiving institutions. When a growing shortage of health care staff will hit them over the next 5-10 years the need for household robots will grow. Robots may not only help human carers to lift and move elderly and handicapped people but may also enabling them to live longer and more comfortably in their own homes. Similar ideas have been promoted in recent years especially in Japan and South Korea. The development of Care and Welfare Robots for the Silver Generation is one of the great technological and industrial challenges in the developed countries. Outsourcing of elderly care to an army of welfare robots is not only an economical but also an ethical issue. What will drive the market, who will be in charge and who will pay for services?
PC World - Norway Eyes Robot Caregivers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Japanese robot professor visits Sweden

Today professor Yoshiyuki Sankai from Cybernetics Lab. at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, visited Stockholm to present his company Cyberdyne Inc. for representatives from Swedish Robotdalen and the Assistive Device Central, Hjälpmedelscentralen. Cyberdyne is know for it´s Robot Suit HAL, a cyborg-type robot that can expand and support human physical capabilities. When a person moves, nervous signals are sent from the brain to the muscles via motor neurons, causing movement of the musculoskeletal system. When this happens, HAL detects very weak bioelectric signals on the surface of the skin through sensors attached on the wearer of the robot suit. Based on the characteristics of these registered signals, a processing unit will drive HAL´s actuators to move in accordance with the wearer´s muscle movements, enabling the suit to support the wearer´s daily activities.

Infonaut has reported about HAL the first time from the robotexpo in Aichi 2005 and is focusing on critcal issue related to this kind of assistive, intelligent device that may become very important for rehabilitation and quality of live for people with physical disabilities in the future. Many medical, technical, economical, legal and socal questions have to be adressed before robot suits can be launched at the Europian market, but Sweden has a good chance to become a forerunner.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Toyota Mobility Robot

DN´s motorjournalist Jacued Wallner rapporterar från Tokyo om Toyotas nya Mobility Robot, som är en vidareutveckling av tidigare robotar som i-unit och ireal.

Tanken med enpersonsfordon är att hitta ett miljö- och användarvänligt alternativ för innerstadstransporter. Ta din robot och gå

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Robots Taking Over The Job On Offshore Oil Drilling Platforms

In the future, offshore platforms could be run by robots alone, with human beings staying on land. Att the Norwegian SINTEF test laboratory scientists are looking at the sensors and tools with which the robots will have to be equipped, and how the operators can safely and simply control the robots on the platform without them colliding with the process equipment.