Matthew James, a 14-year-old boy in the UK, was born with a rare condition – his left arm stops at the wrist and he has no left hand. He had been fitted with a simple electric clamp of sorts that allowed him the freedom to pick up small objects but little else.
Young Matthew is also a big fan of motorsports, and he went to the same school as Mercedes GP head Ross Brawn. That connection was enough to pique Brawn’s interest when Matthew wrote the team a letter asking them to consider gifting him a new i-LIMB Pulse bionic hand from Touch Bionics.
Brawn took a personal interest in the young boy, and he contacted Touch Bionics to work out a deal. In exchange for access to technology services provided by Mercedes GP, Touch Bionics agreed to give Matthew the new hand he so desperately wanted.
Oh, and the F1 team also got to put its logo on Matthew’s new bionic hand. Not bad for a £35,000 investment… Check out video of the i-LIMB hand in action after the break. Read more…
Robots are cute, and this one’s no obligation. It’s apparently made of a trash can, some LEDs, and other electronic components, and also apparently created in three days on a budget just barely exceeding $100. Despite its absolutely adorable appearance, this Android seems hell-bent on destruction, literally beating itself up, and eventually falling on its face.
A few months ago, back when Japan was freshly reeling from that devastating earthquake and tsunami, it became obvious that robots could help survey radiation levels in Fukushima, even if they were powerless to lower them. Now, Tokyo Power Electric Co., the company that operates the damaged nuclear plant, is experimenting with an ad hoc system designed to clean at least some of the radioactive dirt from the reactors. What you see in that clip below is an industrial-grade vacuum cleaner attached to a Warrior, the most heavy-duty of iRobot’s mobile bots. The idea is that workers can control the system from a safe distance, and let the robot handle the dirty work of removing toxic sand and debris. Head past the break to see it in action, combing the floor of the (eerily) empty plant.
Ever wonder if the quadrocopters will eventually got to their sense (in a way or another) and attack us humans? Well, fear not, as it won’t happen anymore. The researchers came to their senses and put the flying machines on a Kinect-controlled leash.
Instead of flitting about autonomously, the four-rotored nightmares are directed by a puppeteer waving his hands. Movement is controlled by the right hand, while raising the left one tells the copter to do a little flip for its master’s amusement, and a commanding clap makes it sit down like a good little pup. Best of all, if you don’t give it any arm-waving instruction it just hovers and waits until you tell it otherwise.
On further consideration, maybe we haven’t been creating our own murderers, but a new man’s best friend — after all, they don’t eat much and can’t chew up your remotes. But who knows, this may be the new age armies.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense is pretty good at its hovering drones, but we’re not entirely convinced that this one will be fit for purpose. The RC reconnaissance scout reminds us of a spherical Iain M. Banks Culture drone, which is neat, except that this one’s more conspicuous, dies after just eight minutes and was constructed not by an intergalactic artificial consciousness, but by a bunch of geeks who went foraging for parts in Akihabara. Nevertheless, it can do 40MPH and is surprisingly agile, as you’ll see in the video — watch out for the kissogram moment.
What’s the point of a robot disguised as a tank or, uh, a clothes dryer? If you really want to infiltrate human society, you need robots that can hide in plain sight. Thankfully for would-be robotic conquerors, Ron Tajima brings us the aptly named CanBot, which hides batteries, an embedded control board, and three RC-servo legs beneath its beer-can exterior. Tajimi controls it with a Wiimote, and in the video above you can see it walking and rolling. His son seems less than impressed, but he probably sees this stuff all the time. We’re mightily excited, and look forward to picking up a six pack. Of robots.
We’ve seen ‘em flying normally, flying through hoops, and also play bouncing balls, but now, the quadrocopters are going to fly in packs, just like wolves. The University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab has yet again taught the robot helicopters to learn from a leader and fly in formation. What’s more, they can even continue with the formation if one loses communication and falls out of the pack, which the researchers note is key to the success of any swarm. Will we be attacked by such helicopters in the future when Skynet managed to get in control?
Do you fancy keeping spiders? How about robotic spiders? I’ve seen people having spiders as pets, and some having robots as toys, but I’ve never seen both combined. Here’s a very cool hobby toy that you can buy, and it’s a robotic spider made by Kondo.
It’s got many legs, although they can’t be used to stab people with eight samurai swords. Dubbed as the KMR-M6, this robot comes equipped with an optional spacing, a camera, grippers and servomotors to add more fun and flexibilities to your research and developments, or your Tom Peeping missions.
The Kondo KMR-M6 spider robot is now available for 76,800 Yen or around $900. Read more…
When someone calls out and tell you to look at a flying bird, you might ignore. But what if that bird that they referred to is a robot bird? Yes ladies and gentlemen, now robotic birds can fly just like real bird, and they don’t just use any propellers, they just flappy wings!
This is the SmartBird, and he’s not the size of Big Bird from Sesame Street. In fact, he’s only 1-pound heavy, and has wingspan of a very huge 6-feet. What’s more, it can also take off and land with no assistance, while you control the route of its flight from the ground using a ZigBee radio.
“This bionic technology-bearer, which is inspired by the herring gull, can start, fly and land autonomously — with no additional drive mechanism. Its wings not only beat up and down, but also twist at specific angles. This is made possible by an active articulated torsional drive unit, which in combination with a complex control system attains an unprecedented level of efficiency in flight operation.”
The picture above shows three pairs of twins, but apparently there are only three real people, and the rest are all Skynet’s spies to understand us humans more, before slaughtering us all. They’re called the Geminoids, lifelike robots created by professors Hiroshi Ishiguro and Henrik Scharfe in their image and that of one other willing assistant, all of whom got together for a little photo op last month. Gosh, is the next person beside me even real?