Clever stair climbing robot

Stairs are one of the most commonly faced mobility challenges for a robot. This robot’s design eliminates the need for a complex drive train or computer, and instead uses a clever mechanical design to climb stairs. Version three of the robot uses five servos modified for continuous rotation, a Picaxe28, sharp IR sensors, and bump sensors.

[via BotJunkie]

TGIMBOEJ robot edition

robotjunk

Since we last reported about The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronic Junk, several of these boxes have begun circulating in different areas of the world. Team Hack-a-Day launched three themselves. Robots.net decided that there was a need for a specialized box just for those who hack robots, and have launched their own.

[Read more...]

Swarming robot ants

European researchers in the I-SWARM project are hard at work developing small, autonomous robots that can work together and communicate to perform different functions. They successfully built two types of robots: the I-SWARM, and the Jasmine robots. The I-SWARM robots are three millimeters in size, are powered by a solar cell, and move by vibration. The Jasmine robots are the size of two-Euro coins, have small wheels, and are powered by battery. These tiny robots have several advantages over their bulky predecessors, such as high redundancy, greater flexibility, and the ability to manage tough terrain. They could even be used to repair larger robots. They also come with distinct challenges. Because of their minuscule size, programming memory is necessarily limited, and the team had to come up with special algorithms to manage and control the machines. Though they haven’t been able to meet their goal of making a thousand of them, the researchers are hopeful and confident about their abilities to mass produce the robots cheaply.

[via io9]

VIA’s EPIA Pico-ITX based robots

VIA, the Taiwan-based supplier of chipsets and low power processors, showed off its latest creations at the Taipei International Robot Show. The Lynxmotion Johnny 5 kit, based on the robot from the animated film Short Circuit, is powered by the compact VIA EPIA P700 board, and aimed at beginner robotic hobbyists. VIA claimed that its use of the latest board allows for much easier software development. VIA also showcased the Mini-ITX powered Vecna Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (or BEAR), a cuddly-looking robot with potential uses in military and rescue operations.

[via Engadget]

Creepy robot eye follows you and winks in response


Opto-Isolator is an interesting art installation that was on display at the Bitforms Gallery in NYC. This single movement-tracking eye creates a statement about how we view art and is a response to the question “what if art could view us?”. The somewhat creepy display not only follows the person viewing it, but mimics blinks a second later and averts its gaze if eye contact is kept up for too long. Its creators [Golan Levin] and [Greg Baltus] have done a great job mimicking human behavior with such a simple element and the social implications of it are truly fascinating.

If they wanted to, [Levin] and [Baltus] could possibly crank up the spook factor by adding facial recognition and programming it to remember how certain people interact with it, then tailor its behavior to wink at different rates or become more shy or bold, depending on the personality of the person watching it. Of course, that would require that someone goes back to it more than once…

[via Glass Tumbler]

New Discovery Channel show starring hackers


A new Discovery Channel show titled Prototype This! will debut on October 15, 2008. Hoping to capture the same demographic as Mythbusters‘ audience, the show is about designing and creating robots, gadgets, and other things that nerds will love. Prototype This! is hosted by four wide-ranging experts: [Zoz Brooks], who’s got a PhD in robotics, [Mike North], who also has a PhD, in material sciences, [Terry Sandin], a special effects veteran of the Hollywood film industry, and [Joe Grand], who we’ve covered recently for his Defcon badge work. [Daniel Terdiman]‘s glimpse behind the scenes reveals some interesting projects, from a stair-climbing robot to the creation of a pyro pack. We’ll be sure to set our DVRs to record.

[via Zero Day]

Shih Chieh Huang’s recycled bots


We’re really sorry to have missed GLOW. It was a unique all-night art and music event that took place the evening of July 19, 2008, in Santa Monica, and lasted until dawn. We were most intrigued by [Shih Chieh Huang]‘s haunting robotic sculptures. They were eerily beautiful, and appeared to be alive and “breathing”. He took some unusual materials – plastic bags and bottles, computer fans and circuit boards, among others, and combined them all to give the creatures otherworldly auras. Simultaneously familiar and strange, the sculptures are designed to evoke marine life, yet they’re completely different, in both materials and structure. More coverage and pictures of the event can be found at LAist, NOTCOT, and on Flickr.