Japanese demon-spawn Telenoid, the nightmarish fetus-like telepresence robot, has had a little half-baked runt of its own. As we reported at a January preview, Elfoid is a humanoid-shaped cell phone that tries to look cute. And lives in your pocket.
Osaka University roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, never a stranger to controversy with his lifelike robotclones, outdid himself again with his Eraserhead-like baby.
A few details of the android (not Android) phone were released at a press conference today in Tokyo. Elfoid is covered with creamy polyurethane foam and is about 8 inches long. The idea is that it works as … Read more
The inventors of the digital camera, the industrial robot, public-key cryptography, and the barcode are just some of those being inducted into this year's National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Today, the National Inventors Hall of Fame announced its latest selections of the people responsible for some of the key technologies that we use and rely on today.
In 1975, a Kodak engineer named Steve Sasson built a device that was able to capture an image, convert it to an electronic signal, and then digitize and store that image, leading to the world's first digital camera, according to the … Read more
Reading about Lenovo's eye-popping gaze-controlled laptop being shown at the CeBit tech fair this week, we were excited to see a demo of Guger Technologies' Indendix brain speller machine.
As we mentioned last year, Intendix is an electroencephalography (EEG) device that lets users type with their minds. Guger calls it the world's first commercial brain-machine interface for personal use. It's designed for disabled or paralyzed people.
The system consists of an electrode cap, a flashing display of letters, a compact brain wave amplifier, and a Windows-based program. By focusing on each letter, users can generate brain waves that the device can recognize. Guger says most patients can type 5-10 characters per minute after training.
The company showed off Intendix at Cebit in Hannover, Germany, and IDG recorded a demo. Recent improvements include shorter setup time and shorter training. But when first-time user Martyn Williams tried it out, the results were a bit of a reality check. … Read more
It seems you can do almost anything with robots and Kinect--perhaps even save lives. Students at the U.K.'s University of Warwick are using the motion controller on a robot that's designed to help find victims in quake-hit buildings.
When we first heard about Lenovo's new eye-controlled laptop, we worried that we'd have to stop winking at our monitors every time Justin Bieber popped up in our browser--or risk a seriously messy desktop. Fortunately, the eye-tracking technology is reportedly highly accurate and probably wouldn't be overly sensitive to our odd little tics.
The functional laptop prototype, being demonstrated this week at the CeBit tech fair in Hannover, Germany, lets you point, select, and scroll with your eyes alone. With a stare, for example, you can make a cursor appear, zoom in on pictures or maps, or switch between open windows and browse e-mails and documents. To increase battery life, the computer can auto-dim and brighten the screen when it recognizes your peepers. Also, as demonstrated at CeBit, gamers can glance to pull off actions like burning up incoming asteroids.
The laptop tracks eye movements by shining infrared lights into the user's eyes; hidden cameras then detect the glint in the retinas. The system needs to be adjusted to fit each individual user and works for those with or without eyeglasses. … Read more
The nightmare of robot babies continues apace in Japan, a rapidly aging society where human babies are going out of style. Babyloid is the latest cyber-tot to spring from the minds of engineers with little apparent regard for how scary their progeny are.
Creator Masayoshi Kano of Nagoya's Chukyo University and Ifbot fame has been showing off Babyloid, developed two years ago, in presentations sponsored by the local government. He recently explained the robot in a talk at the Artificial Intelligence Research Promotion Foundation.
Inspired by a baby beluga whale, Babyloid is designed to be a therapeutic robot for depressed seniors, similar to Takanori Shibata's robot seal Paro. Studies have suggested that caring for dolls can improve the lives of adults suffering from dementia.
Kano's baby is 17 inches long and weighs about 4.8 pounds. It can only move its arms, head, mouth, and eyelids and make little robot baby sounds. LEDs on its face can mimic emotions such as sadness. It has microphones, and optical and pyroelectric sensors to detect people. … Read more
The word's first bipedal robot marathon wrapped up in Osaka, Japan, over the weekend with a 15-inch droid taking home the prize after a near photo finish.
Team Vstone's Robovie-PC won the Robomarafull race in 54 hours, 57 minutes, and 50 seconds, with Robot Center Team's Robovie-PC Lite nipping at his heels and crossing the finish line just a second behind.
The other three robo-runners, including two from Osaka Institute of Technology, had dropped out of the 26.2-mile endurance contest, which was organized by robot maker Vstone and the Osaka government.
Winner Robovie-PC is a high-end kit robot with 20 moving joints and weighing about 5 pounds. It ran the race autonomously by following colored tape on the track.
Powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 microprocessor, it has a head camera and urethane sponge foam on its exterior to protect it from falls. … Read more
Don't believe in Skynet? Well, the U.S. military has reportedly commissioned the production of bipedal soldiers and quadruped robots that can outrun human beings.
Boston Dynamics, known for its BigDog canine bot, is working to develop a humanoid robot called Atlas and an animal-like running robot called Cheetah. The robo-cat is due to arrive in 20 months.
The company's efforts are part of multimillion-dollar contracts with DARPA over a four-year period, according to a Boston Herald report.
Initially, Cheetah is supposed to achieve speeds of up to 30 mph. Presumably it will be a lot stealthier than the noisy BigDog, seen in the vid below. No word yet on whether it will fold into a cassette tape like the old-school Decepticon Ravage of Transformers fame.
"There's no fundamental reason why it can't go as fast as the animals (60 to 70 mph), but it will take a while to get there," Boston Dynamics President Marc Raibert was quoted as saying in Boston Herald report. … Read more
Somehow, freaky sci-fi movies don't seem to be favored by Oscar voters.
However, I think I may have found some subject matter that Peter Guber, the great Golden State Warriors owner and producer of "The Kids Are Alright," might want to get a budget behind.
Apparently, the United States already knows quite a lot about UFO technology. Apparently, there are secret "black ops" installations somewhere in--oh, I'm guessing Arizona--where new forms of energy have been created using technology that has been gleaned from those up there, rather than us down here.
HOUSTON--The shuttle Discovery glided to a picture-perfect docking with the International Space Station on Saturday, the veteran space plane's 13th and final linkup with the orbiting outpost.
With commander Steven Lindsey manually flying Discovery from the aft flight deck, the shuttle's payload bay docking system engaged its counterpart on the front end of the station's Harmony module at 1:14 p.m. CST.
"Station and Houston, Discovery has capture confirmed," an astronaut radioed.
The historic linkup marked the first time in the station's 12-year history that spacecraft from the United States, Russia, the European … Read more