Apple has seeded the latest developer build of Mac OS X 10.6.4 to developers. The build, version 10F54, is reported to have no known issues.… Read more
For years, one of the dreams of robot enthusiasts and researchers has been a single robot capable of performing a wide variety of tasks. But while single-purpose robots are everywhere, the general-purpose vision has remained pretty much a fantasy.
Now, however, groups of roboticists at 11 institutions around the world will get a chance to take part in a beta project (see video below) that could change that dynamic forever. On Tuesday, Willow Garage, a Menlo Park, Calif., robotics firm, said that in June it will offer each of the 11 teams a two-year loan of a Personal Robot 2 (PR2), a sophisticated machine that is fully programmable and that has two arms, a "rich sensor suite," a mobile base, and 16 CPU cores. Also included is the free, open-source Robot Operating System (ROS) framework that controls the PR2 and that comes with software libraries for perception, navigation, and manipulation.… Read more
Last year, Indaba Music became the first company to offer a full-fledged digital-audio workstation in the cloud. This is a pretty remarkable piece of programming: digital-audio workstations like ProTools and Cubase are the tools of the trade for professional recording, and free equivalents like Audacity and Apple's Garage Band offer beginners a simple way to get acquainted with the basic ideas of multitrack recording. But all of these programs run locally and rely on local computing resources, including storage.
Indaba takes the whole concept and moves it online, letting you record and manipulate files from a Java application in … Read more
I love checking out car restorations and seeing what some people are doing to their old-school rides. Well it doesn't get much more old school than this: a 1937 BMW 328 Roadster, and in Wednesday's blog post we got to see and hear about the work that was being done by Black Horse Garage to improve the body shell. In today's clip we join up with the Black Horse gang to see what work they are doing to the engine, and it should be quite interesting.
This video begins with a Black Horse Garage tech checking out … Read more
In yesterday's post we learned that part of the historic significance of the legendary 1937 BMW 328 Roadster was that the car's engineers (who had previously worked on post WWI airplane technology) had designed the would-be touring vehicle with unforeseen lightweight chassis that reportedly weighed roughly 800 kilograms. This statistic, which allowed for maximum performance on less petrol, helped the 328 become one of the hottest race vehicles of its time period.
And for today's video clip, I found a very recent clip (from just two days ago!) of what the 328 Roadster's body shell looks … Read more
Last week, the folks at Fusion Garage sent me a JooJoo. The device, formerly known in tech circles as the Crunchpad, is a touch-screen tablet with an HD-capable, 12.1-inch screen and a home-brewed Web browser compatible with Adobe Flash. An ambitious product from a start-up company, the JooJoo is the David to Apple's iPad Goliath.
Unfortunately, after only a few days out of the box, my JooJoo died. A trouble-shooting call with Fusion Garage CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan Wednesday confirmed that my JooJoo was beyond a phone-assisted fix and a replacement would be shipped out. Given a choice between an immediate replacement or a two-week wait for a unit running updated software, I opted for the latter.
Selfishly, as a reviewer, I take no pleasure in reviewing products twice. If a device isn't ready for prime time, I'm not going to revise my entire review every time a firmware update comes out.
For the JooJoo's sake, let's hope the upcoming software update is truly substantial. In the 24 hours I had with the JooJoo before it went belly-up, the experience left plenty to be desired. Let's just say that Engadget's assessment had me nodding sympathetically. Managing and closing Web pages is a glitchy experience, the unique two-finger scrolling often had me selecting page links accidentally, and the product's flagship feature--Flash support--offered spotty performance.
Fortunately, it seems reasonable to expect that these issues can be ironed out with a software update.… Read more
If you hate folding laundry, you might like what you see in a recent video from researchers at the University of California at Berkeley. They programmed a robot to fold towels.
The researchers used Willow Garage's PR2, a general-purpose humanoid robot with two seven-axis arms and a wheeled base. In an ICRA 2010 paper, they present a cloth-grasping algorithm for getting the robot to pick up and fold towels it hadn't previously analyzed.
Fitted with four stereo cameras, PR2 was able to successfully figure out, grasp, and fold 50 single towels, as well as a pile of five … Read more
Though the shipping date for JooJoo, the underdog tablet, was recently pushed back to March 25, manufacturer Fusion Garage isn't letting that time go to waste. It's overhauled the JooJoo's interface, expanded local video playback, and given its backplate a makeover.
Engadget has shots of the tablet's new look, the most striking change being that of the home screen, which now sports a customizable wallpaper with nice, shiny icons. Here's what it looked like when we played with it in December:
The updates aren't only aesthetic, though. Fusion Garage has streamlined and updated navigation … Read more
The JooJoo Internet tablet, nee CrunchPad, has been delayed due to a manufacturing issue, Fusion Garage said Friday. The $499 touch-screen device was supposed to be delivered to consumers at the end of this month. But due to an issue that "centers on fine tuning the touch sensitivity of the capacitive screen," according to the manufacturer, it's now expected to be sent March 25.
Preorder customers will get a free JooJoo accessory to compensate for the delay, Fusion Garage added.
If you're tired of commuting to the office and telecommuting won't cut it, the Texas Robot lets you scoot around work embodied in a robot platform while chatting with your co-workers.
The vid below shows how a Willow Garage employee living in Indiana moves around his office in Silicon Valley in a robot body of sorts.