It's all the goodies from the Crave blog. Natali Del Conte joins Brian Tong to talk about what they still Crave with the iPhone 3G, Sony's Rolly dancing MP3 player, a BMW concept car made of fabric, and a robot you can make out with!
First machines learn to dominate the sport of emperors (chess). Now they are on the verge of dominating the sport of electricians.
Nuvation, an engineering services company, concocted an air-hockey playing robot that vanquishes nearly all of its opponents, according to former Craver Michael Kanellos. It wins more than 90 percent of its games, according to the company. (Or, to put that it Genghis speak, it fights with the strength of 10 men!)
The robot exists mostly as a way to show off the company's skills. Nuvation effectively specializes in taking other people's hardware and software and developing … Read more
The short list of awesome robot bands has a new addition called The Trons. Straight outta' New Zealand, this four piece, all-robot band fits somewhere between the garage rock of the Zombies and the driving guitar and synth rhythm of early instrumental Stereolab.
Ham, Wiggy, Swamp, and Fifi handle The Tron's rhythm guitar, lead guitar, drums, and keyboard, respectively. Lucky attendants of the Ignition Fringe Festival in Hamilton Central, New Zealand will be able to check out the rest of The Trons' robotic repertoire on June 21. The rest of us will have to content ourselves with domestic robot rock. … Read more
On launch day, the Get Firefox site experienced an outage for at least an hour--just before Mozilla was expected to make the new version of its Web browser available for download. Reporter Stephen Shankland joined me in the podcast studio today to talk about what happened, and whether it'll affect Mozilla's goal to set a new software record.
About a dozen DNA companies have been issued cease-and-desist letters to stop selling their consumer genetic test kits. NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander finds a mysterious white substance in the Martian soil (Is anybody else channeling Jack Skellington after … Read more
iRobot has secured a multimillion-dollar R&D contract for a new type of soft, flexible robot for the military, the company announced Tuesday.
The "ChemBot" project was awarded to iRobot from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Army Research Office.
iRobot did not release any preliminary diagrams or details on what the ChemBot might look like. But some ideas on what a ChemBot might be like can be gleaned from a request for proposals DARPA put out in March 2007. The robot DARPA wants to see must be a soft, flexible, mobile … Read more
A new humanoid robot called Reem-B was unveiled on Wednesday at an event on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emerites.
The Reem-B robot from Pal Technology Robotics is capable of face recognition, speech interaction, biped walking, traversing stairs, and sitting (see video below). It can also recognize and pick up objects, as well as evaluate and map out a room to better navigate it.
Propelled by a servo-actuated two-link tails and flapping pectoral fins, a new breed of robofish programmed to swim in schools may soon be used to track oil spills or wildlife such as whales, according to researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle.
By mimicking a fish's natural propulsion mechanics these "autonomous fin-actuated underwater vehicles" are able to swim in any direction, make tight turns, and even go backwards, researchers say. The university is testing three of the vehicles in an indoor freshwater tank equipped with a four-camera tracking system to supplement data collected by onboard sensors.… Read more
Self-driving cars are veering closer to the roads.
Torc Technologies, which collaborated with Virginia Tech on an autonomous Ford Escape Hybrid that placed third in DARPA's Urban Grand Challenge, started selling a version of its self-driving creation Tuesday.
Called the ByWire XGV, Torc's drive-by-wire converted Ford Escape Hybrid will be available as a research platform for academics and car industry types who are interested in developing new applications in the field of autonomous autos.
While the world may not be ready yet for self-driving cars on the road, someone could have a lot of fun on a closed-course … Read more
iRobot has secured exclusive commercial rights to develop an unmanned sea-faring robot from a group at the University of Washington.
The Bedford, Mass.-based company made the announcement Tuesday at the annual symposium for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).
Specifically, the agreement is to commercialize an AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) called the Seaglider.
The Seaglider was developed by the Applied Physics Laboratory and the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington in conjunction with the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research, which funded the initial project.
iRobot believes the Seaglider has military application … Read more