We saw driverless cars crawl across the desert in 2005, then negotiate an urban environment earlier this year, and now BMW built one for the racetrack. This video shows a clip from last Sunday's Top Gear episode where presenter Jeremy Clarkson gets taken for a ride around the track in a BMW 330i that can drive itself. Although Clarkson sits in the driver's seat, the various camera angles make it clear he is not touching the pedals, shifter, or steering wheel. You can tell he wants to hit the brakes as the car approaches turns at speed, braking … Read more
Honda's Asimo may be Crave's reigning top-ranked nonviolent robot, but it now has some new, (un)fierce competition from Toyota.
Three big competitors, actually. Toyota demoed all of them during a press event in Tokyo today. CNET News.com has a photo gallery of the robots here.
The most visually impressive is its smooth, eponymous violin-playing robot. According to The Sun, the robot has 17 joints in its arms and hands alone, powered by some serious servomotor action.
Also on display were the Mobina, a wheelchair-like robot equipped with independent suspension for each wheel, and Robina, a three-fingered &… Read more
Yesterday, Gibson Guitars released its self-tuning Robot Guitar. It'll add about $800 to the price of a new guitar (it's available only on mid-range guitars with street prices over $2,000), and will compete against a self-tuning guitar add-on from TransPerfomance, which runs about $3,000, including installation.
The technology behind self-tuning guitars is far from trivial--a CPU in the guitar neck must continually monitor string tension and adjust the pegs accordingly--and I'm sure the demos are fun to watch, but I think the vast majority of guitarists will get a lot more value out of a … Read more
Carnegie Mellon University will upgrade its 6.5-ton robot mobile, the "Crusher," by adding advanced suspension and hybrid-electric innards as part of a $14.4 million Army grant meant to push the envelope for unmanned ground vehicles.
The project, a result of more than two decades of robotics research by the university's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC), will demonstrate how advanced vehicle and navigation technology can solve transportation challenges like those encountered by supply convoys in Iraq, according to the university (PDF).
In other robot news this week, a dream robot has surfaced.
Don't give me a robotic dishwasher. Give me a robot that loads and unloads the dishwasher.
Unfortunately, this is actually a remote-controlled robot, not an autonomous one. It's made by Anybots, a robotics company in California that has entered "Monty" into an art exhibition.
The Float Center and Gallery in San Francisco, Calif., has openings until December 1 for submissions for its Robots as Art exhibition and show.
Where do all the coolest robots hang out? Japan, of course.
The 2007 International Robot Exhibition sponsored by the Japan Robot Association claims to be the largest robotics trade show in the world. The show, which runs November 28 to December 1, serves as a venue for everything from tiny robot toys and educational tools to giant industrial robots that manufacture cars.
This headless-looking robot is actually fully intact. The E-nuvo walk robot from Japan-based ZMP could be thought of as the Japanese version of a Lego Mindstorms robot. Only this line of learning robots, which is offered in basic, … Read more
What do you get when you combine a guitar loaded with robotic technology with one of the most talented musicians of this day and age? Hopefully, one hell of a show.
Guitarist/musician/former choir boy Martin Luther will be showcasing Gibson's self-tuning Robot Guitar at a free show in San Rafael, Calif.
Luther, who recorded the critically acclaimed album Rebel Soul Music in 2004 and recently toured with The Roots, will play the Bananas At Large instrument store on Monday, December 3.
Following the show, which starts at 12:30 p.m., there will be a public question-and-answer … Read more
When the iRobot Scooba first came out a couple years ago, I remember thinking, "Dang, that's just the kind of floor-sweeping/vacuuming/mopping gizmo we could use here at Camp Cheapskate" (which tends to be a messy place). But then I saw the $400 price tag and grudgingly reached for my trusty old broom.
Well, proof positive that good things come to those who wait, Woot has the Scooba for just $99, plus a very fair $5 for shipping. However, as with all Woot.com deals, it's today (Black Friday) only, and when they're gone, … Read more
Over at Boing Boing this morning, I see that uber-blogger/novelist/speaker/electronic freedom fighter Cory Doctorow is planning on speaking at the Roboexotica symposium that gets under way in Vienna, Austria, tomorrow.
I hadn't heard of Roboexotica myself until I was in Austin, Texas, last month covering the Maker Faire there. At dinner one night with some of the Maker Faire folks, I Make Things video blogger Bre Petis started telling me about the event. And as often happens when smart people tell me about amazing things, my inner geek got very excited.
If you're not familiar … Read more
After years of development, a new class of weapon that uses computer-controlled electronic ignition instead of primers to fire projectiles may be finally taking its much coveted place in the U.S. military inventory.
Brisbane, Australia-based Metal Storm has delivered a four-barrel weapon to the Naval Surface Warfare Center for testing that uses a small electrical current instead a conventional firing pin to deliver stacked rounds at an astounding rate.
How astounding? Try 1 million rounds per minute. That's the rate, by the way, not the volume; still, there's no way you want to be anywhere near the … Read more