OFRO – watch out hooligans!

Meet OFRO – the robot who going to be working hard keeping tabs on potential trouble-makers at the World Cup this Summer. OFRO is a mobile security unit that can patrol several programmed routes in both internal and external environments (OFRO is suitably weather-proofed!).

OFRO has a rotating camera that serves both to record and tranmit images of hooligans back to the central security response system and helps in the decision-making process of navigating around obstacles. The OFRO robot is powered by a 12-hr Lithium-Ion battery that can be recharged in just 4 hours flat. The OFRO can travel up to 7.2 km/hr – fast enough to catch many the beer-soaked trouble-maker!

OFRO was developed by RoboWatch Techologies and is manufactured by DU Hitec. Found via Telecoms Korea.

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Spirit Rover turns 2 tomorrow!

LOS ANGELES — The warranty expired long ago on NASA’s twin robots motoring around Mars. These two golf cart-sized vehicles were only expected to last three months.

In two years, they have traveled a total of seven miles. Not impressed? Try keeping your car running in a climate where the average temperature is 67 below zero and where dust devils can reach 100 mph.

“These rovers are living on borrowed time. We’re so past warranty on them,” says Steven Squyres of Cornell University, the Mars mission’s principal researcher. “You try to push them hard every day because we’re living day-to-day.”

The rover Spirit landed on Mars on Jan. 3, 2004, and Opportunity followed on Jan. 24. Since then, they’ve set all sorts of records and succeeded in the mission’s main assignment: finding geologic evidence that water once flowed on Mars.

Part of the reason for their long survival is pure luck. Their lives were extended several times by dust devils that blew away dust that covered their solar panels, restoring their ability to generate electricity.

Like most Earth-bound vehicles, these identical robots have their own personalities

The overachieving Opportunity dazzled scientists from the start. It eclipsed its twin by making the mission’s first profound discovery — evidence of water at or near the surface eons ago that could have implications for life.

The rock-climbing Spirit went down in the history books by becoming the first robot to scale an extraterrestrial hill. Last summer, it completed a daredevil climb to the summit of Husband Hill — as tall as the Statue of Liberty — despite fears that it might not survive the weather.

The rovers haven’t been all get-up and go — technical hiccups have at times limited their activity, even from the start. At one point, Spirit had a balky front wheel, but engineers overcame the problem by driving it in reverse. Last spring, Opportunity got stuck hub-deep in sand while trying to crest a foot-high dune, and was freed after weeks of effort by the Earth-bound engineers.

The six-wheeled travelers, managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, also are showing signs of aging. In November, a motor on Opportunity’s robotic arm stalled and the arm failed to extend while it was surveying a rock outcrop. The engineers fixed that problem after two weeks.

This mission is the first time any probe has extensively rolled across Mars, whose rocky landscape is a dangerous place for man-made objects to settle and roam.

There have been four previous Mars landings that succeeded. Of those, NASA’s stationary Viking 1 lander operated the longest, from 1976 to 1982. NASA’s Sojourner was the first rover, but it stayed close to its Pathfinder lander.

Spirit and Opportunity parachuted to opposite ends of Mars. Spirit landed in Gusev Crater, a 90-mile-wide depression south of the Martian equator. Opportunity followed three weeks later, touching down on Meridiani Planum on the other side of the planet.

In two years, Spirit has traveled over three miles and beamed back 70,000 images including self-portraits and panoramas of the rust-colored planet’s surface. Opportunity has driven over four miles and transmitted more than 58,000 images.

Three times NASA has extended the rovers’ mission, spending an extra $84 million on top of the $820 million original price tag.

While both rovers have discovered clues of ancient water, they also have found evidence of a violent past that might have prevented some life forms from emerging.

Piecing together a definitive history of Mars is far from over, scientists say, as the rovers head to their next destinations to explore more rocks and minerals. Spirit recently descended Husband Hill and is driving toward a basin that holds geologic promise. Opportunity is rolling to an enormous depression known as Victoria Crater that is thought to hold more clues about the planet’s past.

“Rock layers are the barcode of Mars history,” said John Grotzinger, a science team member from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Every time we encounter new layers, it’s another piece of the puzzle.”

Where Are The Rovers Now?


Source here.

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Third Eye Enlightenment for Robot

Sony's biped humanoid robot QRIO. Picture / Reuters

TOKYO [19 Dec. 2005] – Robots may not be able to do everything humans can, but the latest version of Sony’s humanoid robot has something many people might find useful: a third eye. The Japanese consumer electronics company’s roller-skating robot, QRIO, has now been enlightened with an extra camera eye on its forehead that allows it to see several people at once and focus in on one of them. At an exhibit on intelligent machines in the glitzy shopping district of Ginza, Sony unveiled the new and improved QRIO, which walked jauntily toward the audience, swinging its hips to music.

“Hello everyone,” it said in Japanese. “I am Sony’s QRIO. Let me introduce you to my new camera and improved arms.”

It demonstrated its newfound flexibility by wiggling its fingers and waving its arms in a breakdance move. The toddler-sized QRIO, which stands 58.5 centimeters tall and weighs 7.5 kilograms, then turned toward a group of women, responding to one who was waving to it.

“These new capabilities bring humans and machines closer together,” said Katsumi Muto, general manager of Sony’s Entertainment Robot unit. “We’re aiming for a machine that doesn’t just respond to commands but also reaches out to humans.”

The new QRIO also showed off its ability to identify blocks by size and color, lift them using its lower body and stack one on top of the other with its dexterous fingers.

“I wonder if I can handle this,” QRIO muttered to itself as it carried out the task.

Standing in front of the successfully stacked boxes, QRIO ended the demo with a little victory dance. Sony plans to start shipping samples next March of a camera module version of QRIO’s third eye, which it calls a “chameleon eye.” Muto said Sony had no plans to market QRIO itself but would apply new developments into other products.

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Mars “hopping microbots”


Penelope Boston and Steven Dubowsky have received a grant from NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts to work on tiny hopping robots. An array of the microbots could be deployed on Mars, coordinating with one another like a swarm of insects to search for life below the surface of the planet.

The spheres would store up muscle energy, and then boink themselves off in various directions.

The researchers have calculated that about a thousand of the robotscould be packed into a payload mass the size of one of the current Mars Exploration Rovers.That would give them the flexibility to suffer the loss of a largepercentage of the units and still have a network that could be doingrecon and sensing, imaging, and perhaps even some other sciencefunctions.

A fleet of these little spheres would be sent to some promisinglanding site, exiting from the lander and then making their way over tosome subsurface or other hazardous terrain, where they deploythemselves as a network. They create a cellular communication network,on a node-to-node basis.

Some of the units could be fitted with magnification capability, soone could look at the textures of the materials that they are landingon. Some would also have chemical sensors to sniff and sense thechemical environment.

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Tyco CyberBeast/CyberBall – It’s Cyberish!

Tyco Shellshocker

This new RC monstrosity from Tyco transforms from cyberbeast to cyberball and uses flipping action to move about, and has the ability to drive over obstacles too. We saw one of these recently and it’s bigger than it appears – just about the same size as a bowling ball. It’s also the closest thing to an RC Samus as you can get (other than going cosplay, and that’s just not the same thing.)


  • Radio Controlled vehicle available in two frequencies
  • Fin blades which move at the touch of a button
  • 3 key modes for movement: Defence mode, Explore mode & Attack mode
  • Articulated tail for stability and attack functions
  • Multi terrain functionality for use on mud, gravel, concrete, grass and even snow
  • Glow red eyes which also indicate when power is low
  • Powered by new rechargeable Tyco Pro Flex Pack battery for superior power delivery over a longer period.
  • Includes Tyco Pro Flex Pack battery pack and charger

Tyco Shell Shocker Radio Control 49 MHz NA :: Amazon.co.uk

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Tuning your guitar – with Robot Precision

Robot Guitar Tuner

String Master Guitar Tuner

The String Master Guitar Tuner is unlike any guitar tuner you’ve ever used. Our robotic technology makes our guitar tuner the easiest and most fun to use guitar tuner available. String Master Robotic guitar tuner is the cutting edge in guitar tuner technology. The String Master robotic guitar tuner is simply the most amazing guitar tuner ever invented. All you do is hold String Master on each tuning peg and pluck the string. String Master listens to the sound and its powerful gear motor actually turns the peg for you until that string is tuned to perfect pitch.

String Master uses advanced microprocessor technology to sample the sound several times, eliminating harmonics and overtones that plague other tuners and lead to inaccurate tuning. This makes String Master far superior to other guitar tuners.

String Master is also the only guitar tuner that can re-string your guitar; automatically unwinding the old string and winding the new string with a push of a button.

There is no other guitar tuner like this in the world!

Whether you are a professional musician or just picking up a guitar for the first time, you will find the String Master robotic guitar tuner incredibly easy to use and dead-on accurate.

Price: $49.95

You can order one (or how many you want!) now here.

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Don’t Throw Your Old Hi-Fi Away – Transform it!

Full View


Eighties Hi-Fi Transformer

My 1980s Hi-Fi memories go back to my pops scalding me for touching his beloved Zenith.

Luckily some Japanese are turning my 80s Hi-Fi frown upside down with this bad-ass robot built entirely from stereo components. This bot has got it all: tape decks, reel-to-reel, equalizers, and record players. It even includes the nostalgic smoked glass that was used to conceal components in the 80s, for some damn reason.The reel-to-reels launch rockets.http://toyboxst.inwards.com/rumblizer/pic.php?article_key=544&image_table=images&name=HPIM0960.JPG

“There is also a strange, inexplicable feature that involves shoving little strips of white cardboard into the main component of the toy.”

Today’s new age Gundam doesn’t have anything on the Japanese Hi-Fi robot…


Compoboy: Stereo Component Robot [Product Page]

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