Archive for January 24th, 2007

i-SOBOT: World’s Smallest Two-Legged Robot

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
isobot

What’s small enough to jam into a lunchbox? Tomy’s upcoming i-SOBOT is. Measuring 6.5 inches high and weighing 12.3 ounces, i-SOBOT is dubbed the world’s smallest two-legged walking robot. According to Reuter’s report, it can “play drums, dance along with music, do press-ups and pick itself up when it falls.” Tomy projects that they will sell 50,000 units in Japan and 250,000 overseas, selling at a price of $260.
A few more details about the Takara/Tomy i-Sobot have surfaced:

  • It will be sold completely pre-assembled, not as a kit.
  • No PC is required for setup
  • Like the robot, the remote control is also very small – tiny in an adult’s hands
  • The remote includes an LCD display
  • The robot includes a gyro for balance
  • The robots hands are designed to passively close on an object
  • There are five operation ‘modes’: direct control mode using the remote; a 20 block program mode; special action mode with actions like playing an air drum; voice control mode with some speech recognition capability; and dance mode where the robot moves in response to the sounds it picks up.
  • Initial sales will be in Japan via toy specialty stores, hobby goods retailers, and internet sales. The Japan sales target is 50,000 units.
  • Overseas sales are under consideration with a worldwide sales target of 300,000 units.
  • The camera for the CAMVersion (shipping in October) is 300,000 pixel.

via Robots-Dreams, GearLog, Robot Watch

UPDATE: Read more on the i-Sobot Product Page

USB Airsoft Turret 1.0

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
USB Airsoft Turret 1.0

You have heard us blog about the USB missile launchers before excited about the prospect of making them into autonomous robot projects. Now our giddyness has spiked to new levels with the appearance the InventGeek‘s USB Airsoft Turret project.

Our issue before was the accuracy and range of the soft foam missiles on these USB toys. Jared and his brilliance solved this problem by removing the weak foam missile launcher and replacing it with an Airsoft pellet gun. NOW this is a project worth building.

Full tutorial here. A big thanks to Jared for posting his project on the web.

Story via Coding4Fun 

Check out Jared’s 4 turret version here

Battery Breakthrough?

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
nano_ultracapacitor
ultracapacitor

If you are into robots, chances are you care about battery technology since it’s a big deal for us robot geeks. Power supply is one of the Achilles heels robotics is trying to overcome. We certainly won’t do it with today’s batteries. Today’s batteries are:

1) Heavy
2) Short Lived
3) Timely to Charge

These three issues make current batteries pretty inefficient for use in small mobile robotics applications. It does give one a pause of respect for the efficiency of nature in power supply. A sandwich weighing half a pound can power a 180 pound human for half a day! Not too bad.

Needless to say, when news of companies talking about ground breaking changes in electrical power storage our ears perk up. These companies may be thinking about products such as cell phones and cars, but we think robots!

A Texas company says it can make a new ultracapacitor power system to replace the electrochemical batteries in everything from cars to laptops.

A secretive Texas startup developing what some are calling a “game changing” energy-storage technology broke its silence this week. It announced that it has reached two production milestones and is on track to ship systems this year for use in electric vehicles.

EEStor’s ambitious goal, according to patent documents, is to “replace the electrochemical battery” in almost every application, from hybrid-electric and pure-electric vehicles to laptop computers to utility-scale electricity storage.

The company boldly claims that its system, a kind of battery-ultracapacitor hybrid based on barium-titanate powders, will dramatically outperform the best lithium-ion batteries on the market in terms of energy density, price, charge time, and safety. Pound for pound, it will also pack 10 times the punch of lead-acid batteries at half the cost and without the need for toxic materials or chemicals, according to the company.

Read more