Another week, another set of robot videos to watch. First we’ve got a new television commercial airing in Japan featuring seven Vstone Tichnos (humanoid robots developed specifically to promote stores and products). They’re modeling a new line of durable school bags from Nitori, but it’s their Vocaloid singing voices which have caused something of a stir among audiences who are wondering if it is really Hatsune Miku’s voice.
Next up we’ve got a video of the Robin-M1, a personal mobility vehicle from Robstep Robotics which can be considered the Chinese version of Toyota’s Winglet. Of course the Winglet itself owes much to the design of the original Segway, but is considerably slimmer. Robonable has a series of articles (all in Japanese) on the Robin-M1, which retails for around $2,000 USD. It can travel at speeds up to 15 kph (9.3 mph) and has a range of 20 km (12 miles).
Other Chinese companies are also riding the Segway train: there’s the shamelessly named Chegway (by Beijing Fucheng Weijing Investment & Yantai Rijiang Electric) and the Windrunner by Uptech Robotics.
If you’ve been paying attention to robotics for the last year or so, then you’ve probably seen a few different robots (including wheeled and gecko-like varieties) taking advantage of tail-like appendages for better balance. The following video shows a new balancing experiment with the MIT Cheetah. From the video description:
This video shows a clay “wrecking ball” striking the MIT Cheetah in two different cases. In the frame on the left the tail is held fixed in place with a stiff proportional control. In the frame on the right the tail is swung immediately following the collision of the “wrecking ball,” thus stopping the movement of the body and temporarily maintaining stability. The experiment demonstrated that swinging a tail-like inertia can transfer momentum away from the body after a disturbance and can help the robot maintain stability long enough to plan appropriate foot placements.
[source: Biomimetics MIT @ YouTube]
And finally we’ve got a video from the NASA press conference about their latest Mars mission. It begins by showing the awesome computer animation of the Curiosity’s landing on Mars, followed by more commentary explaining all the neat technical details. You will then learn more about the mission’s objectives. For much more, the IEEE Automaton blog has some great coverage of the event.
[source: BestOfScience @ YouTube]