Artist and tinkerer Will Wagenaar proves that one man’s junk is another man’s robot with his photo album featuring dozens of robotic characters built out of old tin cans, forks, and assorted odds and ends (including some rather out-of-place and off-putting modern plastic toy parts). His amusing creations can be seen in all their antique goodness over on his Flickr account, brimming with personality and (of all things) popcorn and cheesies.
Electroma is the story of two robots (Daft Punk) who break from the norm to express their inner individuality in a world populated by robots, with disastrous consequences. This is an experimental film with no dialog whatsoever, running a generous 74 minutes, and some people may feel it drags on a bit in parts. Even fans of Daft Punk may be left scratching their heads since it doesn’t feature their music but, supposedly, it syncs up with their album Human After All ala Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz. If you are not into experimental film you will probably much prefer their animated excursion, Interstella 5555, which I highly recommend.
SONY’S 2nd AIBO was the ERS-210, which had smaller ears and a shorter tail. Aesthetic differences aside, the ERS-210 had name imprinting and voice recognition capabilities which were absent in the ERS-110, allowing users to more naturally interact with it. A “mature” ERS-210 could understand and react to 50 spoken commands. What’s more, it had improved mobility (20 DOF instead of 18), more facial expression LEDs, and additional touch sensors in its chin and back (adding to the one on its head). All of these extras came at a reduced cost, from $2500 for the ERS-110 down to $1500 for the ERS-210, and it was available both on the internet and in retail stores.
Some of the new features included the ability to take photos. Simply telling the ERS-210 to “Take a photo” would cause it to take a snapshot of whatever it was looking at. If you suggested “Let’s play!”, the ERS-220 would attempt to mimic the rise and fall of your voice in a round of copycat. If you said “Let’s dance” it would perform a dance routine accompanied by its own light show and sounds. Expected commands like “sit” and “lie down” were also accounted for.
Fujitsu’s Service Type Robot is the ENON’s predecessor, developed in 2004. It moves on 2 wheels at up to 3kph, allowing it to move over uneven surfaces and slopes, and pivot on the spot for navigating tight spaces. It was designed to autonomously navigate in structured environments such as office buildings and shopping malls using pre-programmed maps, making it an ideal guide robot. It avoids obstacles using 2 of its 8 CMOS cameras as well as 2 ultrasonic sensors and 2 proximity sensors.
One of the Service Type Robot’s main features is its connection to the internet. Besides searching for relevant information and displaying it on its LCD touch screen or an external device, it can also be controlled remotely. This functionality allows it to be used as a mobile security camera. When low on power, it autonomously returns to a contact-less charging station for 24 hour service.
developed by From Software/published by Microsoft/2004
1 player with online play/1 DVD-ROM/XBOX
The formerly awesome 1up crew takes a look at Metal Wolf Chaos, a hilarious mecha action game for the original XBOX that was released only in Japan, but features English voice acting. You play the role of Michael Wilson, President of the United States, taking on a coup d’etat by your nemesis – Vice President Richard Hawk – from the cockpit of the titular giant robot. What more could you want? Language in the following video is NSFW but can’t be missed.
developed & published by Nintendo/2006.11.17
1 Player/1 DVD-ROM/Nintendo Gamecube, Wii
Fans didn’t have to wait long to find out how Nintendo would top The Windwaker, as The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess was announced a year later at E3 2004 to standing ovations and reportedly reduced some fanboys to tears. This was largely due to the trailer’s more realistic Lord of the Rings-inspired look and overall bad-ass Link, sporting some chain-mail under his usual green digs and a fierce glint in his eyes.
Looks like the robotics team at Drexel Autonomous Systems Lab, the same lab that acquired their very own version of KAIST’s latest robot earlier this year, have got it up and running (figuratively speaking). Daniel M. Lofaro of Drexel University has just posted a video on Youtube which shows the robot walking on a treadmill without a hitch. No word yet if Jaemi can run like his Japanese cousins Honda’s Asimo and Toyota’s bipedal partner robot, but I’m excited to see whatever it is he does next.
Jaemi HUBO is the American version of KAIST’s HUBO 2, which has been built by Drexel University thanks to a $5 million dollar, 5 year research initiative funded by the National Science Foundation. The robot has already made appearances on ABC news and briefly at a local museum. Video after the break.
A robot that automatically produces fun!
Years before the Odaiba Gundam statue, and the soon to be erected Tetsujin 28 monument, kids (in America, no less) were already having fun playing around giant robots. From the advertisement:
A 19’6″, triple-decker robot gives children the thrill of their lives. Two tube slides give youngsters fast, safe and thrilling rides. Scooped ends slow down sliders and give them a lift thrill as they swoop off the end. Two-tiered robot “body” and lookout “head” have die-formed deck and steel bar walls for safety. Feet are designed with seat indentations so children can rest. The Giganta stands head and shoulders above most other playground equipment in size and popularity.
Ground Space: 19’6″ by 9’6″
Shipping Weight: 4400 pounds
No offense to the designers, but if the play structure you’ve just designed looks like it would fit in perfectly in Hierynomus Bosch’s painting depicting Hell, you may want to go back to the drawing board. It looks like it’s trampling a kid while reaching down to scoop up more with its hideous arms, only to devour them, locking them inside its grotesque, cage-like body. Who had one of these in their neighborhood growing up? This thing looks like a total deathtrap dream come true!