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• An9-RR


In March 2009, ALSOK added the An9-RR to their product line up. Intended as a kind of robotic security system, all personnel entering and exiting its building are recorded using the larger robot’s camera, which has face recognition technology, as well as microphones for detecting sounds. Preregistered employees can be contacted through the touchscreen interface, which can also display directions if needed. Naturally the robot happily greets people as they enter and says good-bye when they leave, with a head that can tilt and nod, and LED eyes that display a variety of expressions.

In emergencies, an alarm will sound and email alerts with images are automatically sent to human security guards. The larger unit measures 76.5mm tall, and weighs 35kg, while the the smaller unit (26.4mm tall, 1.5kg) is basically just a portable security camera which can be moved around as needed.

Companies can rent the unit for 69,250 JPY ($716 USD) a month or purchase one for 2,892,750 JPY ($30,350 USD).  Video and media after the break.

Will Wagenaar’s Tin Can Robots

WillWagenaar-headerArtist 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.

[source: Will Wagenaar @ Flickr] via [Robots-dreams]

• Daft Punk’s Electroma

Electroma-HeaderElectroma 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.

• AIBO ERS-210

ERS-210-headersmSONY’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.

• Service Type Robot

SERVICETYPE-headerFujitsu’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.

Metal Wolf Chaos (NSFW review)

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.

• The Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess

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.

Jaemi HUBO hits the gym

Jaemi-Drex-smallLooks 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.