(image credit: Meka Robotics) Meka M1 Mobile Manipulator | about US$340,000.00 | mekabot.com
developed by Meka Robotics, a specialist in development of robotic systems for researchers, the M1 Mobile Manipulator embodies mobility, dexterity and what Meka termed, complaint force-control which basically, means the the Meka Bot won’t accidentally crush your hand during a handshake. unlike most robot out there, M1 doesn’t have lower limbs, instead it uses simple motorized wheel base for mobility. this will means stairs and undulating floor are out of bound for our dear M1 but at least, you know it won’t lose balance and topple over.
along with a host of other sensors, the M1 rides on the existing Microsoft Kinect as part of its sensor system to give it both video and 3D depth perception which closely imitates human vision. though i put a price on the above, but this isn’t going to be a robot for everyone. the price tag for a M1 Mobile Manipulator is a cool $340,000 for a user-customizable design and it’s up for acquisition for institutions who are keen using it as a base for their own developments. it will be interesting see how the rest is going to expand the M1 capability and perhaps, we would be seeing a real world ‘Sonny’ in near future.
check out the short clip of the M1 in action after the break.
if the iCade arcade cabinet proves too immobile for you but you still long for a sense of retro-style arcade gaming with your iPad, then the JOYSTICK-IT iPad Arcade Stick might just be the, well… joystick of choice. invented by the dudes over at ThinkGeek, the JOYSTICK-IT iPad Arcade Stick puts a real physical joystick, styled in the retro stick-and-ball look, right on your iPad. machined out of solid lightweight aluminum, the JOYSTICK-IT iPad Arcade Stick is touted to add “more precision movement and faster response time for enhanced playability.” perfect for a game of Pac-man. Continue reading iPad game controller goes retro-ish with JOYSTICK-IT→
(image credit: Sonos via Engadget) Sonos Controller App for Android Smartphone | US$free | www.sonos.com
finally, Sonos+Android mobile users can rejoice as Sonos has just announced the controller for Android after almost a year in development. the Sonos controller is a free over-WiFi remote controller app that lets Sonos owners control their entire audio system in their house. aside from controls, user also can access the suite of free Internet Radio from their Android device and play directly from their Sonos system without having to access their computer. user can controls what to play in each room in the house and control their volume individually. other features include control mapped directly to the Android device hardware buttons and voice search.
Sonos Controller works with Android smartphone running on 2.1 or later with a screen size of HVGA 320 x 480, WVGA 480 x 800 or WVGA 480 x 854. Sonos will be demonstrating the Sonos Controller for Android at the Mobile World Congree in Barceleno next week. too bad, we can’t be there to witness it. if you can’t be there as well, how about checking out the preview video below? makes us want to go back to Android phones.. but wait we don’t have any Sonos equipment! duh.
when Johnny Chung Lee was temporarily separated from his fiance, he decided to device his own version of telepresence robot to keep in touch with her, instead of just relying on the traditional web cams. the robot in question consists of two major components, a netbook which he purchased for about $250 and an iRobot Create, an affordable educational robot which he acquired for about $250. with his Video Chat Robot, Lee can now navigate around his former home as well as chatting with his fiance without being confined to the desk.
bridging the gap between the netbook and the iRobot Create is a custom software written by Lee, which controls the robot movement and communication is via the freely available video conferencing software such as SKYPE. Lee took a step further by integrating the charging of the two components into a one step charging process. however, Lee is quick to point out several disclaimers with regard to this process. with just one click, Lee is able to direct the robot to seek out the docking station for charging. this of course, was a built-in feature of the Create which Lee integrated into his hack.
like all good hackers, Lee has made the VideoChatRobot software including the source and documentation for the dock modifications available for download at his blog. so for those who aspires to create a Video Chat Robot yourself, here’s your opportunity to do so. meanwhile, check out Lee’s video on his awesome creation after the jump.
(image credit: Quirky/Click n Cook) Quirky Click n Cook Modular Spatula System | US$39.99 | www.quirky.com
remember what we said about simple inventions that makes our life easier? well, here’s an ingenious invention that does just that. introducing the Quirky Click n Cook Modular Spatula System, a spatula system that has just one handle but five different spatula head attachments. need to stir the pasta? switch to the slotted spoon attachment. need to flip a burger? pop out the slotted spoon attachment and click on the extra-wide slotted spatula to do the job. need i say more? it’s simply awesome.
all parts of the Click n Cook Modular Spatula are made of food-safe plastic and of course, they are dishwasher-safe too. the Click n Cook Modular Spatula system comes with five detachable spatula heads, an ergonomic handle and a compact, two-part stainless steel block. invented by Fred Ende, created through Quirky, Inc‘s brand of social product development and input from a community of thousands, Click n Cook is the new-age multi-functional cooking utensil. we are glad that this wonderful product made it to production and is now available via Quirky web store for $39.99. i gotta have one of this.
the future battlefield could be one that’s swam with bots scrambling around and nothing is more fearsome than one that can maneuver across almost any terrain. the X-RHEX is the next generation six-legged hexapedal robot that is touted to be stronger, more durable then its predecessor while maintaining its physical size and weight. the X.RHex now has a longer run time of up to two hours. Continue reading X.RHex is the next generation weird-legs military insect bot→
there are no better ways to make your statement through commercial spots, especially when it will be featured in the most-watched sports mega event in the US. Volkswagen, for one, wouldn’t miss this chance and has two fun and humorous spots to show off this football season.
the first spot features a kid costumed up in Darth Vader, trying to exert his force on anything that moves and anything that doesn’t. unfortunately, he can’t even move a sandwich without Mum’s help (check out his resentment, it’s funny!) but then he discover he might not be all so ‘force-less’ when he ‘force’ start the all-new 2012 Passat, well, not really but it’s actually the remote start feature of the 2012 Passat that the Dad gladly used to give him some hope. coupled with the memorable Star Wars soundtrack which builds up the mood as little Vader goes around the house (yea, no Death Star here) trying to execute his force on the dog, the washing machine, among the many other objects, without success.
the second spot is my personal favorite. there’s no better way to introduce the 21st century new beetle than using a, say, the bug itself. spotting a double stripe racing down its back, the animated bug races through the insect kingdom, overtaking slower fellow bugs, drifting and sliding down along the route as it makes its way down the dirt track – all these actions complete with carefully-timed slow-motion takes, and an excellent adrenalin-pumping soundtrack to boot. check out the videos after the jump.
did someone found an arm left behind by the time-traveling Terminator? not really. in fact, this human size robotic hand is very real and was developed by the German Aerospace Center’s Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. the hand consists of five fully articulated fingers which are connected to individual motors via a web of tendons. each motor in the forearm can tension the tendons in an event of an impact, which allows it to absorb violent shocks. wow.
so now that we have good development of the robotic hands, splice it with the agility and precision of the knife-wielding robotic arm and we are on the way to creating a true to life T-800. just don’t give anymore artificial intelligence then required. we don’t wish to be slaves to the machines. check out the video showing the robotic being punished by hammer and a metal pipe below.
integrating technology into garment isn’t new and usually consists nothing more than addition of slits or holes for headphone wires to pass through, or for the more ‘advance’ style, would be the inclusion of photovoltaic cells. what if the cloths itself is the technology? i’m not talking about advance textiles here, it’s a jacket that incorporates a zipper that volumes up when you zip up and volumes down when zip down. simply known as Zip: Control your music is designed by Jennifer Damour of electricfoxy, who is no stranger experimental prototyping or better known for her social networking garment, Ping.
we are met with many dilemmas in our everyday life. this jacket could potentially add another to the list. how so? examples: if the lady is feeling cold, but can’t zip way up cos’ the music would be too loud or what iif it’s too warm, but she has to keep it zipped up to hear the music? to zip or not to zip? decision. decision. decision. before you come to decision, lets just enjoy some images of this beautifully designed jacket first or if you prefer moving images, check out the (equally beautiful) video after the images.