Category Archives: SCIENCE

$500 hack creates this low-cost video chat robot

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(credit: screenshot by mike)

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.

procrastineering via Hack A Day

smart contact lens monitors wearer’s health & display info

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(image credit: CRAVE UK)

scientist Babk Parvix of the University of Washington has developed a smart contact lens that is capable of measuring the blood sugar levels of the wearer. the lens does this by its embedded electrodes that zap a small current through the tear fluid and a microelectronic chip will send the results to a wireless device in the wearer’s pocket. another amazing feat is that the device is able to send power wirelessly to the contact lens.

a prototype was developed back in 2009, but fast forward to 2011: a pair of red and blue LEDs has been developed for the lens and can be embedded into the lens to display color images. head-up display has neer this close – just imagine information right at your eye. this means, augmented reality right in your eyes could be very well be a possibility. that means we could be spotting Terminator vision in future, except that we can’t zoom in and out like the T-800 did.

apparently, having this miniaturized circuitry in the lenses mean that the circuits will be see in our eye, thus making us looking like Stepford Wives but i’m sure we will get use to it pretty quick. don’t we? we are more intrigued by the possibility of displaying information in the eye which could include navigational directions, displaying info on what you see et cetera. wow. we are totally lost for words. just hope when we won’t go ‘ouch’ when the lenses start zapping the tear fluid for information.


X.RHex is the next generation weird-legs military insect bot

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(image credit: Kod*lab)

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

fancy a robot to knot up your tie? Why Knot? does just that

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(credit: screenshot by mike)

i hate tying ties as much as i hate clipping my nails. often, i wish somebody would invent something to tackle these simple yet frustrating chores. thank goodness for people like Seth Goldstein, who must have shared the same perspective as myself, designed and built a machine that solve this seemingly minute issue. the machine, aptly named ‘Why Knot?’, looks more complicated than it is to knot up a tie but it certainly works beautifully. hmmm, did i see a bicycle sprocket, chain and pedal there? very intriguing and applaudable project. Continue reading fancy a robot to knot up your tie? Why Knot? does just that

Cyberdyne’s Robot Suit HAL is a real life exoskeleton suit

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(image credit: Cyberdyne)

if you haven’t heard, Cyberdyne‘s Robot Suit HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) is a ‘cyborg-type’ robot that aims to expand and improve human being’s physical capability. at the first glance, the suit resembles the Metal Gear Solid Raiden’s exoskeleton suit, albeit being more bulkier. so how does it works? when a person attempts to move, this intention triggers the brain to send nerve signals to the muscles via motoneuron which in turns, move the body’s musculoskeletal system. Continue reading Cyberdyne’s Robot Suit HAL is a real life exoskeleton suit

advance head-up display helmet for Eurofighter Typhoon

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(image credit: BAE System)

head-up display or HUD integrated into a helmet isn’t new news but one that lets the pilot sees, lock-on the target and unload it’s payload on its target is something new. besides displaying information such as speed, heading, and height, the BAE System‘s Helmet Mounted Symbology System for Eurofighter Typhoon enables pilot to look at multiple targets, lock-on them, and prioritize them via voice command.

the best part is, the pilot not only can do that visually but also by checking out the targets by looking at the Eurofighter Typhoon radar display, effectively letting the pilot ‘see’ through its own aircraft. with this advance helmet, the pilot no longer need to have a field of view of the targets or point their aircraft in the direction of the the targets for engagement which would cut the time on maneuvering the aircraft to line up with the targets. as long the radar ‘sees’ the targets, the Eurofighter Typhoon can now engage the targets – which is kind of creepy. so don’t be too happy if you are out of visual sight from a Typhoon.

the helmet also displays the precise position of any enemy aircraft or missiles – an extremely vital information during an air combat. the Helmet Mounted Symbology System is expected to go into service with the UK’s Royal Air Force this year.

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(almost) indestructible real-life Terminator robotic arm

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(image credit: DLR)

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.

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Holocube makes human-size 3D projections

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(image credit: Holocube) HOLOCUBE 3D Projection | US$PoA |

marvel at the sight of what could possibly be the forerunner of holographic technology. although the latest presentation projection, simply called HC70, from Holocube isn’t actually a hologram but it certainly will put a smile on creative people and marketeers face. how else to differential your presentation better than a 3D projection? the HC70 is essentially a six-foot tall box with 70″ screen allowing for full-sized human projections.

the projector in question has a brightness of 600 cd/m2 and a HD resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. each Holocube is equipped with a 40 GB hard disk drive and is capable of storing up to 18-hours of compressed video at a bit rate of 4 Mb/s or 8-hours of compressed video at 9Mb/s. Holocube is designed to be a dedicated machine in which it will performs its specified operations without any intervention from human. in the event of power interruption, the Holocube will reboot itself and continue to carry out its duty faithfully. it is said to be immune to virus which curb any chances of virus infection when new presentation is loaded via the USB interface.

at the heart of the Holocube is a computer running on a 2.8 GHz Intel Dual Core processor with Windows 7 as its operating system which should be more than ample since it will do nothing other then its specific duty. as a dedicated machine, its functionality and reliability shouldn’t be of any issues. same rationale as our PC – install less softwares, less chances of the PC screwing up, and probably last longer too. check out the video of the HC70 in action. pretty amazing.

via Yanko Design

this is probably the best kinect-controlled Android

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(image credit: Watani Yohizaki/Asura)

yet another Kinect-hack that controls an android but this time, Watani Yohizaki of Asura Engineering took it further with the Asura’s code that allows to robot to keep adjusting itself automatically to compensate the motions it makes to prevent itself from being thrown off balance and fall. articulations are not restricted to just the arms, the legs are completely articulated and balanced as demonstrated in the video, all thanks to power of the code. the robot in question is in the guised of HPI GR-001 which turns out to be a standard edition machine which requires no modding. wow. i totally impressed. Continue reading this is probably the best kinect-controlled Android

contact-less charging would be perfect for world of EV

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(image credit: HaloIPT)

our recent post on Blink Network of EV charging stations prompted us to wish for a wireless or contact-less charging alternative in the market. not that we own any of those EVs at this moment but the prospect of handling high current electricity scares us off (we are simply afraid of electricity except for those we use in the house). contact-less charging for small gadgets is already a reality, so why shouldn’t it be adapted for EV? our wish has been answered in the form of HaloIPT‘s Inductive Power Transfer or IPT. Continue reading contact-less charging would be perfect for world of EV