Engadget's Brian Heater visited the WobbleWorks folks at the Somerville, Mass. hackerspace, where animatronic dinosaurs and rabbit-ear hats are the order of the day. The WobbleWorkers sound like they have a hell of a time.
Dilworth flips three switches on the robo-dino's neck, firing it up. It looks around quizzically at first before its creator, manipulating knobs on a small block attached to the dinosaur with a thick wire, sends the robot on a clanking walk. The robot is roughly three or four years old, created as a museum piece, an attempt to bring life to lifeless exhibits made of fossil and bone. With a realistic silicone skin created by dinosaur exhibit giant Hall Train, the baby dino might someday become part of a robotic petting zone, wandering around the area with a certain level of autonomy, perpetually grazing in the museum hall.
...During our visit, the pair won't divulge too much about the projects they're prepping, even while many prototypes sit just behind them, atop of a couple of messy desks. They do happily show off a bipedal dinosaur, an early prototype of a future toy that they're looking to land in stores in the next year or so. It's not quite a museum-style protoceratops in every home, but perhaps the minimalist two-motor setup will make such products a little more widespread in a world that wasn't quite ready for Pleo. It's a small, off-white plastic contraption with two giant feet that lumber about. The company's also looking to branch out into four- and six-legged 'bots that share the two-legger's "natural gait," while maintaining a reasonable price point.
WobbleWorks: flapping ears and robotic dinosaur dreams
(Thanks, Pete, and everyone else who suggested this!)
There are three more stops on my tour for Walkaway: tomorrow at San Diego Comic-Con, next weekend at Defcon 25 in Las Vegas, and August 10th at the Burbank Public Library.
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