Man builds "BlowJob Robot"

Today in Poe's law comes an advertisement for "Arlan Robotics Service Droid 1.0" (NSFW), which is basically a nightmarish silicone parody of a woman's head mounted on a machine that lurches back and forth like a Victorian automaton bobbing for apples. I thought it was a parody, but technical features are demonstrated ("stop with a single hand", "suction on demand") that indicate otherwise. Read the rest

Robot Maker and YouTuber Simone Giertz's favorite tools

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Simone Giertz. Simone is a Swedish native who now resides in San Francisco. Millions of people come to watch her build shitty robots on YouTube and she recently launched her own astronaut training program to get herself into space. Simone's videos have been featured on The Ellen Show, The Late Show, Mashable, Business Insider, Wired, Conan O'Brien, and more. Whilst most recently joining master builder Adam Savage's tested team.

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Show notes:

Dremel 4200 ($114) “I started building stuff about 3 years and I’m rediscovering everything that people have known for a long time. … Dremel tool kind of goes in the line of that … it blew my mind because I do a lot of aluminum fabrications. I make parts out of aluminum frames or customized parts that I already have and for that it's freakin' great because it's like having your own arm do it but at a much higher RPM. It's like a little pen. It's just such an accessible tool. You're just sitting there and you're cutting. It has the tiniest little cutter blades and it’s just nice. … It’s a super versatile tool and it takes up no space.”

Original Prusa i3 MK2S kit ($699)

"I am definitely not an authority in 3D printing. I am a total 3D printing novice. Read the rest

The baby daddy of Boston Dynamics' BigDog robot

This is CAM (cybernetic anthropomorphous machine), a "walking truck" designed by Ralph Mosher at General Electric in 1965. It may not be as rough-and-tumble as Boston Dynamics' BigDog but it was certainly more fun because the operator rode inside of it! From Wikipedia:

The stepping of the robot was controlled by a human operator through foot and hand movements coupled to hydraulic valves. The complex movements of the legs and body pose were done entirely through hydraulics. The hydraulic fluid and pressure was supplied through an off-board system. The walking truck was one of the first technological hardware design applications to incorporate force feed-back to give the operator a feel of what was happening.

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Robotic parcel sorting facility in China

The dumb robots fall into the holes, while the smarter ones survive and breed. From the YouTube description:

Chinese delivery firm is moving to embrace automation.

Orange robots at the company's sorting stations are able to identify the destination of a package through a code-scan, virtually eliminating sorting mistakes.

Shentong's army of robots can sort up to 200,000 packages a day, and are self-charging, meaning they are operational 24/7.

The company estimates its robotic sorting system is saving around 70-percent of the costs a human-based sorting line would require.

Read the rest

How to teach robots teamwork

For robots to make our lives easier, they'll need to work together. But how do we teach them teamwork? University of Southern California engineer Nora Ayanian studies how groups of robots, including flying drones, can be better collaborators and what the machines can teach humans about collaboration. Mark Frauenfelder and I interviewed Nora about robot collaboration in this episode of For Future Reference, a new podcast from Institute for the Future:

Please subscribe to For Future Reference: iTunes, RSS, Soundcloud Read the rest

"Mindreading" robots and tech-art insanity in San Francisco this Friday-Sunday

This Friday through Sunday in San Francisco, my extreme maker pals Kal Spelletich (Survival Research Labs, Seemen) and Mitch Altman (Noisebridge, TV-B-Gone) invite you to what's sure to be a mind-bending experience of neuro-robotic weirdness and art at The Lab. From the description of the installation:
Split-Brain Robotics: Harvesting Brain Data for Robotic Mayhem and Enlightenment

An interactive audience participatory performance with two custom built 16’ tall robots, each identical, each controlled by the left and right side brainwaves of audience participants.

A hacked and customized brainwave monitor reads audience participants' right side and left side brainwaves to make the two robots move, collaborate, interact, fight, and even "kiss". Their live streaming brain data runs the two robots! Volunteers’ (your!) thoughts are brought to life through robotic actions.

When they do “correctly” interact, symbolic and metaphoric events will happen, activating, lasers, lights, fog, robotic eye views projections, sounds, chaos.

Split-Brain Robotics: Harvesting Brain Data for Robotic Mayhem and Enlightenment Read the rest

Tentaclebots have finally arrived

Biomimicry continues to make amazing strides. Festo just released footage of their OctopusGripper being put through the paces. Read the rest

Award-winning robot rappers perform "Robot's Delight"

These Japanese robots' performance of "Robot's Delight" -- an extended, braggadocios riff on the state of AI learning-through-imitation research, with break-dancing -- won Best Video at the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction. (via 4 Short Links) Read the rest

Little girl mistakes discarded water heater for a robot

"I wuv you, wobot." Read the rest

Japan's "Weird Hotel," staffed by robots, in a Japanese theme-park

The Henn Na Hotel ("weird hotel") is staffed by robots: the Japanese-speaking check-in clerk is a vicious robot dinosaur, while the English-speaking one is humanoid; a robot arm stores and retrieves personal items from the guest lockers, and a chatbot serves as concierge. Read the rest

New Boston Dynamics bot has arms and wheels

Every time I post one of these, I see the near-future nightmare where conspicuously Boston-Dynamics robots law-enforce us in Gilead. On the other hand, it upsets me when the guy pushes Atlas-bot around with a hockey stick. I'm only human, after all.

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Robot butters toast

William Osman built a toast-buttering robot. It's really something: "I'm not sure how to mount the butter to the jigsaw." (Jump to 6:35 or so just to see The Buttering)

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Boston Dynamics introduces "nightmare-inducing" robot

Today in Onionesque quotes, that's one from presenter Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics. [via MeFi]

Here's another:

"It's still a little slower than a human. but we're working on getting it to go faster and faster. And better."

Work at a warehouse or dock? Not for much longer. Read the rest

Amazing 3D-printed salad-tossing robot

3D printing reaches new heights with this ingenious robotic salad-tossing machine. This pre-programmed beauty has three modes of operation, one of which will surely match how you like getting your salad tossed. Read the rest

Watch a modded Hexbug perform autonomous tasks

Hexbugs are cute insect-like toys with a remote control. Brad Knox has created a mod that harnesses smartphone technology to make them autonomous, able to distinguish colors and navigate obstaccles. Read the rest

Robot outwits "I am not a Robot" Captcha

And so it begins... Read the rest

Animated robots trapped in a Vicious Cycle

Michael Marczewski's adorably trapped machines go about their mechanically-defined routines. When things speed up, things go wrong. The perfect music is by Marcus Olsson. Read the rest

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