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One Robot Per Child? Former Googler, Apple Engineer Tackle Educational Bots.

May 15th, 2013 No comments

One Robot Per Child? Former Googler, Apple Engineer Tackle Educational Bots.

from: All Things D
by: Lauren Goode
May 14, 2013

There are apps that teach kids the basics of programming.

KidsRobots

And then there are robots that get the job done.

That’s the vision of a group of four tech entrepreneurs who late last year formed a company called Play-i with the purpose of creating educational robots for kids.

The Bay Area-based company is still very much in the early stages of building out its bots and determining their form and functionality.

Vikas Gupta, Play-i’s founder and CEO, said the robots will be targeted at children aged 5 to 8, and will most likely work in conjunction with tablets. Using a tablet or other mobile device running compatible software, the child will be able to program his or her robot to perform certain actions.

Gupta said the company is aiming to keep the price point low — very low. Unlike the personal robots we’ve seen to date, Play-i wants to keep its bots at under $100, making it a direct-to-consumer play.

But Play-i is light on other details. It’s unclear how large or powerful the robots will be, whether they’ll have a humanoid shape or take on more of a mechanical form, and ultimately, which software they’ll run on or work with. And the robots won’t necessarily speak. (Although, one thing is certain: These aren’t the super-poweful robots that are going to do your chores for you.)

So, why robots, when there are plenty of lightweight and tablet-friendly apps now that teach kids how to program? The Play-i team believes that learning should be tangible and fun, and that bossing hardware robots around is more interesting than, say, instructing an animated bot to draw a line.

“We believe tangible interaction is what grabs children, something that’s much more engaging for them beyond just having a software screen in front of them,” Gupta said.

And what was cost-prohibitive a few years ago in robotics isn’t as pricey any more, Gupta said, with the increasing accessibility of sensors in the market and the advancements in processors.

Play-i is the brainchild of Gupta, who in his last role was the head of consumer payments at Google; Mikal Greaves, formerly of Frog Design; Saurabh Gupta, who led the iPod software team at Apple from 2006 to 2012; and Imran Kahn, previously the head of marketing at Eloan and Symantec.

The company just secured $1 million in seed funding from Google Ventures, Madrona Venture Group and individual private investors. Later this summer, Play-i will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise more money for production.

(The photo above was taken at a museum in Moscow and is not indicative of Play-i’s product plans. Photo courtesy of Liza Azarova/Flickr Creative Commons.)

Rapyuta, the cloud-based robotic brain, is now online

March 9th, 2013 No comments

From: Digital Trends
By Mariella Moon
March 8, 2013

rapyuta-625x1000

In the future, robots might be a bit more affordable thanks to Rapyuta – a cloud-based robotic “brain” that our metallic friends can access via the Internet. Rapyuta is part of the Robo Earth project thought up by European scientists from five different research labs in 2011. They recently got one step closer to their goal as they activated the first parts of the online database.

Think of Rapyuta as a place where the robots can get information on the things, situations, places, and everything else they encounter. It provides them a standardized view of our world, and if robots do end up being common, they can consult Rapyuta whenever they come across something new. The database can also instruct them on the appropriate way to deal with new situations and can even do complicated computations for them. Do you have a robot that needs to understand human speech or perform chores around the house such as folding laundry or serving food? No problem. Rapyuta can crunch data for them and instruct them on what to do.

According to Robo Earth program manager Dr. Heico Sandee: “On-board computation reduces mobility and increases cost.” Those two issues are addressed by using a cloud-based database. Considering internet speeds are getting faster and faster, the method does sound like a viable solution. Robots will presumably be able to upload their own data, too – let’s just hope Rapyuta doesn’t gain sentience and turn into a real-life version of Skynet. Rapyuta’s first users will probably be technologies we already have today, including drones and self-driving cars.

The database was (very aptly) named after the Hayao Miyazaki animated film Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta (or Laputa: Castle in the Sky, which is in turn named after the flying island in Gulliver’s Travels), in which a floating castles serves as home to robots.
DT

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Shakey

March 6th, 2013 No comments

Shakey was a robot develop at Stanford back in 1966! It was a ground-breaking robot that could navigate in a “changing” environment autonomously. When I saw this video about Shakey, I couldn’t resist putting it here:

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Coming up Short Handed

February 10th, 2013 No comments

A great example of the “Open Source” Community solving a real world problem! This open source project is for a artificial hand for those who need one. The project is documented at http://comingupshorthanded.com/

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Is this 3D-printed robot the first of thousands?

January 24th, 2013 No comments

From: cnet.com
by: Tim Hornyak
Jan 23, 2013

InMoov is an open-source DIY printable robot that can obey voice commands. It’s slightly creepy, but at least it’s cheap. Full details at http://inmoov.blogspot.com/

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Real Life Pixar Robotic Lamp

January 18th, 2013 No comments
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Webots: robot simulator

January 18th, 2013 No comments

Here is a link to a mobile robot simulation program. it has a 30 day free trial then it costs. See http://www.cyberbotics.com/

MAKE | Mindstorms Robotic Hand

January 18th, 2013 No comments

From MAKE
by John Baichtal
Jan 4, 2013

The hand holds 4 NXT motors to control the fingers and thumb. The 4 fingers are controlled by the 2 outside motors, that are attached to the index finger and pinky. All fingers are connected to a sliding beam, so that the middle and ring finger can also move. This system makes the hand compact, because you don’t need 4 motor for each finger. The drawback is that the fingers can’t be move separately. Anyone who has seen this always asks if it can give ‘the finger’, the answer is NO 🙂 The middle motor has 2 functions. It moves the thumb from and towards the hand. When the motor rotates further it touches the construction that make the fingers spread. So the thumb first moves a bit and the last past of that movement the fingers spread as well. The last motor moves the thumb in and out. It give a nice impression as a palm of the hand.

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Watch “WALL-E robot with Arduino” on YouTube

January 11th, 2013 No comments

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Autonomous Christmas Lab

December 21st, 2012 No comments

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