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Robot News 12/24/2008

Robots will do the work to dirty or hard (economically and/or physically) for Humans:

A robotic submarine searched beneath the Mediterranean on Sunday for damaged communications cables, two days after Web and telephone access was knocked out for much of the Middle East. [SlashDot]


The University of Tokyo is developing a series of robots that perform housekeeping chores such as washing dishes and doing laundry. A video showing one of the University’s robots washing and stacking dishes recently popped up on YouTube. [Link: DeviceGuru]


An autonomous window-washing robot designed by four Michigan State University students has won first prize in a student design competition sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. [Link DeviceGuru]


“Jim & Louise Gunderson, owners of a Denver-based
computer software tool development company, have finally unveiled their
autonomous robot, Basil. Basil is completely home built, runs Linux
with some instructions in Java, uses a sonar-based ‘reification’ logic
system, and can go get you a beer or a pot of tea. [Link: Slashdot]

The 2009 Parade of Roses will feature a giant robot.

Robot functionality is getting broader:

Researchers at the University of Bath (in England) have created a rolling robot that jumps like a grasshopper to avoid obstacles. The robot’s innovative design circumvents the problems of moving over rough terrain, such as that found on the Moon. [Link DeviceGuru]


In light of the emerging need for humans and robots to interact comfortably, BRL is investigating several technologies believed to be crucial to successful human/robot relationships. These include ways for service-class robots to show “emotion,” using both verbal and non-verbal cues.

“The aim is to generate facial behavior in a humanoid robot head, so that if a person speaks to the robot, the person would feel listened to in a sympathetic way,” explains BRL.

“This will require ‘theory of mind’ models as well as dynamic emotional models,” adds the Lab. “Our particular interest is in how, and to what extent one can achieve the illusion of psychological attending and understanding even though it lacks ‘true’ intelligence. We aim to find new approaches towards enhancing human-likeness by generating genuine, non-repetitive facial behaviour that conveys a certain underlying emotional state.” [Link: Device Guru]

Here video of a low-cost robot solving a puzzle:

Lastly, no sign of SantaBot…

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