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Anybody out there using any iRobot home robots?

Anybody out there using any iRobot home robots?

If so, what models? What has been your experience with them (the good, the bad, the ugly)?


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…

Robot News: “Recon Scout Robot to Assist Guards in California Prisons”

From Popular Mechanics:

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) signed a deal this summer with Minneapolis-based ReconRobotics to help field-test the company’s throwable robot, the Recon Scout.

The dumbbell-size device is already used by law enforcement agencies across the country and military personnel in Iraq—ReconRobotics won’t specify how many it has sold outright, though CEO Alan Bignall told PM that “250 of them are in use around the world.” The agreement with the CDCR marks the robot’s first deployment behind bars—the bots arrived there at the end of September.
The robot’s mission won’t be to patrol cell blocks or spy on prisoners. (Although it’s built to be stealthy, with a pair of electric motors that Bignall says produce less noise than a human whisper.) The Recon Scout is deployed more like a remote-controlled grenade: You pull a pin to turn the robot on—the lack of an on/off switch makes it easier to activate while wearing bulky gloves and respirators, and prevents it from being turned off by the impact of hitting the ground. The most likely use for the drone will be for confrontations, and particularly during standoffs.
The Recon Scout is inexpensive when it comes to robots—it costs $6000, or $9000 with an IR camera—and is built to survive a 30 ft drop onto concrete. ReconRobotics has also tested other options, like dropping the robot from a low-flying unmanned aerial vehicle, and launching it from the same kind of compressed-air guns used to fire tear-gas canisters. Dramatic as unmanned airdrops and robo-grenade launchers might sound, the Recon Scout serves the same relatively low-key role outside of prisons as it will in them.

It would be useful for patrolling large areas prone to vandalism, or wide open spaces I would think. I think some managed security services could be built around it to.

Philosophy and Robot Sex…

…is covered by Wired in this post: Is Sex With a Robot Hooker Cheating?

Let me be crude and direct: Sex with a Robot is essentially Masturbation…with some extras.

If masturbation is cheating, then sex with a robot is cheating.

May all of the future’s philosophical questions be so easy!