I have been looking at a lot of robot advances and various clever kits. Some inspired by nature, some just plain brute force servo controlled kits.
This however is something that is uncannily amazing. It is a Rubik’s Cube solver robot. Solving a cube is relatively straight forward as a maths puzzle. This however has to visually examine the cube and then solve it and manipulate the answer
The Cubestormer II is, as you can see, using LEGO (four MINDSTORMS NXT kits) a Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone is running the app to analyse and trigger off the solving. i.e. easily accessible technology combined in a very clever way.
I was researching some robot options for The Cool Stuff Collective and I bumped into the Microsoft Robotics at home (US based) competition. It would appear there is now a MS Robotics software dev kit (Developer Studio 4). However the really interesting part is that there is a reference design for some hardware that is based around using the kinect for the machine sensing and vision.
Parallax appear to be taking orders for a piece of kit called Eddie
It comes assembled or in kit form and I have to say this looks really interesting.
I have not found any UK references to this yet. So it looks like I will need a windows 7 laptop as well now then!
This guy Johnny Chung Lee, now “rapid evaluator” at Google, is amazing and I love how he approaches things. Way back he did the wiimote hacks that made 3d motion control out of wearing the sensor bar and keeping the wiimotes steady. As Feeding Edge’s tag line is “Taking a bite out of technology so you don’t have to” you can see why I have an affinity for his work!
This time he has hacked together a $500 telepresence robot. These things seem to keep popping up so he is definitely “bang on trend”. They are a weird combination of a physical avatar used to navigate physical space and “be” somewhere. Like all new ideas they may seem daft, and I did have a “that’s stupid” fleeting momentary thought. However, as I have mentioned before, when I see something and think that I know I have to look further into the idea, especially when serendipity subconsciously shouts out about the subject
I bumped into this because I was looking at these more commercial telepresence robots from vgocom. This version though uses the IRobot Create (Roomba)
They had featured a telepresence ER/A&E robot on BBC Horizon and combined with a piece we filmed on wednesday for The Cool Stuff Collective where I was trapped in a video box it all started to link up. Further re-enforced by a conversation about driving robots from a virtual world that started the very same afternoon!
This has a nice circular element to it in that you will notice from the great Johnny Chung Lee’s blog featuring this quick build is called Procrastineering and the tag line, which is something I live by is “giving in to productive distractions”. It brilliantly sums up the flow of serendipity and the combination of tech and art and ideas mixed with human conversation that seems to lead in a positive direction. I know it is not for everyone and it is a seat of the pants existence but for me it feels right.