IT’S A GIRL!
Meet a new robot toy from Bossa Nova that’s targeted more towards girls — a robot penguin called Penbo. They seem kinda cute, and their whegs
style of movement is sweet. Penbo plays five different games, responds to
sounds and touch, and comes with one of four fuzzy little babies in its tummy.
Each baby interacts with Penbo in about 20 different ways, and Penbos interact
with other Penbos as well, by speaking Penguish (of course). Penbo is available
on QVC and Amazon. To participate with others in the circle of artificial life,
JAST WHAT HUMANS NEED
The European Commission's Joint-Action Science and Technology (JAST) researchers have built a service bot that they say can anticipate the needs
of humans. The robot is programmed to help folks put together a toy. It pays
attention to what part the person has, then finds the right tool to use. If a piece
can be used in multiple ways, the bot will ask what the human is building to try
to deal with a possible mistake. The JAST team is hoping that it will lead to
cooperative service bots who can anticipate and question human actions, as
opposed to those that are pre-programmed. If they can let us know where
our keys are, we’re in! Go to
The Xian Chaoren Sculpture Research Institute in China can duplicate humans so realistically that you can have your own doppelganger.
The sculptures are made of simulated silica gel and are apparently a hit
at art exhibitions, museums, and for those who can afford them. Take a
look at their site. Can you tell which is the human?
INCLINED TO STUDY SKIING
Apparently skiing is a more complicated sport than it seems (just point yourself downhill and go) because researchers in
Japan have created a robot to explore the kinematic motions involved.
Turns out the delicate interplay between balance, posture, limbs,
joints, and skis during a turn is extremely difficult to model on a
computer. However, this robot is able to test a bunch of different
combinations dynamically and provide results that are more or less
reproducible. The robot has yet to graduate to actual snow, but was
able to make it down an 11 meter long, 20 degree grass slope.
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