bots IN BRIEF
MEET THE CALLOS
Ji-Dong Yim and Chris Shaw — scientists at Simon Fraser University’s School
of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) — are the proud parents of a robotic cell
phone family that can walk, dance, and express human-like emotions.
Yim, a doctoral student, and Shaw, an associate professor, first used cell phone
technology to create Cally: a physically active robotic cell phone that stands roughly
16 centimeters high. She walks, dances, and mimics human gestures. She can also
help cell phone users make electronic eye contact with the person to whom they
are talking to by tracking human faces.
The SIAT researchers have most recently used wireless networking, text
messaging, and other interactive technologies to give birth to Callo. He is taller and more emotionally sophisticated than his
older sister. Callo’s viewing screen registers text-messaged emoticons as human-like facial expressions. His robotic shoulders
can slump and his arms can start waving frantically if he’s interactively triggered to respond to an emotional crisis
(such as relationship break-up).
“Imagine you are video-calling with me through Callo,” explains Yim.“When you move your robot, my robot will move the
same, and vice versa, so that we can share emotional feelings using ‘physically smart’ robot phones.”
One of the unsung heroes ofthe recent Times
Square incident was the NY Bomb Squad's robot that
was sent in to check out the situation, break into the
SUV via a window, and help disarm the crude device.
At the recent 2010 IEEE
International Conference on
Robotics and Automation, the
German Institute of Robotics
and Mechatronics programmed
a robotic arm to stab a silicone lump, a dead pig's leg, and some
human volunteers. It was armed with steak and kitchen knives,
a screwdriver, and scissors. When the safety was off, the bot
inflicted cuts on the lump and leg that were deemed potentially
lethal. Fortunately, the humans only were used when the safety
system was turned on, reminding us you never know when your
robot will turn on you.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ROBOTS!
Robots may be getting laid off too left and right due to the lousy economy,
but at least they’re easily retrainable. As long as you’ve got some programming
know-how, you can get them to do all kinds of exciting things. One company in
particular called Autofuss has taken a trio of ex-industrial six axis Fanuc s430iL
robots and turned them into professional camerabots.As one would expect,
they’re very fast and extremely precise, and they can produce spectacularly
smooth and complex shots over and over without screwing up or complaining.
Recently, the Autofuss robots (they’re named Puck, Gilda, and Rosie)
worked on an ad for Louis Vuitton. The robots aren’t doing anything fancy, but
the commercial has Sally Ride, Buzz Aldrin, and Jim Lovell in it, so that’s pretty
awesome all by itself.
Cool tidbits herein provided by Evan Ackerman at www.botjunkie.com, www.robotsnob.com, www.plasticpals.com, and other places.
SERVO 07.2010 23