New (sort of) from Neato Robotics is the XV-21: an autonomous
robot vacuum that's been enhanced to provide better cleaning for people
with an excess of pets. Neato seems to be sort of taking the same
approach as iRobot did when they introduced their Roomba 572 "Pet
Series." The 572 was essentially just a 500 series Roomba with a new
name and some slightly different accessories that cost a bit more. The XV-
21 is pretty much the same as the XV- 11, except for the following:
• A new bristled brush to improve the pick-up of pet hair, dander, and
fibers, and to allow the vacuum cleaner to run more quietly than
previous models,especially on hardwood floors.
• A new filter which is cleanable and designed for long-term use that
provides increased airflow and suction power which allows the
Neato XV- 21 to pick up and retain more than three times the fine
dust particles of the company's standard filter.
• A new paint job that’s "misty white with purple highlights."
If you like the sound of the XV- 21 but already have an XV- 11, it's easy
to upgrade. You can buy the brush and filter separately (for $60) and
install them into your robot, which suggests that there aren't any
fundamental hardware differences to the XV- 21 (which you can buy on its own for $430).
Piccolo is a pocket-sized stand-alone CNC platform. For under $70, you will
be able to assemble your personal Arduino-compatible kit for tinkering and
playing with basic CNC output. Whether it’s plotting a quick graffiti, printing a
one-off business card on the fly, or multiple Piccolos working together to create
a large mural, this kit provides a platform for experimenting with 2D or 3D
digital fabrication at a small scale. The folks at Diatom Studio are currently
refining the Piccolo prototype into an open source design that is simple, quick to
assemble, and easy to use, and is entirely composed of digitally manufactured
components and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware. The Piccolo project includes
Arduino and Processing libraries so Piccolo can be used in a variety of ways such
as moving autonomously or responding to sensors and data, whilst providing an
accessible educational tool and a new output for Processing sketches. If you would like to be notified when Piccolo is released,
you can leave your email address at http://piccolo.cc/.
A CUT ABOVE
Here’s a robot that Tim Judkins and his colleagues at Intelligent
Automation in Rockville, MD designed to shave his head. Why the
shaved head? Tim decided to get bald in support of the St. Baldrick's
Foundation — a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the
most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers.
Volunteers get bald at the Foundation's worldwide signature head-shaving events to stand in solidarity with kids with cancer who
typically lose their hair during treatment and to raise money to
support life-saving childhood cancer research. Tim and his team of
fellow engineers equipped the multi-arm UGV (Unmanned Ground
Vehicle) with a pair of clippers and two cameras, put on a pair of
safety glasses, and prepared Tim for his shearly fantastic shave. As the
last piece of hair hit the floor, Tim had raised more than $1,500 for
life-saving research. The barber bot sports three arms that provide lots of degrees of freedom which are typically used for
tasks like backpack inspection, tool handling, shovel manipulation, door breaching, knot tying, and tackling IEDs.
28 SERVO 05.2012