CES 2008 Robot Roundup
year with yet more new
things to show, such as
an updated version of
their Bioloid (www.
robot kit, their Dynamixel
line, as well as their new
URIA Robot (Photo 9).
The Dynamixel servos
are designed specifically
for robotic actuator
applications, and are
networked together using
a communications bus
such as RS-485 or TTL
signaling. They are
powerful, metal geared
servos with torque up to
64 kg-cm. The Bioloid kits
(as well as URIA) are
constructed from these
servos. URIA stands for
Information Assistant, and
is designed as a research
Photo 10 platform for working
with humanoids. It has
a fully embedded PC onboard, running Windows XP, with
peripherals such as USB, LAN, Camera, VGA, WiFi, and a
microphone. He has a nice big LCD in his chest so you can
see what is going on with the PC.
Other interesting peripherals include a Passive
Infrared Sensor (PIR) and a six-axis gyro for measuring
motion. The robot stands 22 inches tall and weighs about
12 pounds. In comparison to most of the Robo-One type
humanoids, he is really, really big. They didn’t give exact
pricing on this monster humanoid, but they were quite
specific that it is designed for researchers and not the
hobbyist. With all the servos and PC onboard, I don’t
imagine he is going to be inexpensive.
OLogic was there with plenty of interesting robots to
show ( www.ologicinc.com). OLogic is an outsourced
research and development company with a focus on
robotics, that I co-founded with Bob Allen. Of course, we
brought out some balancing robots to demonstrate our
capabilities to design difficult control systems. On the first
day of the show, we realized we could place one on top of
another and do a Las Vegas acrobatic act, in true Vegas
style (Photo 10). Needless to say, it always attracted a
crowd and the TV people whenever we stacked them up.
Dean Kamen, the inventor of many things including the
Segway, came by and we were able to snap some photos
of us with Dean and the balancing robots (Photo 11).
NPC Robotics ( www.npcrobotics.com) commissioned
OLogic to build a robot to demonstrate a device they have
been reselling, called a Ribbon Lift (Photo 12). A Ribbon Lift
is a device that takes three stainless steel ribbons rolled up
on a spool like a tape measure, uses a motor to unwind
them, and stitchs them together into a self-assembling,
triangular shaped pole. Since we just finished the robot
before CES, we brought it out to show off. The robot is
appropriately named “Giraffe” due to its long neck it can
extend. The lift mounted in the robot is capable of raising a
50 pound load to 15 feet, and can collapse down into a
spool eight inches high by 20 inches in diameter. It is quite
amazing to see it unfurl, and some people commented that
it seemed like magic, like Ali-Babba’s magic rope trick. We
mounted a WiFi camera on the top and had it feeding a
big plasma display to demonstrate its use for surveillance
applications. We are looking forward to building some
robots using the larger version of the Ribbon Lift that can
lift a 500 pound load 25 feet in the air.
Two robots I missed at CES this year, but heard about,
were robots that showed up for just one day to make a
cameo appearance in the Robotics Trends booth (www.
roboticstrends.com). They were Pleo ( www.pleoworld.
com) the Camarasaurus, made by UGOBE, and Zeno the
Revolutionary Robotic Friend by Hanson Robotics (www.
zenosworld.com). It was a bummer I missed them both,
but there was so much
Photo 12 to see, and certainly
one couldn’t see it all.
Hopefully, I will be able
to catch up with them
both next year. SV
Ted Larson is the CEO of
OLogic, Inc., and an active
member in the Home Brew
Robotics Club of Silicon Valley.
OLogic is an embedded
systems research and
development company with
a focus on robotics. OLogic
is currently working with
clients across a wide spectrum
of application domains such
as consumer electronics,
toys, medical products, and
38 SERVO 07.2008