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Rethink Robotics

By Chief Robot | Filed in Robot News

BaxterRethink Robotics, formerly Heartland Robotics, was founded by Rodney Brooks, formerly of iRobot.

Rodney sums up his vision for Rethink Robotics like this on their website.

Our robots will be intuitive to use, intelligent and highly flexible. They’ll be easy to buy, train, and deploy and will be unbelievably inexpensive. Rethink Robotics will change the definition of how and where robots can be used, dramatically expanding the robot marketplace.

Rethink Robotics has never really revealed what they have been working on until now. We give you Baxter, the manufacturing robot.

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QBotix Solbot

By Chief Robot | Filed in Robot News

QBotix SolbotQBotix is introducing a track based robot to align solar panels towards the sun called Solbot.  This is a single axis tracking system, as opposed to a dual axis tracker, which also accounts for what time of year it is. Aiming the solar panels towards the sun allows the solar panels to be more efficient and get more energy from the sun.  Wikipedia states:

It is estimated that trackers are used in at least 85% of commercial installations greater than 1MW from 2009 to 2012.

Solbot runs on a track, much like a monorail and can service up to 200 solar panels in 40 minutes.  When connecting with each panel, Solbot adjusts the angle of the panel, but also collects data about the panel. Solbot  also has a certified IP-65 rating, meaning it is impervious to dust and water.

For larger solar panel arrays, more Solbots can be added to the system.  When not servicing the solar panels, Solbot returns home to the charging station.

QBotix expects to have the first commercial customer up and running by the end of September.

Link via (GigaOm) & (Technology Review)

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Honda’s Lawnmowing Robot

By Chief Robot | Filed in Household

MiimoMiimo, the new robotic lawnmower from Honda cuts your lawn in a random pattern for less stress on the grass.

The mowing height is adjustable from 20mm to 60 mm.

Lifts sensors activate an alarm if Miimo is lifted off the ground and requires a PIN to reactivate it for security.

For safety, Miimo has 3 bump sensors to detect objects that are in the way and it also stays inside a boundary wire you need to install. The boundary wire is connected to a charging station.

One odd fact is that the dealers will collect Miimo at the end of the season for winter maintenance and in some cases store it for the winter for you.

Miimo will be available in Europe in early 2013.

Link via (Engadget)

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Robot Noodle Chef

By Chief Robot | Filed in Robot News

Chinese inventor Cui Runquan invented a robot is named Chef Cui .  The robot slices noodles using a back and forth motion, like a windshield wiper.

Last time we heard about the chef turned inventor, his robo noodle slicing chef was only a dream. Well, now Cui Runquan is actually manufacturing the robot and selling them for about $2,000 each. So far he has sold about 3,000 robots.  Check out the noodle slicing robot in the clip below.

See our previous post about Chef Cui, Yet Another Robo Chef.

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DARPA’s Color Changing Robot

By Chief Robot | Filed in Military
Chemluminescent

Image courtesy of DARPA.

Researchers working for DARPA have created a soft robot that can walk and change colors.

The work is performed under DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation or M3 program headed up by Gill Pratt.

This silicone robot that costs under $100 can  even change it’s own temperature.

Gill Pratt states:

DARPA is developing a suite of robots that draw inspiration from the ingenuity and efficiency of nature. For defense applications, ingenuity and efficiency are not enough—robotic systems must also be cost effective. This novel robot is a significant advance towards achieving all three goals.

As you can see in the video below, the robot can blend into its surroundings by acting like a chameleon and changing it’s color.

Link via (Capitol Column)

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