CyPhy Works, headed by Helen Greiner formerly of iRobot, has unveiled what it has been working on.
The first robot is named EASE for Extreme Access System for Entry. The second is called PARC for Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications.
The common thread between both robots is a microfilament cable. This thread is unspooled from the robot and provides power as well as communications. The idea here is not to worry about battery life and to provide unajmmable communications as no radio is used.
The robots provide high definition video as well as having an optional thermal imaging camera.
The composite image on the right is made up of 2 images from CyPhy works with PARC on top and EASE on the bottom.
PARC could search the grounds outside a building and on the rooftop while EASE seems ideal for searching inside the building for suspects. Most robots aiming for investigating buildings are wheeled and may run into obstacles, unlike PARC and EASE as they can fly through windows and up stairwells.
Click through for a video of EASE.
Link via (AUVSI.org)
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Toyota has unveiled a new helper type robot called the Human Support Robot (HSR) to help with Japan’s aging population.
It is designed to help people around their home and improve their quality of life.
With a height of between 32 and 52 inches and a weight of about 70 lbs, HSR is not very big or heavy. Due to a telescopic body , the robot can change its height, depending on the task at hand.
HSR also has an arm and a gripper hand for doing simple tasks, like picking items up off the floor or opening curtains.
HSR can be controlled by a tablet computer.
No word on price or availability yet.
Link via (Gizmag)
Rethink 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 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)
Miimo, 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)