Sphero’s Spark+

SPRK+Sphero, makers of the rolling ball robot, have released a new version of Spark called Spark+.

Spark+ is programmable through the Lightning Lab app and comes with an inductive charging base.  After a full charge Sphero should last about 1 hour.

The new Spark+ version has a tougher more scratch resistant outer shell and Bluetooth Smart which has a range of over 100 ft.

Spark+ is also shockproof and waterproof.

Spark+ retails for $129 or if you are an educator they have 12 packs available for $1199.99.

This robot looks like it is easy to program and a lot of fun.
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Georgia Tech’s Emergency Robot

emergency robot

Image courtesy of Georgia Tech Research Institute

Earlier this year Georgia Tech tested how people react to robots during emergencies.

The study used 42 volunteers and a robot with two brightly lit arms and the words “Emergency Guide Robot” on it.

The robot made mistakes on purpose, like taking the volunteers into the wrong room.  The volunteers did not know this was done on purpose and still trusted the robot.

Part of the test used an auditorium was filled with fake smoke that set off smoke alarms.  The robot led the volunteers to an exit in the back of the room, not the clearly lit exit nearer to them.

Paul Robinette, a GTRI research engineer who conducted the study stated:

“Instead, all of the volunteers followed the robot’s instructions, no matter how well it had performed previously. We absolutely didn’t expect this.”

Would you blindly follow a robot in an emergency?

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A Better Warehouse Robot?

Toru CubeGerman firm Magazino has invented a warehouse robot called Toru.

A 3D map of the warehouse is created to help Toru navigate.  Toru uses laser sensors to help navigate, then employs a variety of grippers to select individual objects from boxes on shelves.

Unlike Amazon robots that move shelves around, the Toru actually picks up items from the shelves and brings them to the box packer.

The Toru Cube is best at grasping rectangular objects, while the Toru Flex is good for irregular sized objects.  There is also the Toru Box, good for grasping containers.

Check out Toru in the video below.

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This Robot Folds Your Laundry

FoldiMateTired of folding your laundry?

FoldiMate has the answer by giving you a robot that folds your laundry. Just hang your laundry on the clips and presto, a while later it all comes out the bottom neatly folded.

FoldiMate also uses the help of steam to remove wrinkles and your laundry can be perfumed or softened through optional capsules.

As of right now, you can reserve the right to reserve one for $100 and get a 10% discount off of the $700 – $850 price.

Actual reservations will happen in 2017 and FoldiMate is expected to ship in 2018.
FoldiMate
The website states they had 4500 reservations and there are only 71 spots left.  Did 4429 people actually reserve a laundry folding robot?

We have previously seen PR2 attempt to fold laundry among other household tasks.
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CISBOT

CISBOTAs seen recently in a Boston Globe article, CISBOT is a cast iron joint sealing robot.  Using CISBOT saves the gas company a lot of time and money.  In one day, with one hole, the robot can seal 6 joints.  Typically a human crew would need to dig one hole for every joint and it would take them about 3 days to fix one joint.

CISBOT is made by ULC Robotics and they make inspection and repair robots as well.

CISBOT works on a tether, sends back images and is controlled from above. Once the robot finds a seal that needs repairing, it drills a small hole and fills the area with sealant. CISBOT uses an anaerobic sealant that will last up to 50 years, saving the gas companies money.

Check out the video below of the robot in NYC.

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