Most of the current robot population is made up from toys or industrial manufacturing systems. As we see more advanced robotic toys in our homes, we are also beginning to see practical robots that can help us with our daily lives. This page will show you some examples of such robots, and where you can get one for yourself.
The Robosapien is a humanoid, biped robot, capable of performing a range of surprisingly advanced functions. The first breed of Robosapien was released in 2003, but now a new generation has been released with even more features. Mark Tildens latest model, the 'Robosapien V2' is a whopping 2 feet tall. Being much bigger means more room for high tech electronic gizmos!
This Robosapien V2 can walk around whilst talking to you or its pet dinosaur, Roboraptor. It can even interact with objects using its precision gripping, articulated fingers. A multitude of sensor systems, such as laser tracking, infrared vision, and colour vision, allow the Robosapien to be highly dynamic in the way in which it interacts with the environment.
This robot is not only an amazing toy but it represents the next generation of robotic entertainment. The systems developed for the Robosapien are paving the way for the technology of the future.
Robot arms are often used in industrial manufacturing processes. They are gradually replacing human laborers as they can work non stop 24/7, and the work they produce is highly precise and repeatable. New robotic systems may be very expensive to set up, but they will often generate enough revenue to cover the initial costs in a matter of months.
Most industrial robots functions are done 'blind'. This means that it is simply following pre-programmed moves in sequence, without using sensors (except position encoders) to verify that it is functioning correctly.
This method is commonly used as it is much cheaper than others, but it also has its drawbacks. An accidental collision will cost a lot to fix. Not only is production stopped, but also the tool needs to be millimeter perfect due to the 'blind' action of the robot.
Simply replacing the damaged parts is not always possible as it is extremely difficult to get an exact replacement. Often the robot must be reprogrammed to compensate for the slight differences in the new parts.
I made the first post on Robots.net more 15 years ago on 25 February 2001. Since then, rog-a-matic, The Swirling Brain, and steve have written more than 3600 blog posts about robots and artificial intelligence news. You probably noticed we took a bit of a break the last year or so (thanks to the Robot Podcast crew for keeping the news going during that time). Lately we've been evaluating whether to do a reboot and start posting again or retire the blog. Today you can get robot news everywhere, so there's not as a much of a need for our specialized reporting. Also, we relied heavily on income from Google ads to pay for all this but the days of making money that way are long gone. So, as much as I still love talking about robots, I think we've come to the end of our long, robotic road. As Jerzy said at the end of Rudy Rucker's The Hacker and the Ants, "The robots were out in the world and doing fine. I'd done enough for the robots."
But maybe you'd like to pick up where we left off? We're open to the possibility of selling the site or even just the domain. Let us know if you're interested. More..
Since May 2007, my colleagues at the Robots Podcast and at Robohub and I have been working with robots.net to bring you the latest news and views on robotics. For the past 4 years, much of robots.net's reporting has been by John Payne (or John_RobotsPodcast, as most of you will know him). With John leaving his post(ing), and Robohub coming into its own, it's now time to consolidate these efforts. I'd like to thank John for his incredibly dependable and insightful reporting throughout the years, and Steve for giving me the opportunity to join this community and take my first tentative steps as a blogger under his expert guidance many years ago! To continue to receive your robotics news, join us at http://robohub.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or via RSS (podcast only)/RSS (all Robohub news).