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Friday, December 07, 2001 Sony Aibo 4
It's a dog's life.
RRP £1,320.00
By Jason Jenkins [06-12-2001]
We have looked at Sony's Aibo twice before and have been impressed each time. Aibo is a robot that can respond to commands, interact with its environment and develop a limited personality based on its experiences.
The mouth is now dominated by a tiny digital camera a little like a webcam. There's also a switch that can be used to praise or scold Aibo for its behaviour, and a set of LEDs which shine blue if the dog's happy, and red if it's angry. There's an additional group of LEDs on its back.
The details of Aibo's character are stored on a Memory Stick. It needs special pink Memory Sticks that support a particular kind of copy protection to stop the software on them appearing on the internet as free downloads.
Sony has a Wireless WiFi (802.11b) card available as an optional extra for around £250. With this, and the right software (which is more money still), you can control the dog directly from your computer. It's possible to create your own tricks, which are then downloaded to the Memory Stick for the creature to perform.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Space News Robotic Insects Developed for Mars Exploration
December 3, 2001 08:00 CDT
Scientists are looking to insects in developing a flying robot that could greatly enhance any exploratory missions on Mars.
The thin Mars atmosphere, composed mostly of carbon dioxide and lacking oxygen for combustion, provides an inhospitable environment for conventional aircraft and helicopters. Compounding the challenge are size constraints imposed by the spacecraft delivering air vehicles to Mars.
But the flapping wing "Entomopter," a patented mechanical insect capable of both flying and crawling, may be ideal for meeting the demanding requirements of Mars aerial exploration.