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Thursday, February 28, 2002

Designers Take Robots Out of Human Hands
February 28, 2002

Those battling robots on television may look fierce and formidable, but they are simply the digital successors to the Wizard of Oz, with humans pulling the levers — or joysticks — behind the scenes. It's a lot trickier to create robots that can cope with complicated jobs on their own.
Researchers are working to create just such independent robots, endowing them with enough intelligence and versatility to be, in the jargon of the field, autonomous — able to work out complex problems by computer without help from their creators.

Chicago Tribune | `Nervous' toys, kind of dumb, are enlivening robotics
Like animals, they respond by sensors to environment
By Barnaby J. Feder
New York Times News Service
Published February 25, 2002

Mark Tilden recalls being a lonely child, repeatedly uprooted by his family's moves around Canada. He took comfort in his gift for constructing toys, especially mobile toys.
"I was born a compulsive builder," Tilden said. "I made my first robot out of sticks and rubber bands when I was 3."
Tilden, now 41 and a resident of Los Alamos, N.M., figures he has made thousands more since then. His designs have included machines to explore other planets, mine-clearing devices, toilet bowl cleaners and, more recently, a line of toys called BIO-Bugs.
The footlong creatures, which vaguely resemble roaches despite having just four legs, were a hit at the 2001 Toy Fair in New York and were brought to market last fall by Hasbro.

New Zealand News - Technology - Robo-roach to eat up the dirt

Every home in First World countries will have its own cockroach-shaped robot to do the housework within 20 years, says a new New Zealand research team.
The three-person team of robotics experts moved en bloc from South Africa's Natal University to open a new research centre at Massey University's Albany campus.
"Humanoid robots are available in Japan already. They can go round and do all the work in the home," said Professor Glen Bright, Natal's youngest associate professor and, at 35, head of Massey's research centre.