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Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Gizmo::Robots show off at CEATEC
Tuesday November 11, 2003


The fledgling home robotics market is set to become a multi-billion dollar global industry over the next decade and many of the technologies that will underpin the coming revolution - like those showcased last month at CEATEC Japan 2003 - are already with us.
Several leading robotics manufacturers demonstrated advances in movement, dexterity and intelligence at CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) which adopted the theme 'Ubiquitous Community-Forward to the Next Stage.'
Among them was HOAP-2, a robot trained in the Chinese martial art called taijiquan from Fujitsu that can stomp like a sumo wrestler and even stand on its head. Fujitsu plans to market a limited number of the robots to universities and companies in 2004.
"gmorph 3" from Wind River Systems also demonstrated exceptional agility and dexterity - its array of pressure sensors and 30 compact motors allow the robot to walk upright and perform complex movements including back flips.

iRobot's Robots Clear Land Mines And Clean Your House
Most fascinating is a product called Swarm. In a room, 16 small, square robots on wheels are scattered on the floor. Each one has three lights on top resembling a traffic light--red, yellow and green. The point of the Swarm project is to be able to program lots of robots to communicate with each other using proprietary Behavior Language software. And we're not talking about 10 or even 100 bots, but 10,000 or more. The name 'Swarm' comes from the robots' ability to work like insects.
'We especially looked at the behavior of ants and bees for this,' says James McLurkin, Swarm Project Manager. 'We don't want to copy their behavior, but want to look at a working system that basically recruits workers to different sites.'
The robots communicate using an infrared light signal that begins with a chosen leader (which has an antenna on its head) and then spreads to the rest. So essentially, they 'talk' to each other. When this happens, the lights begin flashing. Each light has an accompanying sound. The sounds tell the robots how far away they are from each other.

Technology Review: Segway Robot Opens Doors
Technology Research News November 11, 2003

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have crossed a robotic arm with the bottom half of a Segway to make a robot named Cardea that can traverse hallways and push open doors.
Cardea, named after the Roman goddess of thresholds and door pivots, is the one-armed first prototype of a robot designed to have three arms and the ability to safely interact with humans at eye level.