Friday, June 10, 2005

Wabian-2 Offer Impressive Flexibility

Wabian-2, developed by Waseda University, has the legs with 7 degrees of freedom allowing any change of leg direction not restricted by the postures of pelvis and legs. Integrating arms and a featureless head, the version on display at Aichi is a significant advancement over what was last on the group's website.

The group has also developed a variety of robots from a walking platform, a flautist, an emotion bot, and even an anatomically-accurate(vocally speaking) talking bot.

Humanoid Android Mimics Human Appearance/Motion

Developed by researchers at Osaka University, Repliee Q1 is a the second of a pair of robots designed to mimic the appearance and motion of humans.

Covered in a silicone skin which closely mimics the appearance and flexibility of human skin, the android appears eerily lifelike. Once you see it moving, however, the illusion is quickly dispelled.

Repliee Q1 (pictured left) and Repliee R1, based on the look of a 5-year old girl, are designed as test beds to study human-machine interaction. The researchers felt that making the machines' as similar as possible to living people would help make people more comfortable with them, but I have to wonder if the effort was wasted, since as the researchers admit that as verisimilitude is approached the level of comfort drops precipitously.

It might have been more successful to simply create analogs of emotive features such as the eyes, brows, and mouth and concentrate on the interaction not the physical expression.

Repliee R1 is serving as a tour guide at a booth in the Aichi Prototype Robot Pavilion this summer.

Tasty Robot Doubles As Dietician

NEC showed off their "Health/Food Advice Robot" Thursday at the Aichi Robot Pavilion. Capable of distinguishing food an a fine level, even distiguishing different types of cheese and bread, the robot can keep a detailed record of what you've eaten and warn you if your diet isn't as balanced as it should be.

Projecting infrared light, the robot can measure the spectrum of the reflected light to determine the chemical makeup of the food. Cross-referencing that with an internal database, the precise food can be identified.

This functionality opens up a whole new realm of interaction and awareness for robots. The same technique of identifying the makeup of food could also be used in industrial environments or for environmental monitoring.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Exoskeleton Amplifies Movements

With an incredibly sleek design the HAL-5 prototype exoskeleton may be just thing for those wanting to strike out on there career as superheros or technovillains.

Even thought you might expect response to be slow, the system use bioelectric sensors which can detect and trigger the motors faster than your own nervous and muscular systems. The system also learns the user's movement patterns allowing it to anticipate and follow the user's expectations even more closely.

The upper body system allows the user to lift 40kg, 88lbs, more than they typically would be able to.

At 33lbs the system includes all the batteries, motors and electronics needed. But you're not lugging around a lot of weight. "It's like riding on a robot, rather than wearing one," according to Yoshiyuki Sankai of the University of Tsukuba who has been working to realize the suit for ten years.

According to New Scientist, a version of the suit may be available for sale in Japan by the end of the year costing in the range of $14,000 to $19,000.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

North American Robotic Sales Up, Diversifying

In 2004 North American manufacturers purchased 14,838 robots with a market value of nearly $1 billion, a 20% rise in units over the previous year. Automotive industry purchases accounted for 64% of the total in 2004, down from 68% in 2003, indicating increased usage in industries such as food, pharmaceuticals, electronics, aerospace, and life sciences.

Industrial robotic manufacturers are moving to support that trend adding machines specifically designed for the food or phamaceutical handling markets.

Adept Technology Inc. of Livermore, CA, has added a line of articulated robots called the AdeptViper. The robot is being used by various industries with an especially large order for cellular phone assembly.

Fanuc Robotics has added to the LR Mate 200iB/5WP line with a food robot that can perform such tasks as putting protective lids on trays containing ready-to-eat dinners and is designed to be doused by sanitizers.

Robotic Bartending For Fun And Profit

Industrial robot maker Motoman has come out with a robotic bartender called RoboBar. With two arms, a video screen for a face, and dressed to the nines in a tuxedo, the machine is designed to turn heads and draw attention. But Motoman intends for this to be a serious business tool as well.

The company notes that RoboBar will always pour its drinks consistently meaning better inventory control. Plus with a mean-time between failure of 60,000 hours and a cost of 30 cents per hour to operate, you'll find a hard time finding a barkeep that will meet those requirements.

Customers order their drinks from a touch-sensitive screen. RoboBar mixes them up and dishes them out. It can even fill a tray of drinks for delivery elsewhere.

The company's motto for RoboBar is "We already make your car, let us make your drink."

Six-Legged Rescue Robot

Engineers at Osaka University's Arai Lab have built a six-limbed robot that can be used for search and rescue walking on unleveled ground and hanging from net-shaped wires.

The robot, named Asterisk, can operate autnomously or can be remote controlled via a wireless connection sneding video back to the operator. The robot is on display at the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi Prefecture.

Monday, June 06, 2005

DARPA Grand Challenge - SemiFinalists Announced

DARPA has selected the 40 semifinalist teams which will be competing in the 2005 Grand Challenge. All of the eight teams previously profiled here have been selected compete.

Congratulations to all of the Semifinalists and I hope all of the others keep on working to complete their machines. Hopes are high that several of the teams will be able to complete the course this Fall.

Even after the prize is won, robotic racing may emerge as a competitive sport much as robotic fighting leagues have sprouted up all around the country.

The winning teams are listed below:

A.I. Motorvators

Autonomous Vehicle Systems


Axion Racing

BJB Engineering

Blue Team



Desert Buckeyes

Gray Team

Indiana Robotic Navigation

Indy Robot Racing Team

Insight Racing

Intelligent Vehicle Safety Technologies I 



Oregon WAVE

Palos Verdes High School  Road Warriors

Red Team

Red Team Too

SciAutonics/Auburn Engineering

Stanford Racing Team


Team Banzai

Team CajunBot

Team Caltech

Team Cornell

Team DAD


Team Jefferson

Team Juggernaut

Team Overbot

Team TerraMax

Team Tormenta

Team UCF

Terra Engineering

The Golem Group / UCLA

The MITRE Meteorites

Virginia Tech Grand Challenge Team

Virginia Tech Team Rocky

"The high quality of vehicle performance that we witnessed during the site visits is truly impressive," said DARPA Director Dr. Anthony Tether. "We are thrilled with the sheer excitement about developing autonomous ground vehicles that the Grand Challenge has sparked among people from all walks of life. It was difficult to winnow the field from the 118 great teams to only 40 - the competition was tough."

20 or 22( some groups entered several vehicles this year) of the SemiFinalists competed in the 2004 Grand Challenge giving them a huge lead in time and experience over the rest of the field. But from reviewing a number of the submissions this time around, it looks to me like many of the newbies have somterrificic machines which will give the more seasoned competitors a run for their money.

Now that the field has been narrowed, Robots Next plans to provide a detailed review of each teams offering before the big race October 8th.

P.S. For those of you interested in getting into the technical details, DARPA hosts a lively discussion board covering all aspectes of the vehicles and control system design.

Air Force Replaces Reserve Squadrons With Predators

Moving quickly along the path towards a robotic military, the Air Force is replacing a reserve fighter aircraft squadrons in North Dakota with a pair of Predator UAVs. North Dakota will eventually have 12 of the aircraft.

Interestingly, this will actually cause an increase in needed manpower from 35 to 70 pilots since the planes are operated around the clock. A total of 500-600 personnel will be based in Fargo to support the Predators.

The Air National Guard base in North Dakota will also become the second US base for the Global Hawk.

Over the next few years the Air Force plans to deploy 7 more squadrons of 12 Predators each around the country expanding the total number of squadrons to 15. Over the next few years it plans to buy 51 Global Hawks to augment the 5 it currently has.

Dance Dance Revolution?

After six years of research, a new age is finally upon us thanks to Kazuhiro Kosuge and his team at the Department of Bioengineering and Robotics at Tohoku University. Designed to address the looming shortage of dance partners, the Pertner Ballroom Dance Robot at 5 feet 6 inchaes and 220 pounds is light on her feet. Designed to respond to her partners movements and capable of moving in any direction on her three wheels, the robot was given a decidedly artifical exterior of shiny blue or red and mickey mouse ears to make sure there was no confusion with the real thing.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Open Source Reality

Two researchers from opposite sides of the world have embarked on a project which they hope may change production, economics, and the very fabric of human society forever.

Find out more at my new blog:
Tomorrow Next.

IBM Supercomputer To Model Entire Human Brain

IBM's Blue Gene and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have embarked on a project who's eventual goal is to create a functioning computer simulation of the entire human brain. Beginning with a simulation of a column of neurons in the neocortex of a rat brain, the team hopes to eventually expand to cover the whole brain, but they admit they don't yet have the computational power:

"The whole supercomputer is going to act as a single neocortical circuit...We won't have enough computing power in the next 10 years to simulate the whole brain," according to Henry Markram, director of the University's Brain and Mind Institute.

"The neocortical microcircuit is very similar from mouse to man," Markram said. "It's a project that could explain how the human cognitive process works. We'd be able to witness in detail how information is processed, how it is stored and retrieved. And it's going to save an immense amount of animal research."

The IBM Press Release provides more details.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Antennae Offer Robotic Possibilities

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF and the University of Bielefeld have designed robotic antennae. Modeled on biology, the antenna provides touch feedback while being actuated by a pair of motors.

The researchers have integrated their antennae with hexapod robot. The motors move the feeler an oval-shaped path. Depending on where on the antenna it contacts an object an accelerometer measures changes to the oscillation frequency at the tip.

According to the researchers, "Mobile robots could be equipped with the sensor, for instance, because many optical sensors and camera systems fail in dusty or dirty environments."

Motherboard Maker Micro-Star Debuts E2R-H3

Micro-Star International, better known for its motherboards than its robots, is debuting a small pc-augmented robot at Computex. Capable of voice and face recognition via software on a blue-tooth connected PC, the biped robot can also perform a few tai-chi and kung-fu moves, "albeit slowly" according to the article.

The company is looking for investor to develop the robot for consumer applications.

It looks to me like this might simply be a Robo-one kit combined with a blue-tooth-enabled webcam/microphone.

Japanese Researchers Develop Technology To Aid Robotic Hearing

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has developed a hearing system for robots to allow them to focus on a speaker's voice even in a noisy environment.

Combining the signals from eight microphones with visual acquisition of the speaker's location, the system allow can determine which sounds originated from the speaker. The pristine signal is then fed to the speech-recognition system for analysis.

X-47B Joint Unmanned Combat Air System

Northrop Grumman has begun construction of the first X-47B designed to be deployed from both aircraft carriers and land bases. The stealth plane will also be capable of automatic aerial refueling. Designed for both persistent surveillance and reconnaissance as well precision attacks on ground targets, design based on the plane should begin entering service early in the next decade.

For more information visit the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems J-UCAS site.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Robotic Pharmacists Take Over

This article about the installation of a Parata robotic pharmacy system in Alexandria, Louisiana covers some of the final mopping up as the machines are installed in the last corners of country. By the end of the year you will likely be hard pressed to find a pharmacy which isn't using one of these systems.

While the Parata system is only being used to dispense the most frequently prescribed medications, the economics of the industry and the advancing capabilities of robotics mean that the Pharmacists will soon handle only the customer facing side of the equation.

This article in Script magazine tells the story.

Previous story on Robot Pharmacists

Toyota Promises Robot Servants By 2010

Toyota aims to bring robotic servants to the home by 2010. The company hopes that descendats of its QRIO robot will be able to aid the elderly and serve tea.

The company is planning to set-up a liason committe with its group members to move forward on the project.

Robosapien V2 To See, Hear and Speak

Robosapien V2 due out this fall promises groundbreaking features. According to Mark Tilden, inventor of Beam Robotics and the Robosapien line, "V2 has its own personality, and every now and again he will just get up and start walking around by himself."

It can visually identify object such as cups or balls, pick them up and return them to their controller.

At 60cm, 25cm greater than its predecessor, and with twice as many motors, Robosapien V2 is quite an advance.

The original Robosapien has found quite a following in the hobbyist community. The advanced features of the next incarnation are likely to make it even more appealing.

Note: Prices listed in the article are in Hong Kong Dollars. US prices are likely to be about a tenth of what was mentioned; most likely around $200.

Robots To Interact Freely With Visitors At London Aquarium

As part of an experimental program on integrating robots with humans, the London Aquarium will staff its entrance with a number of robots through the summer to see how the visitors relate to them.

A team of researchers from the University of Essex will provide three robotic tour guides which will approach and greet visitors as they enter. Responding to voice and registering emotive reactions, the robots will try to engage the visitors and conversation and present them with a number of attractions on their chest-mounted screens.

Other robots including humanoids and large teddy bears will join the project through the summer.

The University of Essex researchers are open sourcing their software which uses neural networks, allowing the robots to theoretically learn from their mistakes. The team has high hopes for the machines:

"Because they have the potential to detect rudimentary emotions via cameras in their eyes, such as when tourists are bored, it is hoped that by early next year the robots will identify lost, crying children, calm down stressed individuals, or provide entertainment for people waiting in queues."

Friday, May 27, 2005

Wired Covers The Development Of The Robotic Air Force

Wired magazine has put up an excellent article which chronicles the revolution that is happening in the US military as it converts to a robotic force.

"The whole thing, from legal decision to command to execution, took five minutes. Tacticians call that time line - target acquisition, deployment of force, order to attack, destruction of target - the "sensor-to-shooter cycle" or "kill chain." It's a measure of any military's reflexes; in Gulf War I, the kill chain was often three days."

"Air Force planners aim to buy 144 more armed Predators, boosting the number of squadrons from 3 to 15."

The Air Force still seems to be caught up in the fighter jock mentality, allowing only certified fighter pilots to take the stick of their drones. The Army is taking a different tack with over 800 drones in combat flown by soldiers in the field.

In 1996 troops armed with drones were the first ever to defeat the trainers at the National Training Center in Fort Irvin, CA. The drones allowed the challengers to spot every move the elite training force was making.

Deployed via land, sea and air MilBots are fundamentally changing warfare as we know it.

Australian Groups Hopes To Revolutionize Mining

Striking a collaboration agreement with MIT Australia's CSIRO hopes to parlay that to access into offering its robotic mining technology around the world.

In December, the team completed a successful fourth trial of its Landmark automation system at the Beltana long wall mine in New South Wales without operator input or interruption of mine production.

Mining is still one of the dirtiest and dangerous professions on earth. Trying to solve these issues was what led to the creation of the original steam engine and helped drive the industrial revolution. I wouldn't be surprised if within a decade nearly all mining in industrialized countries was completely automated.

FeiFei - The Dancing Robot

Developed at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Automation in Beijing, FeiFei a child-sized robot is capable of dancing as well and walking and talking. IT can even detect applause using cameras and respond by saluting or applauding back.

Going beyond simply mimicking motion , the robot also model emotional states and has more than 12 joints in its face allowing it to mimic more than 40 human expressions.

FeiFei is capable of answering simple questions.

The institute has the aim of developing robots for entertainment purpose going up against Honda and Sony in Japan. "We'd like to upgrade our robots to the level of people's home companions just like the Japanese Asimo and Aibo," according to Li Chengrong, a leading robot scientist.

OCRobotics Snake-Arm

English company OCRobotics markets a snake-arm robot useful for remotely accessing tight spaces where control and maneuverability are critical.

The arm was used in 2003 to repair a damaged pipe in reactor in Sweden which was otherwise inaccessible.

The arm has also be wed to a mobile platform for use in remote inspection and defense work for the UK Ministry of Defense.

The tentacle like design is controlled via cables running back to motors which allow for fine control of the individual segments. The arms can be controlled using a variety of modes. Joystick control using tip mounted cameras allows remote operators to guide the arm to its target without worrying about movement of the individual segments. Path following or 'nose-following' means that each segment will follow the motion of the tip. A Cartesian mode allows the operator to specify where relative to the base they want the tip to be located.

The accuracy of the control is impressive with a 60mm diameter arm under joystick control having a spatial resolution of better than 50 microns, capable of tracking lines in space. That precise motion can be achieved even while carrying a 10kg payload.

The design of the arm is inherently modular allowing for easy interchange of end effectors and mounting to the drive unit to a variety of different bases.

Videos of the arm in operation are available on the site.

Via RoboticsDaily

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Engadget Visits the Intelligent Robotics Research Center at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology

A correspondent for Engadget visited the Korean Intelligent Robots Research Center and received a tour around the lab. Interesting notes:

"Each brain actually consists of four to five computer stations connected to a server, one each for voice/speech recognition, face recognition, object recognition, motion and movement, and general AI features such as speech."

The robots should have deductive reasoning by the end of the year.

Dr. Beomjae Yoo, Director of the center, expects " non-humanoid household bots in to be widespread within three years, but that humanoid bots will most likely take a decade or more before they’re ready for primetime."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Robotic Controllable Endoscope Available In Europe By The End Of The Year

Japanes company Olympus has developed a robotic endoscope system which it ready to begin marketing by the end of 2005. 26mm long the capsule is designed to be swallowed but is then capable of self-propulsion through the GI tract. Powered externally via magnetic induction, the capsule is capable of sustained duration inside the body.

The capsule can carry drug payloads for precise delivery and is also capable of extracting small amounts of body fluids for examination upon retrieval. Additionally, the capsule is capable of generating ultrasound from within the body allowing higher quality imaging than with existing ultrasound techniques.

WallWalker To Clean High-Rise Windows

Miraikikai, a company founded to commercialize research from Kagawa University, will be showing off it's WallWalker robot at the World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. The machine can stick to windows and clean them autonomously.

Toyota Deploys Automated Buses To Aichi Expo

The Intelligent Multimode Transportation System (IMTS)developed by Toyota is zipping as many as 18,400 people per day around the Aichi Expo in Japan. The vehicles use automatic steering and control based on magnetic markers embedded in the center of the road to stay within their lane. They can also automatically form platoons using wireless communication. Powered by compressed natural gas, 13 of the vehicles are in operation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Shadow Dexterous Hand

London-based Shadow Robot Company is offering for sale a new robotic hand design which couples 186 force sensors with individually powered joints. The hand is actuated by 36 air muscles which are powered by compressed air.

An optional tactile system is available which covers the fingertips with 34 tactels each and the phalanges with an array of larger tactels.

PDF Technical Overview

Video of the hand twisting off a cap.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Singapore Deploys New Robotic Fleet

Singapore unveiled its new fleet of Spartan Scout Unmanned Surface Vessels(USV). Augmenting an existing fleet of Protector fleet, the Spartans will allow "ships to deploy such a vessel without getting the men into too close contact with a suspicious boat, which may have undesirable intentions," according to Singapore's Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean.

The USVs are controlled by a central warship and are equipped with surveillance gear and weapons allowing them to be used for a variety of missions.

The USVs were codeveloped with the US Military. Singapore recently deployed a fleet of Protector USVs near Iraq to aid American forces.

Robots are being deployed for military purposes at an exponential rate. In 5 years the face of warfare will likely be robotic.

Throw Out The Mop - It's Time To Scooba!

Coming later this year, the Scooba from iRobot promises to keep your hard surfaces clean. The device is designed to vacuum up loose particles, apply a cleaner to remove dirt, and then dry the floor. The process should be safe for wood floors in addition to tile and linoleum.

Over a million Roombas have been sold in the two-and-a-half years they've been on the market.

The company plans to bring out other domestic robots in the future. "What I want is something that will fold my laundry," noted iRobot CEO Colin Angle.

iRobot now has a video and animation of the cleaning process of the Scooba up on their website. It's actually more impressive than I initially thought. The Scooba is able to clean, scrub and dry the floor in a single pass. It does look like you may have to invest in a supply of special Clorox cleaning solution, but if it does what it claims that may be an investment I'm willing to make.

UM OmniTread SnakeBot

The Mobile Robotics Lab at the University of Michigan has developed a novel "snakebot" design. Called the OmniTread, it is covered over 80% of its body with treads that allow the robot to conquer obstacles which stymie other machines.

Divided into 5 segments, the snakebot is connected down the center by a long driveshaft which powers the treads. The machine uses bellows in each joint to lift and turn segments. The bellows are capable of providing enough power to lift two segments at once to surmount obstacles.

According to the article, "In one test, the OmniTread climbed an 18-inch curb, which is more than twice its height. It also crossed a 66-centimeter trench, which is half its length. In another test, it inched up a pipe by pushing against opposite walls."

General Dynamic Allocated $50m More For MilBots

General Dynamics Robotics Systems of Westminster, Md., has received $50.7 million in additional funding for its Army Future Combat Systems Autonomous Navigation System from Future Combat Systems integrator Science Application Corp. The funding is to support designing and manufacturing a system to control several of the 18 test vehicles which make up the program including the Multifunctional Utility Logistics Equipment (MULE) platform, Armed Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) and Manned Ground Vehicles (MGV). The system will provide navigation, path-planning and vehicle-following functionality.

The Stryker vehicle following technology was featured on the May 20th edition of Discoveries This Week. The program noted that anticipated deployment of the system was in two years.

DARPA Grand Challenge - MonsterMoto's "JackBot"

MonsterMoto's "JackBot" vehicle completed it's DARPA site visit on May 11th. The MonsterMoto team of amateur off-road racers has turned their expertise towards converting a 4-wheel odd-road vehicle into an autonomous ground vehicle.

The team has posted a video of their vehicle going through the paces on a test route.

DARPA Grand Challenge - Oregon Wave Runner

On May 10th the Oregon Wave Runner team put their vehicle through the paces for a DARPA Site Visit:

"The best run of the day was perfect, the vehicle was able to follow waypoints quickly and precisely. I don't think we lost any points on obstacles or boundaries, it was completed in a ball-park of 2 minutes. The worst run involved mowing through a trash can and then getting the can stuck on the vehicle's right front wheel! The other regulation run and the final fourth run went fine except for some challenges with boundaries and obstacle avoidance respectively."

The demonstration course was 200m in length and included turns, steep grades and uneven ground.

The team of 30 OSU students is utilizing an existing OSU Mini-Baja vehicle which placed second in the 2003 Mini-Baja West endurance race and first in the 2004 race. Modifications include terrain sensors, vision systems, servo controlled steering, and other features.

DARPA Grand Challenge - Team Mojávaton

Team Mojávaton of Grand Junction, Colorado are preparing a 2001 Nissan Xterra 4x4 to compete in the DARPA Grand Challenge this Fall. The team already has an operational vehicle which it has been field testing.

They've posted an impressive video of the vehicle avoiding human cut-outs and navigating along a desert road.

The strength of the competitors this time around is impressive. I would venture to say that if a team hasn't been field testing its bot for a few months now, that it is going to be out of the running.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

QinetiQ Achieves First Automated Landing of a STOVL Aircraft

Using a technology called Autoland, a experimental Harrier jet landed vertically on the deck of the HMS Invincible. The technology QinetiQ, a British defense company, developed follows on their early work at abstracting the piloting experience using a technology called Unified. The landing achievement paves the way for use of the technology in the Joint Strike Fighter allowing missions in weather conditions that would previously not have been possible.

The company also anticipates that the technology will enable the operation of UAVs from ships. Sounding a little desperate, the company notes that "Humans Still Matter."

Friday, May 20, 2005

Matsushita Electric Works Introduces Ultrasound Sensor With Increased Resolution

Matsushita Electric Works has introduced a novel ultrasound sensor which can enable "an autonomous robot to distinguish between closely positioned object and navigate between them." The firm plans to use the sensor in its robot Hospi which is used to transports charts and medications within a hospital.

Toshiba Showcases Two New "Home Life Support" Robots

Toshiba will be presenting two new robots at the Aichi Expo from June 9th to June 19th.

ApriAlpha version 3, is the latest iteration of a robot which is designed to identify and track multiple speakers and interact with them in simple conversations. ApriAlpha is pictured in the foreground of the picture at right.

ApriAttenda is designed to accompany people and maintain a constant distance. It is even capable of maintaining contact through cluttered environments with other people present. If it loses contact with the person it is following it is designed to search and try to restore contact.

The robots are considered testbeds along the way to producing machines which can act as companions and assistants. Commercialization of the technology is projected in about 6 years.

Robosapien V3 to "do tasks around the house" !

Art Janis, Vice President and National Sales Manager at WowWee revealed to British publication T3a number of details about the next-next generation of Robosapien:

“...we want to add the ability for it do tasks around the house, help a person and live with them… he can help a mother around the home, help a guy pick up things, maybe turn on the television, maybe wake you up in the morning.”

“Robosapien V3 has to be bigger. You’re looking at maybe a foot taller.”

“We want to make it so you can call him, tell him what to do and eliminate a controller completely”

You can look forward to the V3 sometime in 2007.

DARPA Grand Challenge - Stanford Racing

New Scientist is covering Stanley, Stanford's entry for the DARPA Grand Challenge. Clocking hundreds of miles of practice, the Stanford team is confident of Stanley's chances to outperform its rivals in the race this fall. Unlike the 2004 race where many of vehicles had not even been tested, many teams this time around are already in the testing phase and the teams have been able to refine the sensor systems and driving algorithms. Stanley has already driven dozens of miles along last year's course.

The team's website is at