Three Years Since Curiosity Has Landed on Mars
Indeed, on Wednesday this week there have been three years since NASA’s rover Curiosity has been roaming around Mars seeking evidence of life.
As you may know already Suidobashi Heavy Industries accepted the challenge issued by Megabots on the condition that it will be only a melee combat with no weapons involved. Earlier this week the Megabots team issued another response in which they say they will want to fight in both ways and will further prepare and upgrade the robot for this purpose.
The Americans say that they are assembling a team of engineers and fabricators and will be launching another – hopefully more successful – Kickstarter campaign soon to raise the funds required for this massive purpose – both literally and figuratively. Read more about the challenge here.
August 18 update: MegaBots have launched a campaign to raise US $500,000 to beef up the robot. They plan to upgrade their hydraulics, develop some basic melee combat weapons and make a faster and more agile tracked platform capable of reaching speeds over 20 km/h (15 mph). To ensure odds they’ve also recruited Greg Munson and Troy Roski founders of BattleBots, Mythbusters host Grant Imahara as well as engineers from NASA and IHMC Robotics.
The fifth generation of Aisoy1 comes with several new features and improvements while still retaining its very affordable price. Compared to the third generation introduced last year the new robot is powered by the Raspberry Pi 2 controller board, cloud support is introduced for a more refined experience while the Botmobile wheels and motors pack adds mobility to the robot.
Just like previous versions Aisoy1 V5 can be programmed in visual environments such as Scratch, Blockly and most standard IDEs and languages. The AIROS SDK is available for developers backed by a well-established community.
ReWalk Robotics introduced the sixth iteration of their well-known robotic exoskeleton aimed at enabling people with spinal cord injuries to walk on their feet again. The new ReWalk 6.0 features revised bracing to better distribute loads over the human body thus making it much easier and more comfortable to wear. The suit features a much sleeker design allowing it to be less intrusive and better integrate with the user’s lifestyle.
ReWalk suits are perhaps the most widely adopted and approved exoskeletons worldwide for medical and – very notably – for personal use as well, allowing people to quickly get back into the community and not just be bound to using these suits during rehabilitation sessions and such.
Another social robot seeks for your family’s attention these days on Indiegogo, it’s name is Buddy and comes from France. The robot can assist all members of the family in a number of ways – it can keep agendas, make suggestions based on search input, interface with smart home devices, it can keep kids entertained, and it can also perform surveillance of the house. Buddy can also be accessed remotely to let you see what’s going on at home. There are also several accessories that allow for customizing your robot.
Buddy was created by Rodolphe Hasselvander, former director of French robotics research institute CRIIF and founder of Blue Frog Robotics. While today’s personal robots are a far cry from our childhood’s highly intelligent robotic characters from movies and TV shows, this niche is steadily evolving and the Buddy robot is another step forward. In fact it seems that we crave for such robots – the US $100,000 campaign goal was reached in about a day.
Vortex is a robot that aims to familiarize kids with robotics in a very friendly and fun way. It is easily programmable by means of an iOS or Android mobile app, but it can be played with right out of the box thanks to various pre-installed games. The robot has been created by well known Chinese company DFRobot and has been launched on Kickstarter only a couple of days ago, already raising over half its intended goal.
DFRobot is a company specialized in creating educational robotics platforms, as well as hardware modules and components for major open-source platforms such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi. Vortex is intended “re-invent” robotic toys – to paraphrase its tagline – by offering good levels of interactivity, customization and a very affordable US $69 entry price.
Less than a week ago we have witnessed something a little out of the ordinary — American company MegaBots challenged Suidobashi Heavy Industries to a duel not between stock prices or annual reports but between the giant robots they’ve created. On July 5th the Japanese company accepted the challenge so the game in on between MegaBot mk. 2 and Kuratas just as long as there are no weapons involved. When the duel will take place is yet to be established.
So, who is our challenger? MegaBots Inc. surfaced in Fall 2014 introducing a giant robot concept in a Kickstarter campaign for raising 1.8 Million US Dollars. Funding was unsuccessful however Autodesk joined in helping the two founders and developers to bring their concept to life.