Thanks to our age-old need for communication today we have countless ways of getting in touch with each other from any part of the world. Telepresence robots added a new dimension by allowing us to explore and even interact with remote environments in a more familiar way. However since we don’t live in an utopian world budgets need to be taken into account, and one can only welcome cost effective telepresence solutions as they appear. RambleBot is one of these – an inexpensive telepresence robot that will set you back no more than US $199 in a standard configuration, while the few optional extras available right now will add up to no more than several tens of Dollars extra. The robot was designed with ease of use and practicality in mind, especially since it was born from the need of its founder and creator Matt Walker to keep more in touch with his kids overseas.
RambleBot Telepresence Robot | Photo: RambleBot
The RambleBot system is very simple – a smartphone other similar device running a dedicated app is interfaced with the robot allowing the remote user to connect with the robot over the Internet by means of a web service, and that’s it. However, as we will see in the following, there are some nice and useful touches that RambleBot aims to bring to the industry, such as increased security and very low maintenance. Matt was kind enough to provide extensive insights on the RambleBot system, pointed out current challenges, and also discussed about future development as well.
I’m sure that most of us have heard about the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, a revolutionary product introduced over a decade ago and of which millions of units were sold worldwide. Right now one of its co-inventors seeks to amaze us once again with CyPhy LVL 1 — a camera drone designed with absolute control simplicity in mind that could allow virtually anybody, regardless of their level of expertise, to fly and capture great aerial shots with it.
CyPhy LVL 1 Camera Drone | Photo: Cyphy Works
The LVL 1 drone is created by CyPhy Works, a company specialized in advanced UAVs and led by Helen Greiner, co-founder of iRobot. The campaign is already very successful, at the time of writing it has gathered almost half of it US $250,000 in less than a day.
Earlier this week a new 3D printer has been launched on Kickstarter promising to deliver high quality printed objects in a very compact, easy to use and affordable package. Called MoonRay this is a DLP-type printer employing photo sensitive resins and an energy efficient UV projector to deliver 100 micron XY plane resolution and 20 micron layer thickness for its prints at a printing speed of up to 2.5 cm or 1 inch per hour.
MoonRay 3D Printer | Photo: SprintRay
The MoonRay 3D printer has been created by American company SprintRay led by PhD graduate Jasper Jing Zhang and is already very successful, at the time of writing pledges for this project sum up to almost three times the US $100,000 goal.
This is perhaps the most interesting recent happening, on April 30th Tesla introduced Powerwall which is a battery technology and device which enables home users to store electricity – mainly from solar panels – and use it in case of power outages, and in theory could even enable them to disconnect from the grid and generate and store power autonomously. The technology is based on that of Lithiom-Ion batteries employed in Tesla vehicles and the system is fully scalable. Future developments expressed include even similar solutions designed for industrial use.
A broad selection of camera drones built for the most diverse purposes is available on the market nowadays, so what else could be new one might ask. Just launched on Kickstarter, Jackie proposes a slightly different approach – it aims to serve as an indoor security solution and could be regarded as a flying surveillance camera that allows users to remotely monitor their entire home from a smartphone, and aims to do this at an affordable price.
Jackie Security Camera Drone | Photo: whatdoesjackiesee.com
The project is the brainchild of Jackie Wu and Ritwik Ummalaneni, graduate students in the Robotics Master’s program at Northwestern University, and founders of startup Eighty Six Ninety-One Technologies focused on bringing a range of IoT products to the market in the future.
A lot of stuff is going on all the time in the robotics field, and new amazing ideas surface every day in the maker universe. In this new series of articles the focus will be on happenings and stories which I’ve found to be interesting, fun, or if they simply caught my attention. This will be by no means an exhaustive compendium where everything is covered, but rather a way to share and discuss about things. As usual, you can freely share your thoughts and enjoy.