What's an electronics show without a robot, or 20. Well there weren't many at CES this week. Robots must not be the way forward to mass consumer electronics manufacturers. But this one was cute, dorky, and according to the rep, easy to build for your own home (AI not coming soon). And, as far as vendors go, this company (whose site is not up) was one those vendors that just seemed genuinely nice, unlike many massive CES booths that made you feel like you're at a cell phone store - impersonal and livestock-like. So, when robots come … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Back in the '90s, iRobot worked on a robot that could help drill for oil.
Then oil dropped from $30 to $20 a barrel, and interest among potential customers dropped too, said iRobot CEO Colin Angle during a meeting at this week's Consumer Electronics Show here. With oil bouncing around $100 a barrel now, that chucked idea may make a comeback, he said.
Drilling for oil is sort of misnomer, Angle noted. The ground doesn't consist of hidden lakes of liquid petrochemicals. Instead, oil is encased in porous rock, Angle said. To get at it, oil drillers … Read more
A new aquatic UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) is skimming the briny deep. It's the Flying Fish, fresh out of the labs at the University of Michigan. According to its developers, the seaplane can take off, fly, and land autonomously in moderate seas some 6 feet high, all while performing surveillance functions and relaying information back to a home base. Considering the technical complexity of taking off and landing on pontoons in choppy water, this is no small feat. According to MSNBC: "The craft (has) to acquire data all the while, through the onboard inertial gyro sensors it uses … Read more
We won't venture to guess why spy bots are so popular on the consumer market, but there's just one question that continues to nag us: Is anybody really fooled by their appearance? It's one thing if they're pawned off as some sort of RC robot or toy, but the design of this latest entry pretty much broadcasts its intent.
The "Spy Snooper Robot Vehicle" from iiRobotics has what looks like a mini-satellite dish and antenna mounted atop a six-wheeled tank, ready to capture every word from the subject under surveillance. It does have a … Read more
Established defense contractor iRobot has prevailed in courtroom battles against Robotic FX, effectively gaining an unconditional surrender from the upstart military-industrial wannabe.
Late on Friday, Burlington, Mass.-based iRobot said that two federal courts had ruled in its favor. The U.S. District Court in Massachusetts determined that Robotic FX and founder Jameel Ahed--a former iRobot employee--had misused trade secrets belonging to iRobot, while the U.S. District Court in Northern Alabama determined that Robotic FX had deliberately infringed on patents.
As if that weren't enough, a related settlement requires the disbanding of Robotic FX, with certain assets to … Read more
Any jokes about Google becoming a self-aware, humanity-destroying robot got a little closer to fruition yesterday. Google Talk (download the desktop widget), Google's homemade Jabber-based chat client, is now host to 24 (and counting) new translation bots that will take whatever text you throw at it and convert it to the appropriate language. Each of the bots was built with an open protocol called XMPP that lets anyone build their own bots and share them on the Google Talk network--as long as you've got some place to host them.
The new bots become particularly useful if you invite … Read more
In the world of robot makers--specifically, those making small, versatile, ground-hugging bots--for quite some time there were just two main contenders for Pentagon dollars: Foster-Miller and iRobot. Then along came an upstart named Robotic FX, which a few months back up-ended things by winning a $286 million deal from the Army to supply some 3,000 robots. And then, wouldn't you know it, iRobot took Robotic FX to court. The upshot? Today, that $286 million is headed iRobot's way.
Read about it on Wired's Danger Room blog: "'Unmanned Surge' Deal Reversed"
Those entering online dating forums risk having more than their hearts stolen.
A program that can mimic online flirtation and then extract personal information from its unsuspecting conversation partners is making the rounds in Russian chat forums, according to security software firm PC Tools.
The artificial intelligence of CyberLover's automated chats is good enough that victims have a tough time distinguishing the "bot" from a real potential suitor, PC Tools said. The software can work quickly too, establishing up to 10 relationships in 30 minutes, PC Tools said. It compiles a report on every person it meets … Read more