Category Archives: Robot

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Shape-shifting Table from the MIT Media Lab

April 17th, 2014 | Robot

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Behold the new shape-shifting table created by the folks at the MIT Media Lab. The idea is relatively simple: a camera picks up motion in one place and transmits that motion into a new 3D space using a system of blocks attached to motors. As you can see in the video, the execution is extremely impressive. The whole system works in real time, with hardly any discernible lag.

The project titled, “Transform,” was created by Daniel Leithinger and Sean Follmer, overseen by their professor Hiroshi Ishii.

“A pixel is intangible,” Ishii told Dezeen. “You can only use it through mediating and remote control, like a mouse or a touchscreen. We decided to physically embody computation and information.”

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The implications for this technology may be far-reaching. I had a discussion with visual artist Ashley May recently about possibilities to further connect people from a distance. You may already use Skype and FaceTime to have realtime conversations with your friends and family across the world, but currently, there is no way to reach out and physically touch your loved ones. Maybe technology like the shape-shifting table (or its future models) will allow you to hold your friend’s hand, or give them a hug… Distance seems to becoming irrelevant in our ever more connected world.

-RSB

Robotic Kangaroo

April 16th, 2014 | Robot

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Festo has a knack for creating incredibly realistic robotic animals (see Dragonfly & Jellyfish). The company’s new product is the Robotic Kangaroo seen above.

Here’s a word from Festo:

“On the artificial kangaroo, Festo intelligently combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology to produce a highly dynamic system. The stable jump kinematics plus the precise control technology ensure stability when jumping and landing. The consistent lightweight construction facilitates the unique jumping behaviour. The system is controlled by gestures.”

I still have no idea who purchases these robotic animals. What functional use do they have? Regardless, I am glad they do. If I had the money, I would have one of these hopping around my apartment right now.

Festo has now created jellyfish, penguins, kangaroos, and dragonflies… It would be pretty amazing to attend a company happy hour and see all of these animals moving around in the same space. Maybe they could make a robotic zoo of sorts?

-RSB

“Europe in 8 Bits” – A Documentary Exploring Video Game and Computer Music

April 9th, 2014 | Robot

Europe in 8 Bits

“Europe in 8 Bits” is a new full-length documentary directed by Javier Polo that explores the world of chip music, a genre of electronic music made from old video game and computer hardware. Instead of guitars, drums, and bass you will find that these musicians wield Game Boys, Nintendo systems, Ataris, Amiga and Commodore 64s.

If you’re in the mood for some 1980′s nostalgia, you can watch the movie right now at Vimeo for $3. I think it looks awesome.

-RSB

Drones at Home

March 26th, 2014 | Robot
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With eight arms spanning less than a yard, a German MikroKopter provides a stable camera platform for under $5,000.

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The images above are from a recent lead story in the National Geographic Magazine titled, Unmanned Flight. Now that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have more or less come to a close, there is a lot of discussion underway concerning drones’ role in society. Needless to say, they have been used extensively overseas, but whether they can make a smooth transition to civilian life is unknown.

“The U.S. has deployed more than 11,000 military drones… They carry out a wide variety of missions while saving money and American lives. Within a generation they could replace most manned military aircraft, says John Pike, a defense expert at the think tank GlobalSecurity.org. Pike suspects that the F-35 Lightning II, now under development by Lockheed Martin, might be “the last fighter with an ejector seat, and might get converted into a drone itself.”

I think one exciting use for drone technology would be to provide internet to locations in the world without online access. Other possible civilian applications include weather monitoring, traffic control, and package delivery.

“If the FAA relaxes its rules, says Mark Brown, the civilian market for drones—and especially small, low-cost, tactical drones—could soon dwarf military sales, which in 2011 totaled more than three billion dollars.”

Stay tuned, apparently the FAA is expected to integrate drones into American skies by 2015.

Photographer Joe McNally captured the images you see above. You can find more of his work here.

-RSB

Graphite Illustrations by Raymond Lemstra

March 24th, 2014 | Robot

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Raymond Lemstra is a Dutch artist who creates imaginative illustrations with graphite and watercolor that could come right out of a Hayao Miyazaki film. According to Lemstra,

“As you get older, new impressions become more scarce and it’s a rare experience to be surprised by anything. I try to bring back the sense of wonder we remember from being a child, bridging the young and mature, by creating a contained fantasy world populated by my characters… …With my work I like to refer to the illustrative nature of primitive drawings and sculptures.”

You can find a large collection of Lemstra’s work and pick up prints at his site.

-RSB

Recycled Animal Sculptures by Gilles Cenazandotti

March 21st, 2014 | Brain, Robot

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The ocean is full of trash. If you don’t believe me, check out this post. Just like Mandy Barker, artist Gilles Cenazandotti was inspired by the mass of ocean debris which affects our habitat. The animal sculptures above (from a project titled “Future Bestiary”) were formed from recycled products found on beaches — plastic bottles, lighters, combs, bags, etc…

Speaking about his work Cenazandotti said:

“Impressed by everything that the Sea, in turn, rejects and transforms, on the beaches I harvest the products derived from petroleum and its industry. The choice of animals that are part of the endangered species completes this process. In covering these animals with a new skin harvested from the banks of the Sea, I hope to draw attention to this possible metamorphosis – to create a trompe l’oeil of a modified reality.”

You can find more work from Gilles at his site.

-RSB

[via The Inspiration Grid]

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