Virtual Brick: License Give-Away ift.tt/1BfdqaW via botbenchShare on Facebook
Following the success of the personal computer (PC), our private and professional lives could soon be improved by personal robots (PR). These would function as a sort of “electronic butler”, bringing the newspaper, pouring coffee or clearing the table. They are friendly and affable, yet remain discreetly in the background when not needed. The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA has been developing innovative service robots since the 1990s. These can be used in areas including households, hotels, care homes and hospitals, for example. Researchers have now developed a new model centred on the concept of a universal helper for everyday scenarios: the fourth generation of the “Care-O-Bot®”. While its predecessors from 1998 onwards were used primarily in the development of technological fundamentals, the Care-O-bot® 4 is a modular product family providing the basis for commercial service robot solutions.
Together with the Stuttgart-based design studio Phoenix Design and Schunk, Fraunhofer IPA has been working on the completion of its new service robots for three years. The result is unique. “The fourth generation of the Care-O-bot® is not only more agile, modular and charming than its predecessors, but it also stands out through the use of costreducing construction principles,” explains Dr Ulrich Reiser, Project and Group Leader at Fraunhofer IPA. In this way, large parts of its internal construction feature folding sheet metal, which is economical to produce in small quantities.
Andreas Haug, co-Founder and Managing Director of Phoenix Design, adds: “Care-Obot® 4 is a successful symbiosis of design and engineering, as well as functionality and emotion, which quickly encourages user interaction.” Its streamlined design, with two arms attached at the side and a type of head, mean that the robot is reminiscent of a human being. However, developers did not want its appearance to be over-human, as this would “encourage false expectations with regard to its capabilities” for users, says Ulrich Reiser. It is just the robot’s “internal values” which are human: it always maintains a respectful distance, shows what it has understood and what it intends to do, while also being able to make simple gestures and reflect emotions. As with previous generations, social role models were used as a guiding vision in developing the design and functionality. While the concept for the Care-O-bot® 3 was a more reserved, cautious butler, its successor is as courteous, friendly and affable as a gentleman.
Modularity ensures economical solutions
The Care-O-bot® 4 also features a greater range of movements in comparison with previous generations. The smart helper is fitted with patented spherical joints around discreet pivot points on its neck and hips. These allow the robot to bend forward without losing its balance. Developers took inspiration from human anatomy, creating a moving part which shifts backwards when the robot bends over, ensuring that balance is maintained. The Care-O-bot® 4 does therefore not fall over when carrying a load in outstretched arms.
An innovative one-finger hand was developed with Schunk especially for the Care-Obot® 4. The combination of simplicity and elegance with integrated sensors is impressive. Schunk also manufacture their own standardised Schunk Powerball ERB modules, which are used as arm joints. Their compact ball shape permits seamless integration. Managing Partner Henrik A. Schunk comments: “The Care-O-bot® 4 represents a significant milestone in the mobile service robot industry on account of its high degree of standardisation.”
In comparison with its predecessors, the fields of application are far more wide-ranging for the Care-O-bot® 4. Its modular construction allows various different configurations. Arms, spherical joints and sensors are optional. If the intended purpose if to serve drinks, one hand can be replaced by a tray, or the mobile base platform can be used on its own as a serving trolley. Targeted adaptation for specific tasks significantly reduces costs. Individual robot platforms can be configured for a wide range of applications: a mobile information centre in museums, DIY stores and airports, for collection and delivery services in homes and offices, for security applications or as museum robots at attractions – the Care-O-bot® 4 is a safe and handy human helper at all times.
Facial expressions and gestures for a user-friendly service
IPA developers were determined to ensure that the Care-O-bot® 4 is simple to use. Users are more open to the help a robot can offer when they know that it functions properly. With this in mind, the Care-O-bot® 4 is fitted with an easily accessible touchscreen on the head. Moreover, it possesses a microphone for speech recognition and cameras for personal and gesture recognition. The Care-O-bot® 4’s spherical joints allow it to intuitively inform users what it is planning to do and what it has understood, including gestures such as nodding and shaking the head. A circle of LEDs on its torso area and a laser pointer in the hand serve as information exchange points.
Establishing a developer community
Care-O-bot® 4 offers open software interfaces that makes it easily expandable for deve- lopers. Ulrich Reiser is keen for as many scientists as possible to use the system developed in Stuttgart in order to steadily advance its possible areas of application. “The objective is to steadily grow the developer community that was established already around CareO-bot® 3,” he explains. Numerous developers at research institutions and universities around the world have already worked with the Care-O-bot® 3 and the new Care-Obot® 4 should follow suit.
More detailed information on: http://www.care-o-bot.de
The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA was founded in 1959. It is one of the largest single institutes within this research organization and employs around 435 scientists. It has an annual budget of approximately 58,4 million euros, of which 22.9 million euros derive from industrial projects. The Fraunhofer IPA is made up of 14 individual departments engaged in the fields of Production Organization, Surface Engineering, Automation, and Process Technology. Its research and development work focuses on organizational and technological issues in the manufacturing environment of advanced industries, including Automotive, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics and Microsystems Engineering, Energy, and Medical and Biological Engineering. The R&D projects aim to enhance production processes and make products more cost-effective and environmentally friendly by identifying and exploiting the potential for automation and streamlining at our customers’ companies. This helps to maintain jobs and to strengthen international competitiveness.Share on Facebook
Codie is a robotic toy and a custom-built graphic coding language. Codie is an educational tool which fits into the playing style of the children and augments their experience — blurring the line between learning and play. While playing with Codie, the children become familiar with logical thinking that all technology is based on while gaining invaluable problem solving skills along the way. Codie provides educates on algorithmic thinking without the constraints of traditional educational tools.
The Codie app makes it fun for children to learn algorithmic thinking. We organized complex robotic code into colorful blocks children can arrange and connect with arrows showing the direction of execution. While having fun, they learn the basics of coding, using real programming patterns, including: if-else structures, loops, varia-bles and subroutines.
The Codie robot is an affordable and fun toy that pairs with the intuitive app. This sturdy robot is stuffed with equipment and sensors that make it responsive and fun. Codie will provide entertainment for the whole family for many hours to come. Codie comes fully assembled, just take it out of the box, pair it with your smartphone via wireless Bluetooth connection and play. The body of the Codie robot is carved out of high-quality wood and every single unit is hand-crafted.
Technology needs to be part of every child’s education and schools have realized that they need to expose children to technology at an early age. Constraints in our educational system result in the inability to pay attention to every child’s own unique needs. At Codie, we want to inspire these young bright minds to be interested in learning about technology while having fun at the same time. Codie is not just a toy, but rather a creative tool. It’s a companion that augments other games. Playing with Codie is a high-quality learning experience, and it allows your child to understand coding in a fun and interactive way. Children get empowered by the knowledge they get with Codie and the whole process feels natural and seamless. Codie grows with your child. It provides more sophisticated programs as your child surpasses the basics. While playing with Cody your child will become familiar with the logic of computer coding — providing a foundation of understanding they will draw from for the rest of their lives.
more information here: http://www.getcodie.com/Share on Facebook
Wonder Magazine brings hundreds of hours of play with activities, challenges and updates for robots Dash & Dot
Las Vegas, NV—January 5, 2014 – Wonder Workshop (www.makewonder.com), a company building delightful robots for children to learn to code, today announced the launch of Wonder Magazine, a free bi-weekly digital magazine for children and their families. As children around the world start their exploring coding and play with robots Dash & Dot, Wonder Magazine will provide the ongoing challenges and activities to extend the play experience to hundreds of hours.
Children will love the magazine for the new activities that bring open-ended play experiences, and challenge them to explore creative problem solving with the robots. Parents will find topics to engage their children in conversations about the robots and coding. Wonder Magazine intends to keep the fun going forever in every home with Dash & Dot.
The first edition of Wonder Magazine will be released in English to customers on January 15, 2015, and customers can sign up for the magazine at makewonder.com/magazine. It will be delivered on a bi-weekly basis directly to the Wonder Workshop mobile applications and customer email inboxes. The magazine’s content will focus on creative news ideas for playing with Wonder Workshop’s robots, Dot and Dash. Sections of the magazine will include:
• Making Wonder series (featured play idea with video)
• Ask Dash, Ask Dot
• Wonderful projects (featured projects from kids around the world)
• Adventures of Dash & Dot
• Hello World (coding lesson)
• Build-a-Bot (building and crafts with Dash & Dot)
• Wonder Labs (engage with the Wonder Workshop team)
• Funny Corner, Events and Announcements
“Now that Dash & Dot are arriving into homes around the world, we’re excited to offer new and engaging ways for children to play and learn with them,” said Vikas Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Wonder Workshop. “Our team is excited to introduce Wonder Magazine to help kids and families explore more activities with the robots every week.”
Last year, Wonder Workshop delivered over 30,000 robots to 20 countries in one month in December 2014. At $4M in pre-orders, Wonder Workshop is the largest crowdfunded consumer robotics product ever. All pre-orders were delivered to customers in time for the holidays of 2014. Dash & Dot are now available for purchase and immediate delivery exclusively on makewonder.com and Amazon.com.
Wonder Workshop’s developer API is live in the hands of early developers building apps and fun experiences for the robots. Wonder Workshop ships to 20 countries including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, European countries, India, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Wonder Workshop was founded in 2012 by veterans from Amazon, Apple and Google to create robots that can be friends of children around the world, and help every child learn to code at a young age. Dash & Dot were used by schools around the United States for “Hour of Code,” and were invited to the White House for the launch of the program in 2014. Dash & Dot can be found on makewonder.com and on Amazon.com. Dash & Dot are programmed using applications provided by Wonder Workshop on iPad 3 and up, iPad mini and iPad Air. Developers looking to build applications for Dash & Dot on both iOS and Android are welcome to visit Wonder Workshop at developer.makewonder.com for more details.
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Wonder Workshop makes learning to code meaningful and fun for children. Dash & Dot, a pair of robots, combine play and learning for children ages 5 and up. For more information, visit our website at http://makewonder.com.
Dash is an explorer.
• Drives around.
• Senses objects in front and behind.
• Hears and responds to sounds.
• Comes to life with sound, lights, and head motion.
Dot is an instigator.
• Responds to how it is moved.
• Sends a signal for Dash to see where it is.
• Hears and responds to sounds.
• Transforms with sounds, lights, and imagination.
Dash & Dot connect wirelessly over Bluetooth and come with four iPad and Android experiences:
- Go gets you started and exploring the world of Dash & Dot in no time. Simply connect with Bluetooth and get off and running. This app is a portal for online ideas and content.
- Path takes Dash on adventures as kids draw a path for Dash to take. Unlock themes and special animations. This app teaches basic sequencing and event- based programming.
- Blockly is a visual programming tool that lets kids control Dash & Dot, making them move and interact with each other. This app teaches sequencing, events, conditionals, and loops.
- Xylo is a music app that uses the xylophone accessory. Compose songs and program Dash to move around while playing music. This app teaches sequencing and loops.
Accessories for Dash & Dot help give them additional looks and abilities. They include a xylophone, a pusher bar, a smartphone mount (to take videos with any smartphone), bunny ears, and a tow hook.
Dash is $199. The Wonder Pack, including all robots and accessories, is $349. They are available for purchase at the Wonder Workshop website here: http://makewonder.com.Share on Facebook
A pocket size robot arm to make robotics, electronics and programming accessible to the masses has smashed its Kickstarter goal. A miniaturised version of an industrial robot arm, MeArm is simple enough to build and use with primary school children, but also enables advanced levels of robotics education.
Being open-source, MeArm’s entire design and code files are freely available to download so that makers everywhere can share and enrich their knowledge. There are already well over 250 MeArms ‘in the wild’ in every continent except Antarctica.
MeArm can be cut entirely from an A4 sheet of acrylic and built with standard low-cost servo motors. Kickstarter success will enable the launch of the MeBrain, an innovative platform that make it possible to build something low cost ‘with nothing but a screwdriver and enthusiasm’ from May 2015.
In order to bring robotics to the masses, MeArm’s founder and open source enthusiast Ben Gray sought the expertise of Des19ncor, a design consultancy based on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks (LUSEP).
“We saw a great opportunity to help Ben create a viable long term business” said Martin Croft, Des19ncor’s MD, who has since registered MeArm as a new venture in LUSEP’s Innovation Centre.
In addition to the partnership with De19ncor, MeArm has also benefited from the creative expertise in the Studio, the University’s graduate commercialisation hub. Collaboration with the Department of Computer Sciences will strengthen the ultimate goal of MeArm’s widespread adoption by schools, colleges and universities to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.
As support for MeArm builds, a stretch goal to upgrade kits to include hexagonal screws and tools has already been achieved and the project is well on the way to having a wireless support option. Further stretch goals have since been added, including Bluetooth support and app development. “It’s been fantastic to receive such an enthusiastic response for MeArm,” said Ben Gray. He added, “With even more support, we could create an interface with the credit card-sized computer, Raspberry Pi which is already blazing a path into engagement in STEM education.”Share on Facebook
January 3, 2015 (Los Angeles, CA) – Meet Somabar, the first smart automated bartending appliance created for your home. This patent pending technology is the brainchild of two young entrepreneurs based in Los Angeles, Ammar Jangbarwala and Dylan Purcell-Lowe. “We are both fans of mixology and technology and consider ourselves nerds on the two subjects. Three years ago we had this ‘aha’ moment and realized bartending and mixology are about a century behind modern technology,” says Jangbarwala. “So we started playing around with pumps, tubing, a bulky HD screen and some programming and created an android app and a crude device that rested on a metal skid. But there it was, a robotic bartender sitting in our garage making cocktails in 5 seconds.”
After three years of refinement and a few dozen rounds of prototyping they have created a fully functional prototype with a sleek design. It’s a project they are truly excited about. However, “Due to the large manufacturing and development costs we will have to incur, we are limited in our ability to bring this to market,” says Purcell-Lowe. Therefore, they have taken their project to Kickstarter.com.
While there have been other automatic bartending machines created for clubs and bars, there has yet to be one created and priced specifically for the home appliance market. “We wanted to create something people could actually afford and use in their own kitchen,” says Purcell-Lowe “not just something they could only dream about.” Somabar stands at 15’’ tall and fits easily next to your coffee maker. It uses a Wi-Fi connected ordering system controlled through an Android and iOS compatible app with the ability to make 12 drinks a minute. But, what makes Somabar even more unique is that its patent pending technology is able to infuse craft bitters, while also thoroughly mixing every drink, before being poured into your glass. Its six liquor containers and bitters container, also called Soma Pods, are portable, dishwasher safe and easy to refill. Somabar is self-cleaning using an internal water-flushing system ensuring that every cocktail made tastes like your first. It boasts an interactive menu of over 300 cocktails and makes each drink creation in under 5 seconds.
Their campaign is now live at: http://kck.st/11ChwPnShare on Facebook