Monday, September 29, 2008

Participate In The Robo Development Expo 2008!

We have pointed out information on new domestic robotics, companies, technologies and even on how to get started in getting an education on robotics for FREE; but how about participating as well? On November 18-19, 2008 at Santa Clara, California - USA the Robo Development Conference & Expo 2008 will be held. It will be the first robotics industry event that will focus on design and development of domestic, service and intelligent robotic products. Here are also some very interesting tidbits that you will learn by attending this conference & expo:

  • The state of the art in design and development solutions for the production of robots and robotic technology
  • The functionality requirements and design issues that must be addressed when producing commercial robotics products
  • The latest developments and newest products among enabling robotics technology
  • What emergent technology is coming out of the lab and into the open market that could assist in the development of robotics systems
  • What is required for robots to navigate with minimal human intervention and be able to detect anomalies and deal with them effectively
  • How robots can be designed to manage limited resources, including power and computation, and use them in an efficient manner
  • The languages and operating systems, as well as hardware and software platforms, that can be utilized to optimize the design and development process, as well as deliver robust commercial products
  • How diverse, specialized robotic structures and sub functions can be integrated to optimize overall system function and achieve maximum compatibility of the parts
This Expo/Conference is a great way to get some hands on and know how in the industry of robotics no matter if you are iRobot or just Joe Blow in the garage. It is never too late to start and get into the domestic robotics technology wave.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Talking about Rovio Again?

Yeah, OK.... I know that I have written much about the much raved Rovio but here is your chance to find out if you still do not know what it is or what it does or just came out of your underground shelter to take a peek! Check out this promo video from WowWee about their latest robot. Don't get fooled, the remote video will not be like its shown here but it will not be bad either; also who will have one of these guys on top of a meeting table at work?!!! I will! Enjoy...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Do You Want To Become A Robotics Engineer For Free?

Stanford University can get you started for FREE if you have always wished be a Robotics Engineer. Believe it or not there are kind people (Universities) out there on this planet that want to provide something for nothing! Their School of Engineering has created the Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE) that offer, for the first time in its history, some of their most popular engineering courses for free of charge to students and educators around planet Earth. You will only need a computer (PC or MAC) and web access in order to take these great courses. The courses will start on Fall 2008 and include the following:

Introduction to Computer Science

Artificial Intelligence

Linear Systems and Optimization

So do you want to contribute to the Domestic Robotics industry? Do you want to become the next Colin Angle (iRobot), Helen Greiner (iRobot) or Mark Tilden (Wow Wee) ? This is the time to get started, don't let this one slip away!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Do You Rovio? WowWee's Next Robot!

I have been following this great idea from WowWee since its introduction at CES2008 and finally it has started to come out at online stores. At about US$350 be the first to own this interesting and functional robot that brings WowWee and Evolution Robotics together in a single product called Rovio. What is Rovio? Practically it is you away from your home, office or whatever place you wish to have it to keep tabs from large distances. It is a robotics platform that has an onboard camara, speaker, microphone and a cool method of navigation powered by Evolution Robotics "NorthStar" system. Check your home when in vacation to make sure all is alright or check your kids, pets, grandparents or even your other robots if you wish! All via the Web by using your home WiFi; you can start two conversations with anyone at home via Rovio as well! Take a look at the following video to give you a better idea of what it can do and how big it is. Did you order one already?

Friday, September 5, 2008

iRobot Introduces New "Industrial" Floor Cleaning Robots

Just a couple of days ago, iRobot has introduced new "industrial" floor cleaning robots to the market. The Roomba 610 Professional series, a "re-designed" 500 series Roomba to take the tough job of cleaning business floors (offices, restaurants, retail store, movie theatres and even your local funeral home). Also introduced are the Roomba 562 and 532 Pet series, both as well are "re-designed" 500 series Roomba, offer the luxury of picking after your lovely pet's harry problem "more efficiently". Jump over to get the full details about these new robots. At US $600 - Roomba 562, $400 - Roomba 562 and $350 - Roomba 532 they do not make many to jump at them right away, particularly with an anemic global economy. The cold truth is that these robots are the same 500 series Roomba with minor changes to the cleaning brushes (4000 series roomba re-design), 3 arm side brush, a bigger particle/dust bin (they have removed the vacuum) to act like their "DirtDog" sweeper, an extra year of warranty and some other senseless items (case to carry accessories, extra brushes, extra particle bin, etc.). Personally this is just a marketing "wet dream", no real progress was made with these robotic floor cleaners. It is a way to get more money from the consumer in order to help their consumer devision and the company as a whole. Its hard to believe but I truly like and wish iRobot well but they need to focus on fixing real issues with their current fleet. Fix issues with 500 series Roomba with the following solutions:

  • Use of better materials on high stressed parts (use of metal bearings, metal gears, etc.)
  • Fully Automated cleaning system (learn from the Karcher RC3000)
  • Solve or massively improve the hair accumulation problem at the brush ends
  • Use of newer battery technologies (Li-ION or Lithium Polymer)
  • Provide a more reliable and efficient room "mapping" capability (learn from Evolution Robotics/WowWee Rovio)
  • Use of brass inserts on regularly replaceable parts
  • Resolve clumping of accumulated dust at the squeegee intake gap
  • Use a washable nylon meshed air filter with the option to add HEPA rated filters (learn from Microrobot UBot)
  • Provide a scalable OS and user friendly option to change the cleaning behavior to meet their needs and environment.
  • Provide a scalable hardware to meet different domestic needs (cleaning, security, web portal, virtual presence, central home systems management, etc.)
The list can go on almost for ever but you get the idea, there are many things that could be improved upon in order to have a much better and reliable product. iRobot was the first to mass produce a fairly effective cleaning robot but they could easily disappear from the market, as other technologies in the past, if they do not focus their efforts to fix known issues and/or provide much needed features to their current series of robots.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tip of the Month: Make Your Own Roomba Filters

Saving hard earned money is always a great thing and more so with how the world economy is at the moment. For this month I will give you a tip on how to create your own Roomba filter with some basic tools and economical materials that will provide you with an almost endless amount of filters for your iRobot Roomba. This tip works for Roomba 4000 and 500 series robots, so jump over to get the full details on the "Visual How To".

1- Here are the following materials you will need: Scissors, Box cutter, your worn out air filter and CD sleeve material.

2- The CD Sleeve material is almost identical if not the same used by iRobot. You can find these sold at your local office supply or electronics store. I picked black colored ones but they have white as well.

3- Use the box cutter very carefully to split the two joined plastic pieces that hold down the filter. DO NOT rip/destroy the original filter and be careful not to destroy the plastic tabs that hold the filter in place (some will break but make sure not more than 2 or 3 are broken) :

4- This is how your original filter should look after separating the two pieces successfully (take a close look that you have 11 tabs in place minus some 2 or 3 that may break off):

5- Remove the original worn out filter and use it as a cookie cutter to shape the new filters from the new material (CD/DVD ROM sleeve) :

6- Place the new cut filter onto the original filter casing; align it to be just above (some material may overlap but that is no problem):

7- Press on each tab hard with both your thumb and index finger until you hear a 'snap' sound. Repeat process until you covered all 11 tabs.

8- Finally! A brand new and ready Roomba Air Filter to be used and fight those dust mites and save you money!

Hope you find this tip helpful!