Monday, August 31, 2009

Tip of The Month: Replacing Scooba Tires

If you own an iRobot Scooba (300 or 5000 series) you should know that sooner or later the tires will wear out. Your lovely Scooba robot will start slipping around tight spots and even get stuck; he will no longer have a tight grip on your home floors to get it clean efficiently. The good thing is that iRobot and other online vendors sell replacement tires and they are fairly simple to replace. Here are the steps:

STEP #1:
Turn your Scooba over with its belly facing upwards. Do this when your Scooba is dry and the tank is empty for better handling. Look for the two notches, as pointed out in the picture with red arrows, at each wheel motor enclosure.

STEP #2:
Press the notches with your fingers as illustrated in the picture.

Pull up the wheel motor enclosure while pressing on the notches. The wheel motor enclosure will come out enough to make it easy for us to remove the tire.

STEP #4:
Remove the worn out Scooba tire by using a Phillips screw driver.

Insert the new Scooba tire while taking notice of the two notches on the hub so it can be securely be placed. The way to make sure you place it correctly is by turning it and feeling the DC motor resistance. Continue with instructions in reverse to put everything back. I suggest you test you Scooba soon after the replacement so plan this out on the day you will clean your floors. Enjoy the tip!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The BEAR Caring For Us In The Field

Over a year ago I posted about the HomeBEAR from the robot geek friends at VECNA Robotics. The HomeBEAR is the Domestic robot version of the BEAR. The BEAR is a versatile semi-humanoid robot that was originally designed to extract and/or assist soldiers in the battlefield. Currently the BEAR is just a remote controlled machine with no artificial intelligence but still can provide a huge help in very dangerous situations or environments where it is most needed. The BEAR provides much more degrees of freedom and strength compared to other equivalent hazard robots that exist in the market. In the video you will be able to witness the abilities and strength of this very interesting robot. The BEAR could easily be retrofitted to assist in many non-military tasks (search and rescue, construction, hospital assistance, exploration, etc.) and could possibly have A.I. added for research and exploration tasks. I would be pleased to see more from VECNA and how the BEAR will be used in the field in the near future. Enjoy the video.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Asimo's Brain Has Been Upgraded

Our robot geek friends at Carnegie Mellon University were successful to program Honda's Asimo "brain" to be able to specific positions while avoiding obstacles. You may ask why is this such a big deal? For a humanoid robot like Asimo it is! Not only that but it can also avoid obstacles dynamically and adjust to changing position goals in real time! The planning and control behind this new programming is just remarkable and can not wait for these guys/gals from Carnegie to evolve this new programming to adapt to 3 dimensional obstacles. This is a giant leap for Asimo and domestic robotics in general. Take a look at the video so you can enjoy Asimo and his new "brain"!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nikolai: Disfunctional Humanoid Domestic Robot

Sorry for taking a long time to post but I was being serviced at the local humanoid robotics lab (a.k.a. Hospital). The human doctors have found out that I had a faulty appendix and had to remove it instead of fixing it! Could you believe that?! I am being put back together, recharging my batteries and my sub-systems are coming back online shortly. Give me a couple of days so I can continue providing all of you with great domestic robotics information and tips!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Robot In Your Head

In a previous article I asked the question “What is a Robot?” I explained that it is a hard question to answer. Hollywood and the media has tainted the image; everything we remember about robots came from SciFi movies or TV shows. Here are a couple of examples. The robot in "Lost in Space”, who constantly warned of danger to Will Robinson. Rosey the domestic robot in the “Jetsons”. My favorite is the toaster on “Red Dwarf” who constantly ask would you like some toast, and no matter how many times you tell it no, it then engages you in idle conversation, only to ask you once more if you would like some toast. Once you are exasperated by the experience the toaster replies that after all he is a toaster, and it’s his purpose to make toast. Last but not least are the “Star Wars" droids R2D2 and C3PO.

Now we come to what the market is giving us as robots. Wowwee has a few models that are fun, and probably not much use as a functional robot, however more than a toy. iRobot has some domestic models to clean your floors, pool and gutters. In the past there has been the Heath kit Hero, the Androbot Topo with BOB. Yet all of these products fail to be equivalent to what Hollywood has portrayed. If we expect a robot to be like C3PO, then what we are really looking for is an electronic companion like the one Nikolai Tesla covered about the Canadian programmer built. So the answer to our question is that robots are what you want them to be! Stay tuned to this site because Nikolai is constantly looking at interesting developments in this field and he will give you the information to make, buy and maintain your dream bot.

Post Inspired by Bill R.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Domestic Robot That Could

Toyota recently introduced the brother of the 'trumpet playing robot' that could probably out run some of us. At the moment this humanoid domestic robot can out run Honda's Asimo (could you imagine humanoid robot races instead of gas burning cars?). Within the provided video you can witness that this robot can stay standing on its two feet after being pushed like its pet friend "Big Dog". These "features" could be considered as progress and a step closer to a true autonomous humanoid robot like the NS-5 but what is it with these engineers?! Why not put all these "tricks" into a single robot and go from there? Continue making progress with projects like this one, Asimo, ReemB and others, add all these and future "tricks", let them be autonomous so they can provide us with true assistance. Stop making the trumpet playing robot, the running robot, the robot that reads, the robot that catches a ball, the robot the helps you sit on the toilet, the robot that.... you get the idea. The funny thing is that this same guy (or one of his cousins at Toyota) shows up at the end of the SciFi series Battlestar Galactica like a sign of things to come. Would you still want one? As Depeche Mode used to say "enjoy the silence".