Friday, April 29, 2005

Robotic Watering System

Since today seems to be spherical robot day, I thought this might be interesting to include. A company called Accurain is offering a revolutionary robotic watering system that allows for fine control of watering across your yard. The system consists of a computer-controlled spherical nozzle which can target a 30 foot radius. Connected to a hose the system can have up to 30 spherical heads each delivering a precise amount of water to as many 15 polygonal zones. Starter systems start for as little as $299.

Found via Marshall Brain's Blog.

Eye Ball Remote Camera

Remington Technologies, a division of Remington Arms, has announced a new robotic camera which has been designed to be tossed into an area to provide surveillance for SWAT or military personnel. The appropriately named Eye Ball is not able to move on it own, but can rotate to provide images of the scene back to a PDA-sized device used by the operator. Currently the device is being tested by more that 20 law-enforcement agencies.

I wouldn't be surprised if a mobile version didn't appear before too long. An interesting example of which was demonstrated last year by students at Uppsala University in Sweden. The robot uses a pendulum system to move it across different types of terrain and obstacles. The students have started a company called Rotundus to market the robot for use in extreme conditions.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Robot Teamwork

Frontline Robotics, a company based in Ottawa, has announced that they have developed a system to allow autonomous robots to collaborate on their own. The system allows ad-hoc collections of robots to work in packs, sharing information and coming to solutions as a group. The company has developed a product call Robotic Open Control (ROC) which is a robot operating system for teams of collaborative robots.

On April 5th, two of the company's GRUNTS (unmanned GRound UNiTS) demonstrated the technology by coordinating passage through a narrow gate, a feat which the company claims is a first.

I have mixed feeling about the use of robotics for warfare. While it will certainly help keep soldiers on the side using the technology safer, it makes the decision to use violence that much easier for governments and consequently that more likely. The technology obviously has many uses and the drive to meet the demanding requirements of the military will certainly help move the field forward in ways it might never had otherwise.

For more read the story at

The story was originally found on Engadget.

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