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Brookstone Tankbots arrive!

And their secret is deciphered- heh heh! So it turns out, in the Tankbot software on iPhone (and presumably on Android), you are prompted to enter the product code from the package. Our Toys R Us non-battling tankbots had codes 1044 for Blue and 1043 for Green. Interestingly, the Brookstone codes are 1880 for Blue and 1870 for Red. Try putting those in the software- voila - a Fire button appears! Another difference of unknown significance, the ToysRUs Tankbots are both stamped 12AB11 on the bottom, whereas both Brookstones are 11AB11. Probably a date of manufacture code, it is also stamped into the respective packages.

Even more interesting- we can drive both Blues simultaneously- there appears to be no difference in the control codes- but the Fire button command is only noticed by the Brookstone Blue. It makes shooting noises and swings side to side for a couple of seconds. Most interestingly, the ToysRUs Blue also reacts to being shot! It moves forward/backward several times and is disabled from commands for several seconds.This was also true for the Green ToysRUs Tankbot (even in its semi-destructed state).

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Deskpets Tankbot on Facebook

Deskpets has posted a few photos of Tankbots being manufactured on their Facebook gallery. Interestingly, there appear to be two PCB versions- one like the one i have with multiple contacts in the IC side, the other cleaner looking. I've ordered a couple of the Brookstone versions (only red and blue available there) to see their Battle-supporting innards. Article in progress!


Inside Tankbot

The Deskpets Tankbots are now available at ToysRUs, so we went ahead and bought a couple. I resisted the urge to open mine up for a couple of days, but today the screwdriver got the better of me! You'll need the triangular screwdriver to open these guys up, I got mine from Amazon for fixing our Wii, but they come in handy for this too. Pix already shot, I have to upload them then will link here. Stay tuned!


Inside Tankbot

The Deskpets Tankbots are now available at ToysRUs, so we went ahead and bought a couple. I resisted the urge to open mine up for a couple of days, but today the screwdriver got the better of me! You'll need the triangular screwdriver to open these guys up, I got mine from Amazon for fixing our Wii, but they come in handy for this too. Pix already shot, I have to upload them then will link here. Stay tuned!

Tankbot sideview


Don't Want To Get Up? Toshiba's Wheelie Robot Will Get You Another Drink

Or, of course, whatever you want.  We've always dreamed of a "practical" solution to getting a refill of your favorite tasty cold beverage without having to shlep your way to the fridge, and maybe the Wheelie robot is it.  We do see a problem, though.  He can't actually pick up the beverage.  So it looks like you'll have to build a "fridge-bot" to assist him!  It's a cool prototype, nonetheless.

[Via Engadget]


There's No Escaping The Paparazzi Bot

Just when you famous people thought it was safe to go outside, the Paparazzi Bot has to poke its head around the corner and get a snapshot.  Just make sure to stay out of uncompromising situations when it's around!

[Via Engadget]


HexaKopter: Finally, A Six Rotor R/C Aircraft

Whoa. We'll let the video speak for itself.

MikroKopter - HexaKopter from Holger Buss on Vimeo.

[Via Hack a Day]


NASA and General Motors Create Robonaut2 (Not a Space Car)

Truth be told, NASA and GM have had a history since the 60's, and Robonaut2 is the latest to come from that synergistic relationship.  Conjuring up visions of Bishop from Aliens, Robonaut2 is designed to work alongside humans, using the same tools and machines.  This dextrous humanoid promises to revolutionize space travel as well as use planetside (for example, in automobile manufacturing plants.)

[Head over to Science Daily to get the full scoop on Robonaut2.]


PALRO by Fujisoft: An Ubuntu Linux Laptop that Walks and Talks?

Well, PALRO is definitely a humanoid bipedal robot, not a laptop of course - it's just built using similar technology, such as an Intel Atom processor and 4GB SSD.  This, of course, is what makes PALRO quite special - it makes the robot infinitely customizable with custom apps and is programmable in C++.  PALRO even has a wireless connection so it can connect to your network and download information automatically.

PALRO isn't a cheap one, though.  It cashes in at over $3,000 USD, so you probably won't be seeing it at your local Toys'R'Us anytime soon.  It's only available in Japan for now, anyway!

[Head on over to the Examiner for the full story.]


Funky MANOI Robot Dancing Goodness

Not too long ago, we posted about the fantastic Robo-ONE dance competition held in Japan. But wait, there's more! This tiny powerhouse brings the juice with some funky breakdancing style. It's yet another example of what the MANOI platform is really capable of. Hit up the link below for even more video.

[Via Engadget]


Tetra Dominates Japan's Micromouse Contest Record

Micromice are truly amazing creatures, and Kato-san from Japan has created one of the best: Tetra.  This cunning little robotic rodent blew away the previous micromouse contest record by plowing through a complicated maze in only 4.766 seconds.  Be amazed as he zips almost unrealistically fast though the maze!

[Via Engadget and Robots-Dreams]


Robo-ONE Dance Competition Features Some Of The Best Moves Yet

The recent Robo-ONE competition, held in Japan last Saturday, showed off some of the most impressive dancing robots we've seen.  Creepy or cool?  We'll let the videos speak for themselves.  Hit up BotJunkie for the full scoop and the rest of the vids.

[Via BotJunkie]


Android Developed In the United Arab Emirates Is First Arabic-Speaking Humanoid Robot

Ibn Sina, whose namesake is an ancient philosopher, is reportedly the first humanoid robot ever created that can speak and interact in the classical Arabic language.

He was developed in the United Arab Emirates by the computer science team at UAE University in conjunction with Hanson Robotics.  Apparently, there has also been some interest in using the robot to greet and assist people at shopping malls and other public places.

[Via Cnet]


PETMAN Prototype Walking Robot by Boston Dynamics Chases You In Your Nightmares

Ok, so the PETMAN prototype is just a bit scary, no?  Similar to the totally creepy "Big Dog," the PETMAN takes it a step further by allowing heel-to-toe, bipedal walking - just like humans.

Is this the future of robotics?  Will this technology ever be used to better mankind?  Or are we just making it easier for our future overlords to destroy the Earth?  Only time will tell.

[Via Today's Big Things]


Bioengineering Struts Its Stuff with the Amazing "Smart Hand"

When we first watched this video, it's almost impossible to believe.  It seems like, even for the advanced technology of today, something out of a science fiction novel or a book about the future.  However, due to the wonders of bioengineering, the "Smart Hand" looks to be the most advanced prosthetic limb ever created.

It's wired directly into the brain and allows the recipient to "feel" through their robotic fingertips once again, a feeling we imagine could be described as strange yet wonderful.  Hit up the video for the full details on this awesome medical advancement.

[Via Engadget]


Yum! SnackBot Delivers Trinkets and Twizzlers to CMU Students

This friendly, cordial robot was designed at Carnegie Mellon University to study human-robot interaction... and what better way to do so than a food-dispensing automaton?

I can only imagine these roving around at baseball games and concerts peddling pop and candy, but won't we miss the cries of "Bud, Bud Light!" and "Get your red hots here!"

[Via Cnet]


Firefighting Robots Help Save Lives in South Korea

Robots designed to save lives are always amazing, and this little guy is no exception.  The "Fire Spy Robot," designed by South Korea's Hoya Robots, can roll inside burning buildings, look for survivors, and even douse fires with water.

It's got an onboard camera and video, too, ala Rovio, to record its travels and assist in locating survivors.

[Via PhysOrg.com]


Big Dog Strikes Again... But In "Puppy" Form

Aww!  How cute!  The super creepy "Big Dog" robot has been shrunk to diminutive proportions.  This little guy still has the ability to navigate some pretty precarious terrain, all while maintaining the appropriate adorable-ness.

[Via Today's Big Things]


Graceful Unicycling Murata Seiko Robot Entertains & Balances

You may have seen this robot before, but now she's new and improved.  Her ability to balance and her speed have both been upgraded, allowing her to balance on a very thin beam.

One can tell that this lovable robot has been manufactured with love and care!

[Via Engadget]


Taizo Helps Japanese Elders Exercise and Actually Isn't Frightening

What we like most about Taizo is that he seems to be a really cheerful fellow; he's not leaping into the uncanny valley or anything.  He's designed to help Japan's growing population of elderly folks get in their daily exercises.

This is certainly cute, but at $8,000 USD (approximately) this is a pretty expensive way to coax Grandpa out of his favorite easy chair!

[Via Pink Tentacle via Gizmodo]


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