LEGO Mindstorms, one of the best robotics kits, is about to get even better!
Earlier this month LEGO unveiled the new LEGO Mindstorms EV3 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in Las Vegas. As technology becomes more a part of us, LEGO Mindstorms is evolving to provide us greater connectivity to our creations.
Scary Robot Snake!
Like its predecessors, LEGO Mindstorms EV3 will come with hundreds of bricks, four motors and five sensors including a new infrared sensor that will enable the robot to track a remote control. The brick has been expanded. It employs an ARM 9 central processor that can access 64 MB of RAM and 16 MB of Flash for stored programs. It also provides an SD-slot that allows one to expand the memory. Most important is its new ability for connectivity. With a new Bluetooth chip, the LEGO brick can now connect to the Android and iOS operating systems so that one can use a smart phone, an iPhone or an iPad to control the robot! There will also be a USB port that will allow connectivity via WiFi.
The operating system is a version of Linux for which LEGO will release detailed documentation as well as an SDK. This is great news for hackers.
I am looking forward to letting this scary LEGO robot snake slither around my house!
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover, named Curiosity, is set to land on Mars on August 5, 2012 at 10:31 PM PST.
An artist’s conception of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, named Curiosty, on Mars. Curiosity is equipped with a Raman spectrometer, which consists of a laser beam that enables it to discern the chemical composition of the targeted area.
NASA has recently tightened Curiosity’s landing ellipse to put it closer to the science objective, which is a large uplift structure (mountain) called Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp) in the center of Gale Crater.
Mars Science Laboratory’s landing ellipse has been tightened to place the rover closer to the science objective—Mount Sharp, which is a layered mountain near the center of Gale Crater
Gale Crater is 154 km (96 mi) in diameter and is located in the Aeolis quadrangle at 5.4°S 137.8°E (see map).
The grippers are made from a rubber balloon filled with coffee grounds. The coffee grounds are a granular medium (made from grains… small solid pieces), and when one removes the air the coffee grains pack together and become extremely rigid, which is a process called granular jamming. This enables the gripper to grasp and hold on to objects of any shape. The jamming transition is considered to be a new type of phase transition similar to the glass transition that occurs when liquid glass is cooled.
What is amazing to me is that by rapidly forcing air back into the balloon, the gripper expels the object—basically throwing it! It is pretty amazing to see such a simple gripper throwing a ball or even darts!
Boston Dynamics funded by DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation program have released videos of their new robot “Cheetah” which can gallop at 18 miles per hour (30 kph)! This sets the land speed record for legged robots.
Notice how the robot flexes its back while running just like living quadrupeds. Compare this with the video below of a living Cheetah…
While still a far cry from the 70 mph top speed of a living Cheetah, this robot lives up to the punch line of that old joke: I don’t have to run faster than the bear, I just have to run faster than you!
The quadcopters make a dramatic entrance with smoke and lights, and then proceed to perform. The musical instruments include the keyboard, drums, maracas and a cymbal. A guitar built from a couch frame is also played by the quadcopters flying over the guitar strings and dragging wires across them. The quadcopters play the key board by hovering over various landing pads each of which is attached to the keyboard keys.
Wanna make a robot?
Why not make it as big and scary as possible?
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan has developed some amazing dinosaur robots that can actually walk around and trample small children (and adults!) underfoot!
Who ever said you needed real dinosaurs to bring on all the trouble of Jurassic Park?
Bring it on! WestWorld Prehistoric Style!