Most of us who are familiar with the iRobot name probably know the company for its line of robotic vacuum cleaners. The little vacuum cleaners are pretty cool and not too long ago some people grafted a robot arm on to one of the iRobot devices to allow it to pick things up from the floor. iRobot also makes several other robots that are aimed at more serious uses for the military and law enforcement.
Geeks and robots go together like peanut butter and jelly and anytime we see some cool DIY robotics, you know we have to point it out. The basis for this robotic project is the iRobot Create and the people behind the project have created a robotic arm that can pick stuff up from the floor and hand it to people without them having to bend down.
The "Readybot Challenge" team have released footage of their domestic robot, intended to demonstrate the feasibility of a home-help robot capable of performing up to 80-percent of routine chores. This current Readybot prototype - which resembles a dishwasher with a bin-lid dome and outstretched "hug me!" arms - can tidy up mess left on the floor, empty trash and, thanks to a flip-down garage at the back, release a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner.
Check out the video of Readybot in action, after the cut!
iRobot's Roomba vacuum cleaner has long been a popular platform for home robotics tinkerers to start modding from, being a stable puck-like base and having an array of sensors already in place. Well, iRobot have obviously decided that if you can't beat them, join them (or at least facilitate them a little better), hence the Create. With the boring vacuum removed and a selection of I/O ports in place, it becomes a great starting point for DIY projects.
Obviously completely devoid of any laurels altogether, Tom over at Botmag has already got his hands on the Create and has knocked up a few entertaining prototypes that range from the school science lab (a robot arm) to the obscure (some sort of robotic hamster?!) It's an entertaining enough review simply for the photos, but if you're in any way tech-minded then I imagine you're already drooling a little at the possibilities iRobot have opened up.
iRobot Corp. just released today the first public photo of their latest project, code named Sentinel. The project is developing an arsenal of semi-autonomous robots that can be simultaneously controlled via one touch-screen computer. The robots can be programmed to reach certain coordinates and be able to navigate itself pass obstacles along the way without intervention of the operator. Funded by the U.S. Army’s Small Business Innovation and Research program, the Sentinel robots are anticipated to help perform dangerous missions in times of war, such as conducting surveillance and mapping of hostile environments.
A rugged version of the Roomba, the iRobot Dirt Dog is designed specifically for cleaning up your shop floor, basement, or garage. Retails for $129.99 and comes with 5 issues of This Old House magazine if you order online now.