The United States Navy has been using specially trained dolphins for a number of years to find mines in waterways around the world. Currently the Navy has 24 specially trained dolphins that can find mines and warn Navy personnel. The Navy has 80 dolphins in total within its $24 million Marine mammal program.
Toshiba has revealed a new robot intended to explore the radioactive mess of Japan's Fukushima No.1 reactor in Tokyo, a four-legged beast that can birth a second, separate robot to squeeze through narrow spaces. The tetrapod 'bot - which resembles a Toshiba-branded coolbox on spindly legs, and carries both a camera and a dosimeter - is remotely controlled by a wireless operator, and has clever onboard intelligence that allows it to totter across uneven terrain without tumbling.
Sharp has revealed a new part of its Cocorobo smart home system, the RX-V60 robot vacuum cleaner, which can not only get rid of dust-bunnies under your couch, but send before/after photos to your smartphone. The smaller 'bot is now 29.7cm in diameter - 4.7cm less than the model it replaces - for easier scooting between table legs, and now works with a "Cocorobo Square" app that can be used to lay out floorplans, sketch precise cleaning patterns, and review photos while you're away from home. Meanwhile, an optional remote attachment, the Cocorobo Navi, can give the RV-V60 control over your TV and other appliances.
Playing with some types of balls in public can be troublesome and irritating to onlookers. We've all seen guys in public standing around throwing a football with no respect to people trying to walk by. However, if the balls you're playing with happen to be the robotic Sphero type, odds are other people will join in the play thanks to the easy to control nature. If you happen to live in the UK, you'll be glad to hear that you can now get your hands on your own robotic balls.
Last fall, a little tank treaded robot turned up on Kickstarter called the Romo from Romotive. The Romo used your iPhone as its brain to control the tank base to allow the little bot to perform all sorts of tasks. The team behind the little robot is back on Kickstarter right now looking for more funding.
NASA's Curiosity robot, which has been rolling hither and yon on Mars in search of microbial life, has revealed some aspects of a rock that surprise scientists. The rock, named Jack Matijevic in honor of a NASA engineer who passed away shortly after Curiosity landed, contains a varied composition profile that was unexpected based on past missions. These newly discovered compositions give scientists a greater insight into the Martian planet's environment and processes.
Robotic vacuum cleaners are nothing new; they've been on the market for a long time now. Most robotic vacuums look the same with a round shape that creeps around your house to vacuum the carpets without you having to bother. A company called Agama has announced two new robotic vacuum cleaners that will help you keep your home spotless and clean. The robotic vacuums include the RC530A and RC330A.
A company called Suitable Technologies is unveiling a new remote presence robots system. The robotic system is called the Beam Remote Presence System or Beam RPS. The robotic system is designed to allow people to travel instantly to remote locations using video conferencing on a mobile platform.
You may recall back in June, we first talked about the Android-powered Shimi dancing robot speaker dock. The speaker dock was aimed at Android smartphone users and would dance and tap its little robotic foot to the tunes you playback from your smartphone. Inside the robot's head is a pair of speakers.
The gang over at DARPA likes to work on some really wild projects from time to time. The part that impresses me the most about some of the wild projects DARPA works on or funds is that the researchers actually get many of them to work. One of the things that DARPA has been pushing hard on is robotics in an attempt to design robots for the military and other applications.