28 June 2012

The past couple of days have been pretty busy for big G, trying to demonstrate every developer on earth why they should stick, migrate or try their hit platform Android (and brother Chrome) amongst they many other products they’ve got. One of the hardware surprises that was unveiled yesterday was their “Social” experiment Nexus Q, a new Airplay & Sonos competitor. But despite its gorgeous design, and “home-made” label, it lacks quite a substantial list of features to become your new living room toy.

But! There was this gigantic Nexus Q robotic sculpture at the entrance that big G asked SF-based design and engineering studio Bot & Dolly to create for them.  And they did a rather impressive job…

The Kinetisphere sits on top of the famous German Kuka industrial robot (which B&d use for their Iris filming platform) (remember Audi’s Outrace sculpture from 2010?) replicating the Nexus Q and its led ring. For the event B&d tried to bring that “socialness” into the sculpture by proposing visitors to use one of the many controls that direct the sculpture (one for the heightm another one for its angle and a last one for the LED ring pattern).

Kinetisphere 2012 Bot&Dolly
calibrating the Kinetisphere – 2012 Bot&Dolly

 Hopefully the Nexus Q will be popular enough… not to become one of those useless toys sitting in your living room… much like Sony’s Rolly. Maybe if Sony had partnered with B&d to create a massive Rolly the impact would have been different. The nice people @Engadget got to talk with Jeff Linnel about the creation process…

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NAO Next Gen

13 December 2011

Another one gone viral…. yesterday just a few thousands and now over 100K views! The new more-than-a-toy NAO humanoid by French robotics manufacturer Aldebaran Robitics is now out for just 15.000$!!! A bargain!

It’s obviously not aimed at final users like us (although it’s their ultimate goal) but at researchers… for educational, scientific  and development purposes…. for now.

NAO became really successful a few years ago when it became the standard platform for the ROBOCUP league,  making it one of the most widely accepted humanoids on earth. Now that Aldebaran Robotics have a big fan base (sold over 2000 units on top of the freely distributed ones) and they want to make of NAO a basic element for the future of education.

It seems like it has become (we’re still hoping a lot from those good looking Japanese Ropid units) the de-facto standard and their new version packs a 1.6GHz processor and two HD cameras to improve performance in face-and-object recognition.

We’re simply just a few years ago from having our own helping humanoid at home.

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