Posts tagged ‘Robot’

August 6, 2013

Master Mold

master mold

Master Mold is a fictional character, a robot supervillain in the Marvel Universe. Since his primary purpose was to act as a portable Sentinel-creating factory, and the Sentinel robots were primarily used to hunt mutants, Master Mold has almost exclusively appeared in the ‘X-Men’ and related, mutant-themed, comic books.

The Master Mold first appeared in ‘X-Men’ #15 (1965), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In the 1960s, out of fear of a race of superhuman mutants that could dominate the whole world and enslave normal human beings, Dr. Bolivar Trask makes Master Mold, a supercomputer, in the shape of a giant Sentinel robot, that will control and facilitate the construction of the Sentinels (mechanical warriors that are programmed to hunt and capture all superhuman mutants.)

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August 6, 2013


Sentinels are a fictional variety of mutant-hunting robots, appearing in the Marvel Comics Universe. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, they first appeared in ‘The X-Men’ (vol. 1) #14 (1965). Sentinels are programmed to locate mutants and capture or kill them using energy weapons and restraining devices; they are capable of flight, and can detect mutants at long range. Several groups of the robots have been created or led by a single, massive Sentinel, called Master Mold.

Because Sentinels are designed to hunt mutants (who often represent the protagonists of Marvel stories) they are usually employed as supervillains or as the tools of other villains. While many are capable of tactical thought, only a handful are self-aware. In the ‘Days of Future Past’ story, which takes place in an alternate future, the ‘Omega Sentinels’ have advanced technologically and become the de facto rulers of the United States. The most powerful among them is Nimrod.

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February 15, 2012



Robonaut is a humanoid robotic development project conducted by the Dextrous Robotics Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. Robonaut differs from other current space-faring robots (such as robotic arms, cranes and exploration rovers), which are designed to move large objects; Robonaut’s tasks require more dexterity. The core idea behind the Robonaut series is to have a humanoid machine work alongside astronauts. Its form factor and dexterity are designed such that Robonaut can use space tools and work in similar environments suited to astronauts.

The latest Robonaut version, R2, the first US-built robot on the ISS, delivered by the Space Shuttle in 2011, is a robotic torso designed to assist with crew EVA’s. However, Robonaut 2 does not have adequate protection needed to exist outside the space station and enhancements and modifications would be required to allow it to move around the station’s interior.

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February 15, 2012



Justin is a humanoid robot developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) controlable through telepresence. Justin will be mounted on its own satellite and will be able to maneuver in orbit and fix other satellites.

The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to have astronauts aboard the International Space Station teleoperate Justin while he is on Earth.

January 16, 2012



Wakamaru is a Japanese domestic robot made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, primarily intended to provide companionship to elderly and disabled people. The robot is yellow, 1m tall, and weighs 30 kilograms. It has two arms and its flat, circular base has a diameter of 45 cm. The first hundred went on sale in 2005, for USD $14,000. Wakamaru runs a Linux operating system on multiple microprocessors.

It can connect to the Internet, and has limited speech (in both male and female voices) and speech recognition abilities. Functions include reminding the user to take medicine on time, and calling for help if it suspects something is wrong. Wakamaru was the childhood name of Minamoto no Yoshitsune, a 12th century Japanese general.

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January 16, 2012



Paro is a therapeutic robot baby harp seal, intended to be very cute and to have a calming effect on and elicit emotional responses in patients of hospitals and nursing homes, similar to Animal-Assisted Therapy. It was designed by Takanori Shibata of the Intelligent System Research Institute of Japan’s AIST beginning in 1993. It was first exhibited to the public in late 2001 and handmade versions have been sold commercially since 2004.

Paro is based on harp seals Shibata saw in Canada, where he also recorded their cries that Paro uses. The robot has tactile sensors and responds to petting by moving its tail and opening and closing its eyes. It also responds to sounds and can learn a name. It can show emotions such as surprise, happiness and anger. It produces sounds similar to a real baby seal and (unlike a real baby seal) is active during the day and goes to sleep at night.

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January 16, 2012



Dustbot is a robot that collects garbage from homes. It can be summoned by phone call or SMS, and uses GPS to automatically make its way to the customer, collect the rubbish, and take it to a dustbin. In addition, the Dustbots carry environmental sensors to monitor the pollution levels over, for example, a pedestrian area.

Prototypes have been tested in Italy and Sweden and Ireland. The Dustbot project is funded by the European Commission. The Dustbot system, consisting of the DustCart and the DustClean robots, is designed to work in tight urban areas where large trucks find it difficult to operate, such as old European cities.

November 30, 2011



AIBO was one of several types of robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony from 1999 to 2006. AIBO is able to walk, ‘see’ its environment via camera and recognize spoken commands in Spanish and English. AIBO are autonomous robots since they are able to learn and mature based on external stimuli from their owner, their environment, and from other AIBOs. Artist Hajime Sorayama created the initial designs for the AIBO. AIBO’s sounds were programmed by Japanese DJ/avant-garde composer Nobukazu Takemura. The International AIBO Convention takes place every year at Sony Robotics Tower in the Shinjuku prefecture.

AIBO runs AIBOware on a pink Memory Stick, which allows the robot to be raised from pup to fully grown adult while going through various stages of development as its owner interacts with it. AIBOware allows the owner to interact with a fully mature robot able to understand (though not necessarily willing to obey) 100 voice commands. Without the AIBOware, the AIBO will run in what is called ‘clinic mode’ and can only perform basic actions. Many AIBO owners enjoy teaching their pets new behaviors by reprogramming them in Sony’s special ‘R-CODE’ language. AIBO’s complete vision system uses the SIFT algorithm, to recognize its charging station. The newest versions are equipped with a Wi-Fi connection, allowing them to send the pictures they take via email which led to the Roblog.

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July 5, 2011


Maschinenmensch by Daniel Nyari

The Maschinenmensch [muh-sheen-en-mench] (German: ‘machine-human’) from ‘Metropolis,’ is a gynoid played by German actress Brigitte Helm in both her robotic and human incarnations. The haunting blank face and pronounced female curves have been the subject of disgust and fascination alike. The Maschinenmensch has many names given her through the years : Parody, Ultima, Machina, Futura, and Robotrix. The Maschinenmensch’s back story is detailed in Thea von Harbou’s original 1927 novel. It is described as a very delicate, but faceless, transparent figure made of crystal flesh with silver bones and its eyes filled with an expression of calm madness. Futura is perfectly obedient and the ideal agent-provocateur, able to become any woman and tempt men to their doom.

The memorable transformation scene was an early miracle of special effects, using a series of matte cutouts of the robot’s silhouette and a number of circular neon lights. All effects were filmed directly into the camera rather than edited separately. As a result the film had to be rewound and exposed many tens of times over to include the plates showing the heart and circulatory systems as well as cuts between the robot form and Maria showing her gradual transformation. The Maschinenmensch is an archetypal example of the Frankenstein complex, where artificial creations turn against their creator and go on a rampage. Artificial beings with a malevolent nature were a popular theme at the time. Original designs by Ralph McQuarrie for C-3PO in Star Wars were largely based on the Maschinenmensch, albeit in a male version. The design was later refined, but retains clear Art Deco influences.

June 14, 2011

Utility Fog


Utility fog (coined by Dr. John Storrs Hall) is a hypothetical collection of tiny robots that can replicate a physical structure. As such, it is a form of self-reconfiguring modular robotics. Hall thought of it as a nanotechnological replacement for car seatbelts. The robots would be microscopic, with extending arms reaching in several different directions, and could perform three-dimensional lattice reconfiguration.

Grabbers at the ends of the arms would allow the robots (or foglets) to mechanically link to one another and share both information and energy, enabling them to act as a continuous substance with mechanical and optical properties that could be varied over a wide range. Each foglet would have substantial computing power, and would be able to communicate with its neighbors.

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April 2, 2011

Google Driverless Car

self driving car

The Google Driverless Car project is currently being led by engineer Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View, whose team at Stanford created the robotic vehicle Stanley which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge (the second driverless car competition by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and its $2 million prize from the United States Department of Defense.

The system combines information gathered for Google Street View with  input from video cameras inside the car, a LIDAR sensor on top of the vehicle, radar sensors on the front of the vehicle, and a position sensor attached to one of the rear wheels that helps locate the car’s position on the map.

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March 2, 2011



Pleo is an animatronic dinosaur toy designed to emulate the appearance and behavior of a week-old baby Camarasaurus. It was designed by Caleb Chung, the co-creator of the Furby.

Chung selected this species of dinosaur because its body shape, stocky head, and relatively large cranium made it ideal for concealing the sensors and motors needed for lifelike animation. Each Pleo ‘learns’ from its experiences and environment through a sophisticated artificial intelligence and develops an individual personality.

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