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Have fun with some entertaining and informative robot stories.
 buttblue.jpg (750 bytes) Want to Buy a Robot?
Check out Cye, the affordable robot from Probotics, Inc., and see other robots you can buy!

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 buttblue.jpg (750 bytes) Want to Build a Robot?
Study Albert, a home-built robot with a laptop brain, and read about some popular robot kits!

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 buttblue.jpg (750 bytes) Cybert
Meet an amazing home robot that mixes the best of two worlds.
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  The Ultimate Robotics Source

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This page will be updated frequently with personal robot news, and stories about home robots.

Robot News (Updated Continuously)
Home Robot News (December)
New Home Robot Sees Faces
NEC's Personal Robot R100 can recognize 300 vocal commands and identify the faces of up to 10 people. The robot has been in development since 1997 but won't be released to the public for at least another year. There are rumors that it will only be available in Japan.  You can visit the R100 website (now in English) here.

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NECs Personal Robot R100

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Pioneer's Peoplebot

Pioneer Introduces Peoplebot
ActivMedia, best known for their Pioneer research robots, has just released "Peoplebot". This exciting robot has two rings of sonar sensors, voice recognition, text-to-speech and many other exciting features.  The price tag for this one is high, about $6000.00 to start.
Read more about it here.
This Robot Sucks
Probotics has just released a Hoover cordless vacuum cleaner for their popular Cye robot. The vacuum cleaner has its own power.
cyevacsmall.jpg (2369 bytes) For more information, click here.

Eureka Reveals Robot Vacuum
The Eureka company recently unveiled a robot vacuum cleaner.  Put the robot down and turn it on and it will randomly vacuum until you turn it off, avoiding most obstacles.  The robot can't recharge itself, however.  Find out more by clicking here.

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Eureka Robot Vac

Robot Stories (December)
Life and Death of a Mindstorms Robot

Knowing that I've always loved robots, my wife bought me a Lego Mindstorms set for Christmas.  It's a great little package, and though I am not mechanically inclined, I did manage to put together a cool little 'bot.

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This is the only picture I have of the little guy.  (Picture taken with my daughter's "Barbie Digital Camera.")
He had a light sensor in front (it looked like a tie) pointing up, and his nose (a black Lego piece) was long enough to cover this sensor when the head was looking forward.  I glued a white piece of plastic to each side of the nose and aimed them so the light sensor would get a reflection of what was on that side of the room when the robot's head was turned to the opposite side. 

As the robot explored, I randomly turned the head left or right.   This gave the effect that he was looking around.  And in fact, I was storing the light meter readings on each side so the robot could compare them and then move in the brightest direction.

He had two touch sensors, front right and front left, and I programmed him to stop and "look" at whatever he hit.  (By simply facing the triggered sensor).  Then he would turn and glance over his shoulder before backing up, turning 45 degrees, and continuing on his merry way.

Building the robot took several days, and the programming took several more.  When I finally had it all working, I set the little guy down in the living room to show my wife.  She was busy cooking dinner so I told her I would wait.   While I wasn't paying attention he wandered into the kitchen, and when Melanie finally turned around to look at him she accidentally booted him across the room.   Lego pieces exploded across the floor in every direction.  There was a moment of stunned silence, then she nearly burst into tears, "I killed your robot!"  (Her guilt over this incident may help explain why she doesn't give me a hard time about my fairly expensive hobby.  <grin>)