Sunday, 19 September 2004

You may have seen the Robosapien toy robot for sale at your local Frys or other electronics store. It's fun to play with and remarkably more advanced than anything that was made when I was a kid. Our local store sells it for about $68.

Well, some guys over in Germany that are studying robotics decided it would be fun to make the Robosapien robot autonomous - in other words, program it so it could do something on its own, using its own "senses," if you will. They successfully hacked their little robot with a Pocket PC, Microsoft Embedded C++, an IR remote control program for the Pocket PC, and a CF-card camera. Now it will "watch" for an orange pole, and if it "sees" it in its field of view, it will run toward the pole. Pretty darn cool.

But even better than just showing they can do it, they have released their Robosapien API so that you, too can play with robotic hacks. You're not limited to making mad dashes at orange poles - that is just the default program that ships with the API. You can write your own instruction sets for your autonomous robot, and make it interact with whatever it can "see."

I am starting to think I need to pick up one of these, find that old Pocket PC that's lying around here somewhere, and see what can be done. It looks like they had to chop off the lower arms and part of the original robot's feet - probably for weight reasons - which is too bad. Their notes also state that the weight and center of gravity/balance are important to allowing the robot to move correctly under its own power. So, a really light-weight PocketPC would certainly be a good place to start. :-)

(via Engadget)

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Sunday, 19 September 2004 20:24:46 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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