Think you’re addicted to your iPod? Well, what if you could tuck it into a roly-poly, docking station-type gizmo and watch the unit bump and grind to the beat of your favorite play list. How mesmerizing would that be?
The Miuro is the latest invention from ZMP Inc., a small Japanese company specializing in robotics. ZMP, founded in 2000, has created a family of robots designed for the education and entertainment markets. The Nuvo robot, its first for the consumer segment, can do more than 50 kinds of movement and can be controlled by human voice—even remotely, say, from your cell phone while in transit in your car. ZMP says the Nuvo, which has a built-in camera, makes a perfect house sitter, if not a fun house guest.
Its latest offering, the Miuro, builds on the robotic technology with music, which ZMP believes can be the “killer app” to give its robots mass appeal. You can play music through your iPod and use the Miuro as a speaker/docking system or you can play music from your PC by connecting to the Firefly Media Server or use Miuro to play Internet radio. All of this cool functionality will cost you a pretty penny, however: ZMP is aiming to sell the Miuro in the States later this year for around $1,000 (not including the iPod).
Both robots were designed using PTC’s Wildfire CAD software. Using new shade view functionality and other features in Wildfire 3.0, the ZMP design team says it was able to finish Miuro’s mechanical design in just two months along with achieving some notable improvements in size and design. Check out this Webcast for a look at the ZMP robots.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.