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.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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