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Amazon Acquires Kiva Systems for $775 Million

Kiva Systems warehouse robots
Photo: Joel Eden Photography/Kiva Systems

Looks like Amazon is getting some robots. LOTS of robots.

The giant online retailer announced today that it is acquiring Kiva Systems, a North Reading, Mass.-based company that invented a revolutionary way of managing vast warehouses by using fleets of mobile robots to sort, organize, and transport inventory.

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Our First Look Inside SAFFiR, the U.S. Navy's Firefighting Robot

When we posted about SAFFiR last week (the firefighting robot being developed by Virginia Tech's Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory), the best we could offer you in terms of imagery was a picture of CHARLI, a diagram, and a gratis screenshot of a flaming Terminator robot. Now Dr. Dennis Hong, the director of RoMeLa, wrote in to share these pics of what SAFFiR actually looks like right now.

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iRobot Introduces New Scooba 390, Ducky Not Included

Today, iRobot is introducing the new Scooba 390. No, it's not the little round robot in the picture above: that's the Scooba 230. And no, it's not the yellow thing either: that's a ducky, and it's sold separately. The Scooba 390 (in the back of the pic, if you're still wondering) is a lot like its predecessor, the Scooba 380. It's nothing completely new or revolutionary, but there are a few unique features that we're at least a little bit excited about.

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Breaking News: Rattlesnakes Don't Like RoboSquirrels

Animals generally tend to treat robots with either indifference or, more commonly, curiosity. After all, robots are clearly not food, and they're not usually threatening, so more often than not, animals are satisfied to just try and figure out what the heck is going on. Most of the time. Turns out, if you build a robot that's deliberately designed to provoke an animal, that works out pretty well too. Meet RoboSquirrel.

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Help Kickstart Real-Life Mech Warfare with a New Arena

You remember Mech Warfare from RoboGames: it's where people build walking robots, arm them with BB guns, and set them lose against each other in a destructible cityscape. The trick? The human pilot can't see their robot at all: the driving and shooting is all done through first-person cameras in the robots themselves, just like a video game. Except real. It's one of the most awesome things, you know, ever, and Mech Warfare needs your help building a bigger, better, and safer arena so that they can outfit their robots with even more dangerous weaponry.

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Aldebaran Robotics Sells Majority Stake for $100 Million [UPDATED]

aldebaran nao humanoid robot

UPDATE March 27, 2012: According to a forum message by Bastien Parent, head of communication at Aldebaran Robotics, the Financial Times report on Aldebaran's sale contains incorrect information. It's not clear what part of the report is incorrect. Parent wrote that when Aldebaran has concrete things to report, it will do so, "but this is not the case today." 

In news that will send a ripple of excitement through the robotics community, French robot maker Aldebaran has reportedly sold a majority stake in the business for about US $100 million.

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Neato Upgrades XV-11 to XV-21 with New Brush, More Purpleness

New (sort of) from Neato Robotics is the XV-21, an autonomous robot vacuum that's been enhanced to provide better cleaning for people with an excess of pets. Besides being a solid XV-10 better than the XV-11, will the XV-21 and its new pet-optimized hardware really do a better job, and is it worth the premium you'll pay? Being the robot vacuum experts that we are (or that we claim to be, anyway), we'll tell you what we think.

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Navy Enlisting CHARLI's Little Bro SAFFiR as a Robot Fire Fighter

The Office of Naval Research has announced that they're developing SAFFiR, a humanoid firefighting robot designed to operate aboard ships that looks not entirely unlike the robot in the picture above. And as you've probably already guessed from the rAnDoMLy weIRD caPITaLIZAtiON, it's going to be developed in partnership with Virginia Tech's RoMeLa, already famous (at least, around here) for their CHARLI humanoid.

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