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Aldebaran Robotics Introduces Romeo, Finally

It's only a year or so behind schedule, but we finally get to see what Aldebaran Robotics has planned for their human-sized humanoid robot

1 min read
Aldebaran Robotics Introduces Romeo, Finally

We've been wondering wherefore art thou Romeo ever since Aldebaran Robotics promised us a March 2011 unveil of their adult-size bipedal humanoid. Now, not quite a year behind schedule, we've got the first video look at what's in store.

To be fair, Aldebaran has been busy doing stuff like coming out with a new version of Nao, so we'll cut them some slack with their (in both foresight and hindsight) entirely implausible original unveil date. And even now, Romeo is not yet all that we were promised, although he does seem to be coming along rather well:

Eventually, Romeo here will stand 1.4 meters tall, and it'll stand, you know, period, since we're guessing that he's not hangin' out in that chair just for kicks. Not that he can kick yet, but, yeah. He's designed to  assist the elderly and disabled in daily activities, ranging from fetching food and taking out the trash to keeping track of health and providing entertainment.

If you want a Romeo of your own, he will be available to interested individuals, but those individuals had better have a whole lotta scratch, 'cause rumor has it that the starting price will be somewhere around $335,000.

For more background on Romeo, make sure and check out our December 2010 interview with Rodolphe Gelin, head of cooperative projects at Aldebaran and one of the engineers leading the development of Romeo.

[ Project Romeo ] via [ Plastic Pals ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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