Looking at the product designs from OLogic, a consumer robotics company launching at DemoFall 2011 earlier this week, the words to the classic Wizard of Oz song popped into my head “If I only had a brain…” OLogic robots don’t have brains, instead, they rely on a users’ smart phones to provide the brainpower.

At Demo this week OLogic introduced the A.M.P. (Automated Music Personality), essentially, a boom box on wheels that will sell for $300 to $400. The roving music player doesn’t do a whole lot, but you can dance to it—or with it. The company also displayed Oddwerx, a $50 smartphone dock that makes your mobile phone really mobile—it can wander around your desk. Both devices seem destined for the gadget catalogs that live in airline seat pockets, but they are good reminders that we’re carrying an awful lot of computing power around in our pockets these days. Larson introduces his gizmos in the video above.

Follow me on Twitter @TeklaPerry

The Conversation (0)

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
Horizontal
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
DarkGray

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?

Keep Reading ↓Show less