This motion sensing robot from Willow Garage and Yujin Robot turns your laptop into a moving robot. So the next time you look for your laptop it may just be taking a stroll around your house.
The real reason for this technology is for robotics nerds to have a Robot Operating System (ROS) compatible base for building your own robot. At its core it is just a basic robot. It has its brains in the form of the laptop, a power supply built into the base, the start of a body, and a Microsoft Kinect built in to give the robot eyes and ears.
Students and teachers of robotics are falling in love with the Kinect. As a digital set of eyes and ears, it has some wonderful applications of robotics. Students have used it as a way to control robots, and with Turtlebot, they use it as sensors for the robots themselves.
Turtlebot was designed for students as a low cost, yet highly advanced introduction to robotics. The design of Turtlebot is simple, and it works right out of the box. The challenge is to use ROS to create new and advanced robotics using the basic framework.
If we get people started in robotics from a young age, we will be able to see some great things from them as their knowledge progresses. Having them jumping right into ROS from the get go, already puts them on the right track to learning the current state of robotics without having to rehash what has already been done. If they jump right into it, and see that they can do some amazing things from the beginning, students are more likely to stick with a subject that is difficult to get into.
Follow these links for some cool and/or wacky things going on in robotics today. It will be interesting to see what the students of today will come up with tomorrow.