White Box Robotics 912 - Hackable Home Robot

Although I confess that I am fascinated by robot lawnmowers (somebody up the block from me has one) and robot vacuum cleaners (I have friends who say a dog is better autonomous unit for cleaning up food particles), I haven't really been moved to buy one.

The White Box Robotics 912 family of so-called pc-bots is a different story. The 912 unit is basically a robotics platform; it runs on a Windows operating system and can use off-the-shelf components.


(From White Box Robotics 912 "MP3")

The 912 comes with a Windows-based application to control the robot. It is a GUI-based application that provides vision-based navigation, object recognition, speech recognition, speech synthesis and other features. The company shows several versions so you can see what is possible. The 912 "MP3" version features a DVD-ROM device with a 5.5 inch screen on the back of the robot for playing games or watching movies. You can tell the robot to play mp3's, or burn them to a disk to give to friends. The 912 "HMV" version shows its tough-guy side as a sentry-duty robot.

The 912 is not functional out of the box; it is up to the hobbyist to add their own parts and customize it. To me, this is one of the most interesting features; it reminds me of when microcomputers were new and customizable. It really was up to you to decide what it was good at, and then make it work.


(From White Box Robotics 912 "HMV")

In the opinion of this reviewer (neat site, by the way), the White Box Robotics 912 is a best bet for being a real-life R2D2, the iconic Star Wars robot. As you may recall, R2D2 is an all-purpose kind of robot - like the 912.


(R2D2 on patrol)

For example, R2D2 shows Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi a hologram of Princess Leia, demonstrating his multimedia features. The 912 also comes in a multimedia version; it can play back MP3s on voice command. Which is better than R2 can do, if you will recall C3PO's frustration with R2 when R2D2 refused to play the hologram for Luke alone.

Also, R2D2 has an extendable sensor arm that can be used for a wide variety of tasks. The White Box Robotics has nothing like this built-in, but since you can customize it as you please, it shouldn't be an insurmountable problem. A higher-end robot, the European Space Agency's Beagle 2, comes equipped with an extendable arm with a cluster of sensors. Beagle 2, regrettably, is not yet available to basement hobbyists. But the White Box Robotics 912 will be available commercially this year.

What would you do with your own customizable robot? Leave your ideas below.


(Beagle 2)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/27/2004)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 25 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.' - Harry Harrison, 1956.

Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.

Cassie 'Halfbot' Best Half (Lower) Of Humanoid Robot
We can always make it limp along if it gets threatening.

Autonomous Concrete Floor Finishing Robot
Keep those construction site robots coming.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?

Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''

China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'

iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.

Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.

RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.

Seasteading Floating Cities
'It was a remarkable island, circular, about half a kilometer in diameter.'

Tesla Semi 'Electrotruck' Unveiled
Elon Musk unveils yet another technological marvel.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.