Various personal interests and public info, gesture, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Month: April 2009 Page 1 of 2

Jailtime for Footballer giving the Finger?

I have previously witnessed many footballers getting fined (usually about 10000 euro) over giving the finger to either their own fans or the fans of the other side. But this is the first time I hear that a footballer might get jailtime over it. It is happening in Brazil, to Cristian Mark Junio Nascimento Oliveira, of the Corinthians. He is facing charges in for unsuitable behavior or lewd conduct or something like that, being prosecuted by the department of justice. Usually, footballers get the fine from their own club or from the national football league.


Robot Penguins

Here is a video of ‘robotic aqua penguins’ that is attracting a fair bit of attention. It is made by Festo (both the video and the robot penguins). I think they have made very interesting robots, and I especially like the wonderful sight of the flying robot penguins. However, the suggestion that they resemble actual penguins in their behavior, either individually or as a group, is a bit far fetched, I think. Yes, the head and tail can move about ninety degrees and yes, they manage to have a bit of propulsion with a swimming motion. Yes, they use sonar to avoid collision. And I will happily grant them that they managed to create smooth movements using the flexible head and tail. Neat tricks, but there is of course quite a bit more to a penguin than that.

“They can behave as a group” … “this can lead to collaborative behavior”… I haven’t really seen any of that in this video but I admit the potential is there. In the same way that my laptop can potentially collaborate with all the other PC’s and laptop on the network. There is at least a connection. Or could we see, for example, the automatic upgrading of applications as a collaboration between the server and the connected laptops?

“The robot arm can soon be used in agricultural and production plants”… I am not quite sure what they mean by that. Perhaps they imagine to create a next generation automatic milking machine?

Having said that: Good job, Festo!

EnGadget about Festo
Festo’s own site with more footage and German comments

Salvador DaBot, the portraitist robot

I think Salvador DaBot is a very nice example of a very entertaining robot that has some very neat tricks up his sleeve. The gesture routines are nicely done as well. And there is some form of face recognition or modelling going on. Well done!

«Your printer is only botching its job and does not know anything about pop-art! It even can’t dance!»
Salvador DaBot, 2008

The Portraitist Robot recognizes human faces in its surroundings and extracts relevant characteristics from them. By using its uncanny artistic talent, it then draws portraits of the participants from the captured images by converting them into vector art and by using inverse kinematics to control the robot’s arm.

More information on

Among the new features, the Portraitist Robot v2.0 has been patched with moustache and beret add-ons.

Contours of the faces are first extracted from the images captured through the robot’s internal cameras. The contours are then converted to paths by organizing them with respect to their lengths.

Then, the image is segmented into several shades of gray. The contours and extracted areas are simplified to keep only the important features of the face and make it look similar to a cartoon representation. The different shades of gray will be reproduced by the robot by adding several layers of drawing patterns that are painted by the robot. These patterns are designed to make the painting look more artistic. The different areas are filled similarly as a human would do by recursively starting from one point, filling the current area, and jumping to another area when it is finished.

Finally, a robust inverse kinematics controller is used to convert the 2D drawing into a set of joint angles that are run on the robot.

To look more human-like, motions of the left arm and head have been recorded through the use of motion sensors attached to the body of a person demonstrating the gesture to the robot. This process is indeed highly relevant as even when standing in a fixed posture, humans are producing small oscillations which are important to reproduce gestures that look natural and which can be reproduced on the robot to make it look more lively.

Apart from promoting Robotics as being a fun and interesting research area, this work also aims at showcasing the capabilities of the HOAP-3 robot as well as the integration of different motor and sensory components such as vision processing, clustering, human-robot interaction, speech synthesis, inverse kinematics and redundant control of humanoid robots.

1. Introduction: Gesture-controlled combat robot

A brief introduction to the gesture remote controlled combat robot.
It is composed of a 2.4GHz RF MCU and a G-Sensor remote control (Wii – like)
designed by Fontaltech

Julie Chen-Bot

Julie Chen from Big Brother, Season 6, repeating her most used phrase from the show, edited to enhance her robot-like qualities.

Eva the female robot

4. Hit and Back – Gesture-controlled combat robot

Once the robot got hit, he will feel very painful ….. so you will see.
A very funny reaction ….
designed by Fontaltech

3. Recording and Playback – Gesture-controlled combat robot

You can record a series of behaviors for the robot and playback
designed by Fontaltech

2. Basic Operation: Gesture-controlled combat robot

Demostrating the basic gesture commands:
Moving forward, backward, left-turn, right-turn …
designed by Fontaltech

Androids – Are they already near us? -機人

If you are looking for something serious, go

D-16 “End of the world”

My blog about the best comedy videos (in Japanese)

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