Kevin Nicks’s garden shed is street legal in the UK and has clocked 141,7 km/h, thanks to a V6 engine sending power to all four wheels. But there are even weirder wheels being developed around the world.
A GIANT pram entertained pedestrians in Chicago this week.
The pram, strong enough to cradle a 130 kg man, was pushed out as a marketing stunt, dreamt up by advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB), for baby product manufacturer Kolcraft.
The pram is not collapsable and has to be transported on the back of a truck.
FCB is one of the few media companies that can sit at the same senior table as The Witness, dating back to 1873, compared to our 1846 starting year.
In Singapore, robot developers at A*Star’s Institute for Infocomm Research have designing robots that can self-navigate through libraries at night, scanning spines and shelves to report back on missing or out-of-place books.
Gizmag reports that this autonomous robotic shelf-scanning (AuRoSS) platform scans RFID tags on the books and produces a report. In the morning, the human librarians can check the results and easily see which books are in the wrong spot and where they belong. There’s still a need for human labour, but it’s far less time-consuming than manually searching every shelf for misplaced titles.
The wheeled robot uses lasers and ultrasonic sensors to guide it through the stacks, with precision down to the centimetre.
AuRoSS has been tested in libraries in Singapore, where it achieved up to 99% accuracy, even with curved shelves. The researchers say that the system can easily incorporate different sensors beyond RFID, including cameras, Bluetooth and WiFi, and could be adapted for use in warehouses, retail stores or in the medical technology, aerospace and automotive industries.
Self balancing ‘selfie stick’
From Burlingame, California, comes the latest version of a self-balancing camera holder on a stick that is mounted on a small Segway-like roller.
Aimed at video makers, the self-balancing stick can take 360° videos with a self-balancing 360° camera dolly and an accompanying universal 360° camera mount.
It is remotely controlled using either an iPhone 6 or an iPod Touch via LTE/4G, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This means that video can be shot without any crew members being in view.
Wait, don’t laugh. The day will come when the drone cannot deliver your pizza or latest order from Amazon (most likely because the neighbour will be shooting the pesky buzzers down), which is when you will need a robot pedestrian.
The problem is that robots have to date proven unable to navigate through a swarm of human legs.
Which is why students at Stanford University in the U.S. are working on Jackrabbit, a hip-high robot that makes sense of pavements.
Jackrabbit works by means of a suite of cameras and navigational sensors that allow it to negotiate outdoor pathways, streets and indoor hallways.
Since it is a “social robot”, it is programmed to observe human pedestrian etiquette and imitate it. This way, it’s hoped that it will eventually learn enough about the unwritten rules of the road to avoid obstacles in malls, railway stations and airports.
The team will present their research at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Las Vegas in the U.S. on June 27.
An advertising stunt in Chicago shows how fast a certain baby food can make a child grow.