close this bookVolume 8: No. 34.2
View the documentFunding news
View the documentIndustry news
View the documentTechnology and speculation
View the documentApplied jobs (in our CAJ 8.34 digest this week)
View the documentRobotics and invention
View the documentComputists' news

DARPA's Tactical Mobile Robotics Program selected JPL as head of a consortium to create miniature tactical mobile robots for urban military operations. This is a $4M contract, and JPL was selected from among 50 finalists. Other consortium members are IS Robotics (Somerville, MA) for robotic platforms); CMU for perception; Oak Ridge National Laboratory for map-making; and USC for the operator interface. A prototype will be completed by the end of 1999. The "backpackable" microrover will be less than 16" long, but rugged enough to be tossed over fences or through windows and agile enough to climb stairs. It should be able to deactivate booby traps, deliver payloads, watch for motion and "detect hostile entities," or simply listen for sounds and vibrations. . [Ron Baalke , comp.robotics.misc, 08Sep98.]

Robot soccer? Oliver Obst has implemented a soccer server interface library for ECLiPSe-Prolog (RoboLog), downloadable at . The UKoblenz simulated soccer team is proprietary, but development partners are welcome. See for details of the logic/deduction-based approach. [, comp.lang.prolog, 23Oct98.]

ActivMedia Robotics is offering a new Pioneer 2 mobile robot platform, with trade-in allowance on Pioneer 1s. Three wheeled models with sensors, onboard computing, and claimed low prices. , (603) 924-9100. [, 11/1/98.]

Good robotics magazines include the new monthly Robot Science & Technology, , and the quarterly Robot Digest from Whirlwind Publications, 1700 Washington Ave., Rocky Ford, CO 81067; (719) 254-4558. Online resources include the FAQ at ; BEAM robotics at ; and the robotics groups in Seattle , Portland , and Dallas . [John Piccirillo , comp.robotics.misc, 29Nov97 and 18Feb98.]

Successful inventors need business and communication skills as well as mechanical expertise. R.J. Riley has constructed a comprehensive website for would-be inventors, at . [, K12 Opportunities, 10Sep98. net-hap.]

Douglas Fraser got a chuckle out of MIT's "shirt button" gas-turbine power packs for computer gear. He suggests some dual-use products: "Combination pager/hand warmer for those Northern climates. Cell phone/cigarette lighters so you can smoke and talk on the phone while you drive. GPS/fire starter for those REALLY long walks in the woods. Remote alarm/lock deicer for your car. Garage door remote/windsheild deicer. Laptop/lap warmer. How about a desk clock/hot plate for your coffee cup?" [, 23Oct98.] (The Business Week news item (13Jul98) didn't discuss heat dissipation, but it couldn't be high or the packs wouldn't be competitive with lithium batteries for cell phones. Add a Pentium, though...)