Designed in the late 1770s this incredible little robot called simply The Writer, was designed and built by Pierre Jaquet-Droz. He was a Swiss-born watchmaker of the late eighteenth century. He lived in Paris London Geneva, where he designed and built animated dolls, or automata, to help his firm sell watches and mechanical birds.
The Writer has an input device to set tabs that form a programmable memory, 40 cams that represent the read-only programme, and a quill pen for output. Crammed inside is an engineering marvel: 6,000 custom made components work in concert to create a fully self-contained writing machine that some consider to be the oldest example of a computer.
AIREAL is a new low cost, highly scalable haptic technology that delivers expressive tactile sensations in mid air. AIREAL enables users to feel virtual objects, experience dynamically varying textures and receive feedback on full body gestures, all without requiring the user to wear a physical device.
One new technology announced this month by the research wing of the Walt Disney Company allows users to feel textures on a touchscreen, pointing to a future where you will be able to use your phone not only to see and hear, but also to feel.
As well as making screens you can feel, Disney Research is also developing tactile equipment that doesn’t require any actual contact at all — like an Xbox Kinect, but where you feel as though you can touch objects in front of you in thin air. The device is called the “Aireal” and in its developers’ words it provides “interactive tactile experiences in free air.” The Aireal works by blowing small rings of air at a user to simulate touch, movement or collisions with objects.
XYZdot created Fritz to provide folks with an inexpensive open platform that can be controlled and programmed via an Arudino microcontroller or indirectly via a PC. Many platforms exist for research purposes but most of them are not accessible, controllable or hackable to the average consumer. Other more commercially available animatronic heads are difficult to modify, customize or change to suit your own needs unless you are a reverse engineering expert.
Fritz is an animatronic puppet that is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. Fritz was created to provide an inexpensive introduction into robotics that is both entertaining, creative and educational. With an open source directive, Fritz is accompanied by a PC application to provide you with an easy to use interface in customizing and interacting with the project mechanics.
Fritz comes with an open source desktop application currently written in CSharp for the Windows platform. The application communicates to Fritz over a USB connection to the Arduino board. There are several features that are unique to Fritz not found in other servo control applications:
Drag and Drop - You can control Fritz using drag and drop interface that represents Fritz.
Audio and Motion editor - All of this can be done over an audio channel to help synchronize Fritz’s movement to audio tunes, spoken words, etc.
Text to Speech - The Fritz Controller can add spoken text as the audio background for motion sequences
For kids, Fritz is a great project to start with robotics and animatronics. And once he is built, they can continue to learn and have fun by customizing him, adding features, making a movie starring Fritz, etc. Fritz can even be a way to study the psychology of human expression and emotion.
The Machines of the Isle of Nantes (Les Machines de l’île) is an artistic, touristic and cultural theme park based in Nantes, France. Orignal it is a project of Machines de l’île in Nantes aims that to promote city’s image and tries to build an identity as a creative metropole of dream and of fantasy. The Machines of the Isle is created by two artists, François Delarozière(La Machine) and Pierre Orefice (Manaus association), visualisions a travel-through-time world at the crossroads of the “imaginary worlds” of Jules Verne and the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci.
Three major Machines projects include :
The Great Elephant (2007)
The mechanical elephant is 12 meters high and 8 meters wide, made from 45 tons of wood and steel. It can take up to 49 passengers for a 45-minute walk.
The Marine Worlds Carrousel (2012)
The Marine Worlds will be a huge carrousel, rising nearly 25m high and measuring 20m in diameter. It will feature 35 moving underwater creatures on three levels: the ocean floor, the depths, and sea and boats. Visitors will be able to move about amidst a ballet of aquatic animals and sea carriages, as well as climb aboard and guide the movements of the Machines.
The Heron Tree (2014)
The Heron Tree is a steel structure of 45 meters in diameter and 28 meters in height, topped with two herons. The project plans to allow visitors to climb either onto the back or onto the wings of the birds for a circular flight over the hanging gardens of the tree.
Greenpeace have enlisted one of the icy continent’s most powerful creatures to take their campaign even further. This is one big bear – as large as a double decker bus and steered by a genuine ship’s wheel, her white coat is made from recycled white objects and fabrics.
The bear was designed by Christopher Kelly in collaboration with props designer Simon Costin. It needs 15 puppeteers to operate and will be followed by thousands of people on foot and bike. The memory of the magnificent mechanical Sultan’s Elephant which visited London from Nantes in 2006 will be enough to get anyone excited about the capital’s new visitor on a mission.
The giant polar bear will set off from Victoria Tower Gardens (next to the Southern end of the Houses of Parliament) at 12pm on Sunday September 15. The parade will walk over Westminster Bridge and left towards Jubilee Garden, reaching Shell’s HQ at 3.30pm at the latest. Find more information, see greenpeace.org.uk/aurora.