Machine Design

Backtalk 2/09/2012

Service robotics
Five years ago, Schunk Inc., Morrisville, N.C., initiated the Expert Days on Service Robotics to broaden the awareness and potential for an international service robotics market.

From Feb. 29 to March 1, Schunk will host the 5th annual Expert Days in Hausen, Germany (Schunk’s headquarters are in Lauffen/Neckar, Germany). The motto for this year’s event is “Service robotics — Quo vadis?”

The event for this rapidly developing market will focus on topics such as “perception and learning,” “marketing,” “robots and component design,” and “robots and people.” Top-notch speakers from around the world, including Prof. Dr. Roland Siegwart from the ETH Zurich and Steve Cousins of the U. S. robotics firm Willow Garage, will present current trends, the latest research, and promising business models. For more information, go to

Mobile apps interact with collectibles

AppGear apps seamlessly interact with cool, collectible toys. One such toy, Foam Fighters, is a collectible line of detailed foam airplanes that really fly. They unlock missions in the digital world when scanned into a smart device. Once unlocked, these planes attach to the front of the smart device with the included arm, then dive in to the digital world and battle for control of the skies.

The plane is mounted on the front of the smart device, dog fighting and taking digital damage in the app.

Available in April, the app was developed by WowWee, makers of Robosapien and PaperJamz. The download is free and works on Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Retail price for the plane set is $10.

© 2012 Penton Media, Inc.

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