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Robotics Hardware

Skiing Robot May Not Be Useful, But Fun To Watch 64

Posted by timothy
from the rescue-me-in-the-alps dept.
kkleiner writes "Bojan Nemec from the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia recently presented his skiing robot at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS). The robot won't be winning skiing records anytime soon and its usefulness as a ski instructor or in any other capacity seems quite a ways off. Nonetheless, the videos of this robot taking a ride down the ski slopes are well worth watching. In case you are wondering, this is a completely different robot than the one Slashdot covered earlier."
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Skiing Robot May Not Be Useful, But Fun To Watch

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  • And it hardly ever snows here.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:42PM (#29828427)

    Can it ski on cheese?

    • by skine (1524819)

      Pixilation (not to be confused with pixelation) is apparently popular in the scientific community.

  • by dmomo (256005) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:43PM (#29828451) Homepage

    This is nothing new. I've strapped many an unsuspecting robot to a pair of skis and shoved it down a hill. They get down just fine without any of your fancy whirring gizmo's.

    Turns out it works for other things too. Campers, bears, trick-or-treaters and the Law.

    • by boristdog (133725) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @05:46PM (#29829201)

      Just be sure to give them Charles De Mar's instuctions:

      "Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn".

    • Agreed. Your method doesn't even have the requirement of snow being on the hill!
    • Pretty much what I thought too. I can't understand why these guys made their robot so high off the ground. I'd have thought a really low design would work better. Then they could use a weight on a retractable arm mounted to sides to steer -When you want to turn left push the weight to the left side, causing friction to increase on the left and Ski to turn towards that side.
      They should have been thinking of Tobagganing or Sledding instead of "Ski-ing".
  • Compare this simple robot to the high-tech Japanese one [physorg.com] covered by Slashdot earlier. Makes one realize the difference in research money available to the Slovenians versus to the Japanese.
    • And both make you realize how much processing power the brain actually has. There are people that do this at the Olympics that do it better and faster.

      All taken in with two little tiny organic cameras and processed in something that only weighs a few pounds.

      • Don't forget that our computer runs on less than 100 watts (2000 Calorie diet is less than 100 watts and we're running two cameras, mics, other sensory organs, and a bunch of gyros).

  • by naeone (1430095) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:52PM (#29828557)
    are all down hill from here
  • Soon it will race the captain of the ski team to save the mountain from the giant corporation and get the fembot.
    • by e2d2 (115622)

      Soon it will race the captain of the ski team to save the mountain from the giant corporation and get the fembot.

      And we shall name it "Lane Meyer"

      I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!

  • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:55PM (#29828603)
    The second comment on the article page itself reads:

    how do you get funding? Is your daddy influential? I want some (for something more useful, and along the same lines as your skiier) CONTACT ME, I dare you. gpscOSPAMruise@gmail.com

    That guy is seriously going to regret that now that this page is on slashdot, lol.

  • by eln (21727) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @05:00PM (#29828637) Homepage
    This sort of nonsense is taking time and effort away from truly valuable sexbot research. This is a totally irresponsible use of scarce money and talent.
    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @05:11PM (#29828771)

      What are you talking about? The sex part of the sexbot is easy, they've even combined it with a flashlight (was going to put a link, but I'm at work, and besides, ew.)

      It's the -talking- to the sexbot after the sex that needs work. What are you going to talk about while you're smoking? The battery charge left? Polynomials? Sure they could program the sexbot to tell you you were the best he/she's ever had, but you'd want more variety after a little while: they need a hobby. One hobby? Skiing. If you're a skiier you probably like to talk about skiing after sex, and it will be really obvious he/she is lying if the sexbot can't actually ski. Plus maybe you like to have sex on the lift. If the sexbot can't go down the hill, it's not going to be able to go down on you on the way up.

      Disclaimer: the above really wrote itself. It might sound like I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff, but I don't. I don't know if that's to or against my credit that I'm not actually trying to advance the sex toy industry, but it's not the case, I was just making a joke and then it started sounding a little too believable...

      • > It might sound like I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff, but I don't.

        And yet, you are surprisingly fluent in the small details involved in both design and execution. Fair to say where there's smoke....there's chaffing of the loins - just don't get too excited over the in 's & out's, ok?
      • It's the -talking- to the sexbot after the sex that needs work.

        You have clearly missed the point of having a sexbot.

        • by faffod (905810)
          why did you think that someone on slashdot would even know what to do with a sexbot, much less what to do with one "after"?
    • This is Slashdot for god's sake, here we are allowing *skiing* to get between us and *fembots* ?? Think of the geeks!!!

      On a more serious note, if you have sex with a sexbot... does that make you not a virgin?
      • by rrrhys (1475013)

        On a more serious note, if you have sex with a sexbot... does that make you not a virgin?

        Considering the circumstances, I'd say yes, you still would be. (sorry).

    • And if you design it after my wife, it doesn't even have to move!

    • by ignavus (213578)

      This sort of nonsense is taking time and effort away from truly valuable sexbot research. This is a totally irresponsible use of scarce money and talent.

      Aw, come on! Haven't you ever heard of snow bunnies?

      http://blog.peta2.com/va_colleen_snow_bunnies.bmp [peta2.com]

    • by blhack (921171)

      This sort of nonsense is taking time and effort away from truly valuable sexbot research.

      Have you seen how attractive snow bunnies are?

      Very attractive, kind sir, very attractive indeed.

      I support this research whole-heartedly.

  • Skiing Robot May Not Be Useful, But Fun To Watch

    Sounds like a Jessica Beal movie about skiing.

  • Wright brothers sand-sailing contraption pretty gol-durned worthless. This is the last straw, I'm resigning the patent office because everything worth inventing has been.
  • I'd like to see how this robot does against me on a double black glades trail on Jay peak.

  • OK OK before you mod me down hear me out.

    This can be used to provide some really good coverage of ski sports if you mount a camera on it. Imagine the kind of angles this can follow if this was one of the 'fellow skiers'.

    I think ESPN or winter Olympics coverage folks can definitely make good use of this technology in situations where human beings cannot be present with a reasonably decent photography equipment.

    • What could possibly go wrong?

      "Bodie Miller wiped out at last gate of the downhill finals by runaway camera..." :-)

      Seriously though, you do get a creative thinking award. It looks smooth enough to carry a camera.

      • It may be smooth enough going 2-3km/h, but will it be smooth/stable enough to hit 50-60km/h* down some steep slopes? I highly doubt it, most humans aren't stable enough when moving that fast because of reaction delay's and such - unless robotics and gyroscopes make huge leaps forward very quickly I can't see this happening.

        *Downhill Speeds [britannica.com]

  • In the coming Robot Apocalypse (tm) I was planning to flee to a snowier clime, knowing full well that my bipedal and wheeled adversaries would not be able to easily pursue me. Indeed, I had visions of blasting the mechanical horrors with my trusty shotgun as they slipped, tumbled and performed various pratfalls, or otherwise became bogged down in the glorious white stuff. I counted on them becoming flustered and immobile, rather like a Dalek faced with a steep flight of stairs. But no! You had to go and

  • To me, it looks like the robot is focused on keeping the acceleration due to gravity between the skis. I know it must be considering the centripetal force, Yet it does not seem capable of 'hanging it out there', in a turn steep enough to support an acc due to gravity that doesn't point between the skis. I think this is part of what's holding it back, and if so it would mean a snowboarding robot wouldn't work as well with the same tech.

    • Huh? Dude, look at the second video, he's cutting the turn short by riding on his inside ski. That's a classic Hermann Maier right there! Doesn't get much ballsier than that...
  • From TFA -

    Shiro Shimzo (University of Fuk UI) -spacing mine- where another skiing robot is being developed.

    Isn't that university in Redmond?

  • Now build a robot that can snowboard...

  • ...wipes out in a spectacular way. It's like watching humans wipe out, but without the pain of guilt and empathy.

  • From the video it appears that it missed the last gate. It seems to identify a gate, maneuver around it and try to counter back to identify the next gate which seems like the logic you would use. Its hard to see what looks like the last gate as there appears to be a person standing behind it and maybe that is what threw it off, but it looks like it over steered on the second to last gate and could not identify the last gate because of it.
  • I for one welcome our new alpine automaton masters.
  • it's a known fact that the moon is populated by at least one steampunk robot capable of skiing much better than that. The expedition led by Cmdr. Gromit brought us those videos a long time ago,
  • Crappy form (Score:3, Funny)

    by gatkinso (15975) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:43AM (#29833609)

    Skis closer together, lead ski forward into the turn, and for gods sake Robot keep your shoulders facing the fall line!

    I won't even comment on your pole technique... oh wait, you have no arms.

  • How many times has James Bond escaped on skis? I count at least three times. Skiing robot + sentry gun = no more bond, if you have them knocked out in the hundreds by toy companies anyway.

  • But can it ski through a revolving door?

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