The Robot App

5 December 2012 by Boris Haenssler, posted in Apps

The IEEE has published an ipad app about robotics. Of course I had to be one of the first people to buy it. I wasn't disappointed. It presents app. 130 robots and so it's a very good overview of current research and development. You will certainly know some of the robots. The most famous are Nao, Asimo, PackBot, Google Self Driving Car or Da Vinci.

You can list the robots by type (Aerospace, Humanoid, Telepresence and so on), by date (it starts with Unimate from 1961, but then jumps to Wabot 2 from 1980 and continues up to 2012 with Baxter, who has received a huge media coverage some weeks ago). You may also sort by size from the small RoboBee to the massive Global Hawk. Or by country, which is a bit frustrating: Germany has only ten robots (according the app), USA 54, Iran 1, France 3, Japan 27. To be honest, the selection is arguable, because a lot of robots are used in global research and are international. The focus of the app is certainly American.

The app includes lots of images, some with an interactive 360 view, and several videos. You'll have some information about the history of some of the robots, you get the basic "specs" (features, speed, sensors and others) and a list of corresponding articles and blog posts from IEEE Spectrum. The app also has a learn section on "What is a robot?", "Types of Robots", "Getting Started in Robotics" and "Uncanny Valley" - all "in a nutshell", it could have been more extensive, but with some audio comments from roboticists like Rodney Brooks or Colin Angle it is worth a look.

And there is a funny game: You answer questions like which robot you would hug, and then you will be informed about how many other users agree with you.

I have to admit, I was already looking for an app like this and despite some shortage in information and it's American focus, I can highly recommend it, especially as it includes a more or less daily updated news section on robotics from IEEE Spectrum, which will keep you up-to-date.

The app is a bit difficult to find at iTunes, because the simple title "Robots" is included in a lot of other apps. So here is a link:


"Laws of Robotics" is also on Facebook (in English and German):






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