Personal Home Robot Wins iRobot's Create Challenge - InformationWeek

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10/30/2007
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Personal Home Robot Wins iRobot's Create Challenge

The winner can water plants, remind owners to take their medication, turn lights on and off, and control appliances.

A personal robot that can water plants, remind owners to take their medication, turn lights on and off, and control appliances has won a contest sponsored by iRobot.

Danh Trinh, 35, of Towson, Md., won iRobot's Create Challenge contest and its $5,000 prize, with his Personal Home Robot, the company announced Tuesday.

iRobot Create is a preassembled programmable robot designed so developers can create new robots without having to build everything from scratch.

It features standard connections for electronics and threaded mounting holes so users can attach their own inventions to the robots and integrate third-party electronics.

Trinh attached sensors and video cameras that enable the robot to move around and perform household tasks. He also designed the robot so it can play music.

"This is an excellent example of the enthusiasm people bring to the idea of building robots," Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairman of iRobot, said in a prepared statement. "Contestants put in amazing efforts creating exciting and imaginative robots for the challenge. We saw everything from robots that serve food and drinks to robots that paint pictures and can be remotely controlled from distant locations."

The Create platform provides access to robot sensors and actuators via an open interface.

Electronic enthusiast Web site Tom's Hardware Guide sponsored the contest and hobbyist Web site Instructables.com hosted it. Judges chose the winning entry based on aesthetics, intelligence, utility, entertainment value, completeness, and originality.

IRobot sells bots that perform dull, dirty, or dangerous tasks for consumer and military use. The company's proprietary technology, iRobot AWARE Robot Intelligence Systems, includes technologies for navigation, mobility, manipulation, and artificial intelligence.

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