Microsoft has replaced party photographers with a robot.
"Microsoft's new EDDIE (short for Expandable Development Discs for Innovation and Experimentation) can now roam a crowded room, focus on people's faces and snap photos with a fancy DSLR camera," revealed Keith Wagstaff.
Here is how it works: "EDDIE roams around autonomously, using infrared sensors to make sure it doesn't bump into anything. It's outfitted with a Microsoft Kinect, which uses its skeletal tracking system to judge when somebody is in the frame; once it finds someone, it takes a photo with the attached camera and then uploads it to Flickr," explains Keith.
Microsoft also announced that it would help push the Kinect beyond the Xbox platform by releasing a software development kit for commercial projects in early 2012, meaning that the many tinkerers who were already hacking the Kinect or using the non-commercial SDK will soon be able to turn a dollar.
In the video, Microsoft developer Greg Shirakyan claims that future versions will also utilize sonar to avoid glass and other clear materials.
Microsoft researchers also created something even creepier than their last robot, BigDog. The Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin (PETMAN) is finally reporting for duty after a 13-month design phase and 17-month build phase.
"The man-sized robot moves like a human being, pumping its arms and even balancing itself when pushed. PETMAN's function is to test clothing that will hopefully protect U.S. Army soldiers from chemical agents in the future," explains Keith.
PETMAN is programmed to simulate human temperatures and humidity when testing out protective clothing. It's also capable of performing squats, push-ups and other simple exercises, which means science has finally brought us the tools for realistic robot training montages in action movies.