shopping cart that doesn't run into things!

Posted by: IceMyst

shopping cart that doesn't run into things! - 08/20/06 03:33 AM

GAINESVILLE, Florida (AP) -- It looks almost like any other shopping cart, except sensors let it follow the shopper around the supermarket and slow down when needed so items can be placed in it. And it never crashes into anyone's heels.

"The immediate thing that jumped to my mind was all those times as a kid when my sister would accidentally hit me with a cart," said its inventor, Gregory Garcia. "It seems like the public would really want this, since everybody shops."

His cart, also known as B.O.S.S. for Battery Operated Smart Servant, was one of about 30 robots displayed last week by University of Florida students.

Jeremy Greene, 23, of Panama City, created Atlas, which balances a blue pingpong ball on a flat piece of wood as it moves across the room. He said he sees no real-world application for his robot other than entertainment.

When the electric engines of Antoin Baker's robot Cyber roared to life, the device lifted about a foot off a table, tethered by rubber bands. Cyber, a flat wooden square topped four engines, could be made into a flying device to lift heavy objects in the same way a helicopter does, Baker said.

"If the rubber bands break, run very fast," said Eric Schwartz, one of the two professors in the robot course.

Rolando Desrets' small robot made of wheels, gears and sensors picks up pingpong balls. Carlo Pasco's poker robot deals cards. Bryan Talenfeld's invention tells color-blind people the status of a traffic light.

Topped with a wig of dreadlocks and a colorful hat, one of the most popular robots is Koolio. The robot delivers cold drinks to faculty and students who order them over the Internet. Adam Grieper has a similar robot called the Beertender, which senses people and offers them a brew.

"At this university, every piece of the robot puzzle has been solved," Schwartz said.

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