The Mercury News: Invasion of the Centibots

[ Thanks to Nicholas
for this link. ]

“When Randy Gobbel joined SRI International a year ago, one of
the coolest things about his new job in the Engineering Building
was the little red robots wandering the halls.

“Wobbling around on three wheels and resembling mutant ladybugs,
they’d stop at Gobbel’s open office door and silently peer inside.
‘Sometimes you feel like you just want to pet them,’ said Gobbel, a
computer scientist who is working on a biochemical database.

“The Centibots cost about $4,000 and are built from
off-the-shelf components, including ordinary WiFi cards for
communicating with each other and cheap PC cameras that send images
humans can interpret. Via Technologies, a Taiwanese company with
operations in Fremont, supplied the motherboards. A Linux operating
system manages 1.2 million lines of code, written in Java, C and


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