You may not be a kid any more, but there's no rule that says you can't still play with bathtub toys. Bigger, better, robotic toys.
Over the weekend in San Diego, that's the spirit that brought together an array of teams looking to make waves at the 9th International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition. The vehicles had to demonstrate their autonomy by completing three tasks--rendezvous with a docking station, inspect and mark a pipeline, and home in on an acoustic beacon--within a 15-minute performance period. Entrants could not be more than 6 feet long, 3 feet wide and 3 feet high, and had to weigh less than 140 pounds.
The winner of this year's contest was the University of Florida's SubjuGator. No one would mistake the SubjuGator for a desktop PC, but it does run a version of Windows XP.
Machine Intelligence Lab, University of Florida
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Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.