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Aquatic Robotics

Robots Podcast #95: David Lane of SeeByte and HWU-OSL

Posted 16 Jan 2012 at 00:16 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of Professor David Lane

In Robots Podcast episode #95 David Lane, Professor of Autonomous Systems Engineering and affiliated with the Heriot-Watt University Ocean Systems Laboratory (Edinburgh), talks with interviewer Per Sjoborg about his journey from research to business and back. He tells about how he got started first in offshore work then in robotics research, developing control software for autonomous underwater vehicles. He also tells how frustration with the lack of utilization of his work led he and his associates to start the company SeeByte, to commercialize it, and how having the U.S. Navy as their first customer proved very helpful towards the company's success. (Dr. Lane has much to say about the value of customer funding and customer focus for a startup.) Finally, he tells about his return to academia after finding the right person to take over the day-to-day details of running SeeByte, and how his experience in industry finds its way into his academic work.
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Commercial Robotics

Catching up with Robots at CES II

Posted 13 Jan 2012 at 18:09 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of SoloWheel on sidewalk

CES is nearly over, but we have a few more items to share. The Inventist SoloWheel, shown above, was panned by The Verge as having zero chance of making it to the mainstream. As may be, pending further development, but the company provides an assortment of videos on its website. Without having tried it myself, I doubt it requires more skill than rollerblades. NEC showed its Communication Robot PaPeRo, a research prototype, not yet for sale, along with an Android app that allows users to control the robot remotely. There were Dancing Cats and Baby Seals, and a robotic vacuum cleaner that entertains while it works, and is itself cleaned out each time it docks. And last, but far from least, TechCrunch interviewed Bre Pettis of Makerbot about their new Replicator model, and the future of 3D printing.

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Commercial Robotics

TOSY Robotics mRobo Ultra Bass

Posted 12 Jan 2012 at 06:14 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of mRobo from TOSY website

You've probably already heard about the event wherein Justin Bieber was enlisted to introduce TOSY's new mRobo at CES, but you may not have learned much about the device itself or the company that makes it. mRobo is a combination music player and dancing robot. It can store 2 gigabytes worth of music in its own memory, or stream it via bluetooth, or simply listen. In any case, when there's music playing, it sprouts a head, arms, and legs and begins to dance in time to the beat. The price is set at $199, and you won't be able to get one until later this year.

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Commercial Robotics

Catching up with Robots at CES

Posted 11 Jan 2012 at 18:09 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

The video above shows iRobot's Ava telepresence platform paying a visit to the crew of The Verge, in their trailer at CES. Other exhibitors of interest include Parrot, showing their AR.Drone 2.0, and Sphero, with their iPhone-controlled ball. More to come.

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Commercial Robotics

Geek Media at CES 2012

Posted 10 Jan 2012 at 17:22 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

The video above is an informal (always with Cali Lewis), very upbeat interview with Gary Shapiro, CEO of the CEA, sponsors of CES. Besides Cali and crew, The Verge and Engadget are also prowling the floor at CES 2012, and IEEE Spectrum is also covering the event. All four sometimes talk about robots, and we know there are robots there, so we're hoping for decent coverage, the best of which we'll be passing along.

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Commercial Robotics

Robots at CES 2012

Posted 9 Jan 2012 at 17:49 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of set of cubelets from Modular Robotics

Robots figure more prominently at this year's CES than ever before. Among the many presenters are Modular Robotics, whose Cubelets are shown above, and XYBOTYX, developers of the XYBOT, a small two-wheeled balancing device that turns an iPhone into a telepresence robot.

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Robots

Taking a lesson from lizards

Posted 6 Jan 2012 at 16:39 UTC (updated 6 Jan 2012 at 16:54 UTC) by John_RobotsPodcast



This video shows observations of a lizard jumping, followed by application of the techniques for use of a tail for stabilization to robots. (Via Automaton)

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Robots

Random Robot Roundup

Posted 5 Jan 2012 at 00:36 UTC by steve

The mailbox has been filling up with interesting stories lately, like a pair of conflicting papers from the Current Directions in Psychological Science journal. One claims that Darwin was wrong to suggest that facial expressions have innate connections to particular emotions, while the other supports the idea that facial expressions evolved to communicate emotional states, playing a crucial role in survival. There's also new evidence that chimps have a theory of mind, which has implications for the development of language. If all this talk of mind and emotion is too boring, Hank Pellissier over at IEET, wrote a piece Sexbots for Women, pondering why only males are assumed likely to desire sex with androids. The Swirling Brain noticed a Huffington Post story on Google's cloud robotics initiative. Know any other robot news, gossip, or amazing facts we should report? Send 'em our way please. And don't forget to follow us on twitter.

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Competitions

Robot Film Festival 2012 Submissions Opening Soon

Posted 2 Jan 2012 at 13:58 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

The Robot Film Festival will soon begin accepting submissions for the 2012 competition.

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Military Robotics

Balloon Drops UAV That Launches More UAVs

Posted 1 Jan 2012 at 17:12 UTC by steve

The Navy Research Lab has completed testing of a Balloon-launched UAV that in turn launches smaller UAVs. They're calling the project ADD (Autonomous Deployment Demonstration) A balloon carried an UASUSA Tempest UAV to 60,000 feet. On each of the Tempest's wings, a smaller CICADA Mark III autonomous glider was mounted (CICADA stands for Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft). The smaller UAVs were then launched and autonomously navigated to within 15 feet of predetermined waypoints. The goal is demonstrate that the robots could provide a low cost way of placing precision located sensors for reconnaissance. For more photos of the operation, see the Navy's press release

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