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Video

DARPA's 'Cheetah' record breaking legged robot

Posted 5 Mar 2012 at 16:58 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast


This is the first video showing the ‘Cheetah’ robot, created by Boston Dynamics under DARPA’s M3 (maximum mobility and manipulation) program. The robot broke the previous speed record for legged robots by demonstrating its ability to run at a speed of 18mph (~30km/h). The robot uses flexible legs that provide it with the fast reaction time necessary to follow the terrain at such speed and the record-breaking performance was displayed on a treadmill with the robot powered by an external hydraulic pump. The patterns used for its motion are similar to those of fast-running animals in nature. It certainly looks less imposing than the preview released before and although it is inspired by its nature analogs its legs are quite dissimilar in structure. A prosthetic leg also named 'Cheetah' performs under the same principal by flexing and un-flexing its back at every step in order to quickly react to fast running. Athletes are using it with great results. DARPA’s ‘cheetah’ is expecting to run without an external power source later this year. For more information you can read the full press release here.

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Robots

CatBot: an Automated Cat Laser Toy

Posted 5 Mar 2012 at 16:34 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

Keep your cat engaged long after you can no longer lift your arm to aim the laser. CatBot is an automated cat laser toy with an Arduino controller. (via Laughing Squid)

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Robots

Can Human Consciousness be Transferred to a Machine?

Posted 5 Mar 2012 at 04:26 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

The blog Homo Artificialis has posted a three-part series on the potential for creating artificial bodies into which human minds might be transfered. The series begins with Russian media entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov discussing a stepwise approach, then continues with MIT Professor of Computational Neuroscience, Sebastian Seung talking about his work mapping the neurons in a human brain and the connections between them. Finally, Henry Markram of the Blue Brain Project explains his efforts to create a computer model of the human brain.

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Entertainment

James Bond Theme Song via Quadrotors

Posted 5 Mar 2012 at 04:06 UTC by The Swirling Brain



University of Pennsylvania's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab has a cool video of Quadrotor robotic copters playing various instruments to the tune of the James Bond Theme Song! To accomplish this the quadrotors have little reflectors and room has infrared lights and cameras to track their movements. The tracking information is then relayed wirelessly back to the quadrotors to help time and position them. So in essence the entire room and the quadrotors are the robot. Enjoy the video!
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Commercial Robotics

Restoration Robotics tops VC funding for 2011

Posted 2 Mar 2012 at 17:26 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

Restoration Robotics logo

Hizook has been tracking VC investment in robotics firms for about two years, and has a list of the top companies for 2011, as determined by the scale of the capital infusions they've received. Topping the list, at $43 Million (US), is Restoration Robotics, which makes robots that automate the process of hair follicle harvesting for use in hair transplantation. (Currently implantation is still done manually.)

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Robots

DARPA's ARM program shows progress

Posted 2 Mar 2012 at 06:20 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

DARPA's Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program is developing software to perform human-level tasks quickly and with minimal direction. The robotic arm in the video was built from commercial components and performs the tasks shown using vision, force, and tactile sensing, without active human control.

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Video

TED talk: Robots that fly ... and cooperate by Vijay Kumar

Posted 1 Mar 2012 at 21:59 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast



In one of the most impressive TED talks, Professor Vijay Kumar from GRASP Lab of University of Pennsylvania explains the dynamics of flying quadcopters robots. He show some of the already viral videos produced by the lab and explains some of the math that make them possible concluding with an extraordinary musical performance! - via DIYdrones.

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Competitions

"Robot Survival Game"

Posted 29 Feb 2012 at 12:49 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast


The ‘Robot Survival Game’ is a non-destructive robot fighting competition that started 2 years ago in Japan and a few days ago took place for the 10th time. It involves biped, multi-legged, tracked or wheeled robots (or any combination of sorts) that compete in a several scenarios (similar to team games like paintball) ex ‘eliminating’ each other, reach a flag etc. The robots are usually remotely controlled via a camera and the operators may be nearby or even in another city. They also have a toy gun for fighting but they ‘destroy’ each other in a very clever simulated way. Each robot carries a small container made from fragile aluminum foil. A light sensor inside the container is kept in the dark unless a bullet from an opponent punches a hole in it. Then the light sensor detects it and it acts as a kill switch and the robot is ‘dead’. It is a smart way of keeping the entertainment (and the drama!) high without destroying the actual robot. You can find much more information and a lot more videos at IKETOMU’s blog.

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Interviews

Robots: Self-Organizing Systems

Posted 24 Feb 2012 at 17:45 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast


In the new episode of ROBOTS we focus on self-organizing systems in modular and swarm robotics. Our guest is Radhika Nagpal, director of the Self-Organizing Systems Research Group at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.


To learn more read on or tune in!

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Video

Snow circles, filmed by a drone

Posted 23 Feb 2012 at 15:11 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast


This image is not cgi or a miniature; it is a real mountain slope where artist Sonja Hinrichsen created this beautiful pattern simply by walking in circles. The robotic perspective of this concept is the way the photos and the video were shot, not by a helicopter but by a small (but quite expensive) octocopter by video production company steamboat aerials. The Cinestar8 costs around 10k $ but it can carry the ~400gr camera while being stable enough to produce this result. The video is similar to that of a hugely expensive helicopter shot or even better considering the lack of downwash a helicopter creates. This video is already very popular but almost no-one cares how it was shot, most people focus on the art-concept (reasonably so), maybe drone filming is starting to become quite mainstream. You can enjoy the full scale of it at this video on vimeo and you can find high-resolution aerial images here.

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