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Announcements

Open Source Robotics Foundation Announced

Posted 17 May 2012 at 18:18 UTC (updated 19 May 2012 at 16:36 UTC) by John_RobotsPodcast


OSRF Logo

Announced via the Willow Garage website, the Open Source Robotics Foundation, Inc. (OSRF) is an independent non-profit organization founded by members of the global robotics community. Its mission is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development. OSRF's board of directors includes Professor Wolfram Burgard of the University of Freiburg, Ryan Gariepy, CTO of Clearpath Robotics, Brian Gerkey, Director of Open Source Development at Willow Garage, Helen Greiner, a co-founder of iRobot and currently CEO of CyPhyWorks, and Sam Park, Executive Vice President of Yujin Robot. Initially sponsored projects include the Robot Operating System (ROS), and Gazebo, a 3D multi-robot simulator with dynamics. Gazebo has been chosen by DARPA as the simulation platform for its recently announced robotics challenge for (humanoid) disaster robots.

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Medical Robotics

Paralyzed Woman Finishes London Marathon

Posted 17 May 2012 at 16:52 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

While it took her 16 days to do it, Claire Lomas, who lost use of her legs in a 2007 accident, finished the London Marathon with the aid of a ReWalk powered exoskeleton from Argo Medical Technologies.

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Aquatic Robotics

Berkley Sends 100 Robots Down River

Posted 16 May 2012 at 19:48 UTC by steve

Berkley's Floating Sensor Network project launched 100 floating robots equipped with GPS-enabled smartphones down the Sacramento River on May 9. The launch was designed to test a new generation of water monitoring technologies. The 12 inch robots, called Drifters, are designed to provide real-time, high-resolution data of hard-to-map waterways. One of many possible uses is locating breeches in levee systems quickly enough to allow repair, before erosion destroys the levee. Other uses include identifying contaminants. Andrew Tinka, lead graduate student on the project notes:

“If something spills in the water, if there’s a contaminant, you need to know where it is now, you need to know where it’s going, you need to know where it will be later on. The Floating Sensor Network project can help by tracking water flow at a level of detail not currently possible.”

Deploying the robots is as simple as throwing them into the water from boats, docks, or helicopters. Each robot has a buoyancy control system, differential drive, GPS, compass, depth sensor, salinity sensor, Zigbee and GSM radios, and 72 hours of power from a lithium battery. The open source control system is written entirely in Python and runs on top of Linux. The project is headed by Alexandre Bayen of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). For more details see the Berkley news release. The project has also released quite a few technical reports and papers describing the developments that went into designing the drifter robots. You can also check several videos of the robots in action.

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Commercial Robotics

How to pick Robotics Stocks and what to avoid.

Posted 15 May 2012 at 16:40 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast



We usually forget that apart from an exciting research field, robotics is also a huge industry. Frank Tobe, Editor and Publisher of The Robot Report describe the robotics stock exchange map from an investor’s perspective. There are numerous companies that are currently active on robotics but only a fraction of them rely heavily on that sector, most of these stocks are influenced by other trends. There are also newly formed companies that aspire to cash in on the hype that surrounds robotics as an exotic and innovative sector without providing evidence that they are a viable and healthy investment. You can read more about robotics stocks in the article from everything-robotic.com and also in the Robot Report.

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Commercial Robotics

ABB Video Tour of Hannover Fair

Posted 7 May 2012 at 17:05 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

If you're unfamiliar with Hannover Messe (Hannover Fair), the above video from ABB is probably worth the time it takes you to watch it. It's mainly in German, with English subtitles, and is more about the fair itself than about ABB's presence there. It may even make you want to put Hannover Messe 2013 on your calendar (link downloads ICS file).

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Robots

Random Robot Roundup

Posted 4 May 2012 at 18:50 UTC by steve

Allison Kirk tells us about a new robot website: "TelepresenceRobots.com just launched its website to give businesses, hospitals and schools more information on telepresence robots and to assist them in choosing the best robot to fit their specific needs". The May edition of the robot competition list is out. Our friends over at Plasticpals.com let us know about a new post on the Russian space agency's answer to NASA's Robonaut. Did you check out our photo gallery of the 2012 VEX World Championship? Out of the The Swirling Brain come two robot news stories: first is a news release from Purdue on new research that let's robots see in 3-D with simulated, human-like visual perception. Be sure to check out the YouTube video. Then there's Smartinversion, a sort of flying, helium-filled geometric jellyfish robot that floats through the air by constantly inverting its shape. 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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Interviews

Robots Podcast #103: Robopocalypse

Posted 4 May 2012 at 16:35 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

Daniel H. Wilson, author

An avid reader of science fiction, Daniel Wilson originally wanted to be a sci-fi writer, but, because it still wasn't happening as he approached college, he decided upon a career in science, as the next best thing. Then, after some experience with computers, it occurred to him that they could be programmed to figure out how to solve problems, and he realized that AI and robotics were real fields with huge potential, at which point he was hooked, and that carried him through a PhD. in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. But he never forgot his dream of being an author, and published his first book, How to Survive A Robot Uprising, in 2005, discussing this and other early work in a Talking Robots podcast in mid-2007. His 2011 novel, Robopocalypse, which Steven Spielberg is making into a movie to be released summer 2013, is the starting point for the current interview.

Read On or Tune In

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Commercial Robotics

UAV-01 concept by Intelligenia Dynamics.

Posted 4 May 2012 at 15:46 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast



A new start-up company from Spain is the latest addition to the very popular sector of multirotor aerial platforms. Intelligenia Dynamics aspires to provide a complete and competent aerial platform with substantial automation and embedded intelligence. Their website describe many of the possible application like remote inspection, fire prevention, rescue etc although not in depth. The generalized missions are more or less widely known, the difficult part is to develop a mature product or a complete solution and offer it commercially; very few companies have achieved that level.

The most interesting part at least from what they have already published is the UAV-01 platform. It may not be something groundbreaking but it looks very well designed with attention to detail. Instead of four single motor/props it has four double propeller co-axial units. That set-up is more expensive and slightly more complicated than a conventional quadrotor but it provides more lift for a given volume and it can also produce a more agile vehicle with quicker and more precise thrust control at each unit. The motors appear to be off the shelf commercial items (from Himax) although this is just the prototype. Apart from that, the frame and fuselage is well designed and offer a cartridge type battery swap. You can read more about intelligenia DYNAMICS at iuav.com

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Commercial Robotics

Coming soon to a salon near you

Posted 3 May 2012 at 16:46 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

While Panasonic's legal department may be cringing at the prospect, this shampoo-bot appears to be headed straight for market, where it can relieve busy stylists from the need to also perform shampoos, while providing customers with more thorough shampoos and less water in the eyes. Add a sanitization cycle to keep from passing germs and parasites from one customer to the next (if it doesn't already have one), and it just might be marketable as is.

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Announcements

MIT Mediated Matter Group: CNSILK

Posted 3 May 2012 at 16:09 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

The Mediated Matter Group within the MIT Media Lab, is dedicated to the development and application of novel processes that enable and support the design of physical matter, and its adaptability to environmental conditions in the creation of form. One of their projects, CNSILK: Computer Numerically Controlled Silk Cocoon Construction, explores the design and fabrication potential of silk fibers—inspired by silkworm cocoons—for the construction of woven habitats. While the material being applied in the above video may not be silk, the principles being applied to wrapping it around the interior of a tension-providing frame remain the same. Phys.org has more detail.

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