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Announcements

Robohub focus on frontier robotics

Posted 28 Jun 2013 at 17:25 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of tiny robot with dice

Robohub has opened another focus topic, the risks and rewards of robotics on the frontier, the leading edge of technology and/or application. A tentative lineup of articles is available now, with links to be added as the articles are posted over the next couple of weeks.

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Robots

Random Robot Roundup

Posted 27 Jun 2013 at 20:19 UTC by steve

The editor's in box is overflowing, so it's time for another dump of random robot news!

Know any other robot news, gossip, or amazing facts we should report? Send 'em our way please. Don't forget to follow us on twitter and Facebook. And now you can add us to your Google+ circles too.

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Robots

Best Robot Photos of the Week

Posted 22 Jun 2013 at 20:55 UTC by steve

This edition of best robot photos of the week includes a medieval robot, a very large robot inside a library for no apparent reason, an R2D2 costume designed by kiddos, a lunar robot from the USSR and other robot treats. Every week we post a collection of the best robot photos submitted by our readers to our robots.net flickr group. Why? Because everyone likes to see cool new robots! Want to see your robot here? Post it to flickr and add it to the robots.net flickr group. It's easy! If you're not already a flickr member, it's free and easy to sign up. Read on to see the best robot photos of the week!

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Interviews

Robots Podcast #132: The OpenROV Project

Posted 17 Jun 2013 at 00:40 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

Eric Stackpole & David Lang of OpenROV

In Robots Podcast #132, reporter Ron Vanderkley speaks with Eric Stackpole and David Lang from the OpenROV project. OpenROV (OPEN-source Remotely Operated Vehicle) is a telerobotic submarine built to make underwater exploration and education affordable. Initially funded out-of-pocket, OpenROV has become a wildly successful Kickstarter project. Eric currently works part-time for NASA at the Ames Research Center. David also writes the Zero to Maker column for the MAKE Blog, where he chronicles his crash-course into the maker world.

Read On | Tune In

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Commercial Robotics

Has Your Robot Driven a Ford Lately?

Posted 16 Jun 2013 at 19:24 UTC by steve

While other companies are working to develop fully autonomous vehicles, Ford has been working on a slightly different problem. According to a news release, they want robots to drive their traditional human-piloted vehicles on the test track. Robot test drivers could stay on the road 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ford is launching a pilot program with a robot test driver for their 2014 full-size commercial Transit van. A single human can monitor up to eight simultaneous robot test drives. From the Ford news release:

“Some of the tests we do on our commercial trucks for North America are so strenuous that we limit the exposure time for human drivers,” says Dave Payne, manager, vehicle development operations. “The challenge is completing testing to meet vehicle development time lines while keeping our drivers comfortable. Robotic testing allows us to do both. We accelerate durability testing while simultaneously increasing the productivity of our other programs by redeploying drivers to those areas, such as noise level and vehicle dynamics testing.”

The robotic technology used to drive the Ford vehicles comes from Autonomous Solutions, Inc.. The Ford test track is designed to compress 10 years of driving abuse into a small course. The robots must repeatedly drive trucks over broken concrete, cobblestones, metal grates, gravel, mud pits, curbs, and speed bumps. the course is so rough that human drivers were limited to one drive per day. Read on to see video and more photos of the robot test drives.

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Commercial Robotics

Flying Robots to Tend your Vineyard

Posted 11 Jun 2013 at 23:17 UTC by steve

A recent UC Davis news release describes a remotely piloted helicopter (aka "drone") that is being field tested in a Napa Valley vineyard. The researchers are using the Yamaha RMAX unmanned helicopter on the Oakville Experimental Vineyard. UC Davis worked with the FAA for five months in order to obtain a permit for the application of herbicide and pesticide sprays from a remotely piloted vehicle. The FAA requires 48 hour advance notice of each flight and the vehicle is limited to an altitude of 20 feet. From the news release:

“We have more than two decades of data on the performance of the RMAX in Japan, but we don’t yet have that kind of information on its use in the United States,” said Steve Markofski, a Yamaha business planner and trained RMAX operator. He noted that in Japan more than 2,500 RMAX helicopters are being used to spray 40 percent of the fields planted to rice — that country’s number one crop. “What Ken and Ryan bring to the table is their spray application expertise and knowledge of the current application methods that are in use in the United States,” Markofski said. “As we collaborate with them on tests of spray deposition and efficiency, we’re gaining insight into to how the RMAX performance compares to spray application methods that are being commercially used for this crop and this terrain.”

The Napa Valley's hilly terrain offers challenges similar to those of Japan's rice fields for conventional manned aircraft. Robotic spraying is hoped to be less expensive and safer than conventional aircraft or tractor-drawn spraying rigs. More photos and video can be found on the UC Davis press kit website. Read on to see some video of the robot in action.

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Announcements

Dynamic Walking 2013

Posted 7 Jun 2013 at 00:25 UTC by steve

Take your robot for a walk. The 2013 conference on Dynamic Walking is coming up at CMU next week, 10 June - 13 June. According to a CMU news release, this year's conference includes a lecture by Scott L. Delp, professor of bioengineering, mechanical engineering, and orthopaedic surgery at Stanford titled, "Insights from simulating gait dynamics and disorders". There will also be talks on biped walking using the Hubo II robot, and even esoteric subjects like that covered by the talk titled "Seven reasons to brake the swing leg just before heel strike". The conference covers both simulation and realization of various dynamic walking technologies. There will also be live demonstrations of dynamically walking robots. Oh and don't miss the "undergrad style" Pizza and beer event Monday evening. Most importantly, takes photos, shoot video so we can share some of the fun.
CC BY NA SA 2.0 licensed photo of Jonathan Borofsky's Walking to the Sky sculpture at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, TX by flickr user phigits

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Interviews

Robots Podcast #131: Curved Artificial Compound Eye

Posted 3 Jun 2013 at 15:51 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of CurvACE shown with dragonfly

In episode #131, Sabine speaks with Ramon Pericet and Michal Dobrzynski from EPFL about their Curved Artificial Compound Eye (CurvACE) published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Inspired by the fly’s vision system, their sensor can enable a large range of applications that require motion detection using a small plug-and-play device. As shown in a YouTube video (link), these sensors could be used to assist small robots with navigating through their environments, even in very dim light. Other applications might include home automation, surveillance, medical instruments, prosthetic devices, and smart clothing.

Read On | Tune In

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Robots

Best Robot Photos of the Week

Posted 30 May 2013 at 20:00 UTC by steve

回收站老闆自組的機器人

This edition of best robot photos of the week includes a Willow Garage PR2 robot engaged in a light saber duel; there's also a robot wedding cake, assorted robot art, robot underpants, and a vintage Robie Sr robot. Every week we post a collection of the best robot photos submitted by our readers to our robots.net flickr group. Why? Because everyone likes to see cool new robots! Want to see your robot here? Post it to flickr and add it to the robots.net flickr group. It's easy! If you're not already a flickr member, it's free and easy to sign up. Read on to see the best robot photos of the week!

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Robots

Random Robot Roundup

Posted 28 May 2013 at 20:52 UTC by steve

It's time for a post holiday news roundup and here it is!

Know any other robot news, gossip, or amazing facts we should report? Send 'em our way please. Don't forget to follow us on twitter and Facebook. And now you can add us to your Google+ circles too.

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