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Robots Podcast #149: Industry and Society

Posted 8 Feb 2014 at 18:44 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of Personal Intelligent City Accessible Vehicle (PICAV)

In Robots Podcast #149 Per Sjöborg speaks with Rezia Molfino from the PMAR group at University of Genova about how all robots are service robots and some of the many interesting projects she is working on, ranging from challenging manufacturing problems in thin sheet machining (SwarmItFIX) and the textile industry (clopema), to assisted-living vehicles for use in an urban environment (PICAV) and do-it-yourself, practical equipment for demining war zones (Locastra).

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Interviews

Robots Podcast #148: Robert Bosch Venture Capital

Posted 26 Jan 2014 at 18:09 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of Jan Westerhues

In Robots Podcast #148, Per Sjöborg speaks with Jan Westerhues, Investment Partner with Robert Bosch Venture Capital in Frankfurt, Germany, where he is responsible for robotic investments. Robert Bosch began as an automotive parts firm, but has branched out into other businesses and now has an R&D staff of 15,000 persons. The company's venture capital operation is not an angel investor, and only ever takes a minority position in the companies in which it invests, but, when approached by a company that has already completed the initial phases of identifying a market and defining a product, and has a prototype and a business plan, Westerhues will locate someone within Bosch's R&D staff with the competence to evaluate the prototype, whether it holds the potential to deliver what the company claims for it, and to ‘talk tech’ with the company's own designers and engineers. The ideal situation for Bosch is that in which their own industrial strength can be brought to bear, perhaps supplying parts for the products of the companies in which they invest, but this is not a requirement.

(I listened to this episode five or six times in preparation for this post, and suggest that anyone interested in venture capital funding do likewise.)

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Interviews

Robots Podcast #147: Giulio Sandini & Interdisciplinarity

Posted 13 Jan 2014 at 15:46 UTC (updated 13 Jan 2014 at 15:48 UTC) by John_RobotsPodcast


Giulio Sandini with two iCub humanoid robots

In Robots Podcast #147, Per Sjöborg speaks with Giulio Sandini, director of Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences (RBCS) at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), about how, having begun his career as a bioengineer working on how the brain controls the muscles which aim and focus the eye, he eventually came to work in robotics, about why interdisciplinary work is important to robotics, and about how diverse teams of engineers, biologists, psychologists, mathematicians, physicists, and medical doctors can learn from each other. Sandini illustrates the point using examples of successful interdisciplinary efforts at IIT, including the iCub and COMAN humanoid platforms, the HyQ quadruped, and their work in rehabilitation robotics.

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Interviews

Robots Podcast #146: Lynne Parker, robot teamwork

Posted 28 Dec 2013 at 23:27 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

robots used in research by Distributed Intelligence Laboratory

Lynne Parker is Professor and Associate Head in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). At UTK, she is the founder and director of the Distributed Intelligence Laboratory, which performs research in multi-robot systems, sensor networks, machine learning, and human-robot interaction. In this episode, Per Sjöborg speaks with Lynne Parker about her work with robot teams.

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Interviews

Robots Podcast #145: Paul Oh on DRC

Posted 14 Dec 2013 at 19:53 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of Dr. Paul Oh

In this episode, Sabine Hauert interviews Paul Oh, Director of the Drexel Autonomous Systems Lab at Drexel University. His team, spanning 10 universities, is competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) with the HUBO humanoid made by KAIST in South Korea.

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Interviews

Robots Podcast #144: Working with EOD personnel

Posted 5 Dec 2013 at 06:30 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

EOD robot operator with robot

In this episode, AJung Moon talks with Julie Carpenter, who recently received her doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Washington, having written her dissertation on the interaction between military Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) personnel and the robots they use in investigating suspicious objects and rendering explosives harmless – primarily PackBots from iRobot and TALONS from QinetiQ. More generally, Julie is interested in emotional attachment issues in human-robot interaction, and how it affects user decision-making in collaborative, sometimes stressful, situations.

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Interviews

Robots Podcast #143: David Dorhout

Posted 16 Nov 2013 at 23:53 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

David Dorhout with Aquarius robot

David Dorhout is a graduate of Iowa State University. He has always been interested in robotics and 14 years of experience in agriculture and the biotech industry. He is the founder of Dorhout R&D LLC which is a research and development business designing and building novel robotic systems and interactive consumer electronic devices. In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with David about his robots that include Prospero the robot farmer and Aquarius the greenhouse watering robot. This episode of Robots Podcast is part of Robohub's focus series on agricultural robotics.

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Aquatic Robotics

Pars Rescue Robot Prototype Tested

Posted 11 Nov 2013 at 22:44 UTC by steve

You may recall our story in March of this year that described the Pars rescue robot concept developed by RTS Lab in Tehran, Iran. They presented a design for a flying robot that could quickly locate drowning victims in the ocean and launch life preserver floats to them. In less than a year, RTS Lab has gone from conceptual artwork to a working prototype of their robot. From their test report:

The robot’s tests have been taken from 11th to 15th August 2013 at the Caspian Sea. Thirteen tests were taken in a 4 day period and the following aspects were analyzed: Life vest releasing system performance, flight stability, search and rescue performance at day and night, Simplicity of robot’s control, comparing performance with traditional rescue methods, analyzing the deficiencies of robots design. Pars can fly ten minutes in this design and its maximum speed is 10 m/s, thus it can be used in missions with a 4.5 kilometer radius range. Tests were completely successful and all of the expected goals were achieved. Based on the test results and considering the general rescue methods new ideas for developing Pars were achieved that will be revealed after careful scrutiny.

RTS Labs hopes to create further, improved prototypes and eventually commercialize the life-saving robot. And, of course we have lots of cool photos of the robot in action during it's test flight over the Caspian Sea!

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Robots

Jinn: A Smartphone Controlled Biped

Posted 6 Nov 2013 at 21:23 UTC by steve

Two roboticists in Switzerland have designed and built a new bipedal robot called Jinn. It includes 3D printed parts and can be controlled using open source software running on an Android based mobile phone. Roger Seeberger writes:

"My partner, Michael Roggli, and me developed an biped smartphone controlled (without extra controller like Arduino) robot. The robot, we call it Jinn, is 1m tall and has 24 servos. We will an open source API, Android development, and diffrent Apps. The idea is, customers could order assembled robots but also plans, parts etc."

Seeberger Robotics is the name of their company and they're also developing a small quadraped. Read on for video of both robots in action.

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Robots

Random Robot Roundup

Posted 5 Nov 2013 at 20:53 UTC by steve

Howdy, robot fans, I'm back and have a ton of robot news waiting to roll out! So what better way to start than with a quick news roundup? Here we go...

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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