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Interviews

Robots Podcast #162: Stiquito

Posted 9 Aug 2014 at 16:23 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of original Stiquito robot

In episode #162, Audrow Nash interviews James Conrad, professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, about the history of the autonomous walking robot, Stiquito, originally developed by Jonathan Mills of Indiana University, as an inexpensive vehicle for research. Stiquito is a small, inexpensive hexapod robot that has been used since 1992 by universities, high schools, and hobbyists. It is propelled by nitinol (trade name FLEXINOL), an alloy actuator wire that contracts when heated, roughly emulating the operation of a muscle.

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Robots Podcast #161: Ekso Bionics

Posted 26 Jul 2014 at 23:55 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of Russ Angold

In episode #161, Audrow Nash speaks with Russ Angold, co-founder and CTO of Ekso Bionics, about the wearable bionic suit, Ekso. This suit enables individuals with any amount of lower extremity weakness to stand up and walk over ground with a natural, full weight bearing, reciprocal gait. Walking is achieved by the user’s weight shifts to activate sensors in the device which initiate steps. Battery-powered motors drive the legs, replacing deficient neuromuscular function.

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Robots Podcast #160: Cruising with Cruise

Posted 13 Jul 2014 at 15:55 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

marketing image of car with Cruise unit mounted on top

In episode #160, Robots Podcast speaks with Kyle Vogt, the CEO of Cruise. His company recently joined the “driverless revolution” with their release of RP-1. This system is a highway autopilot that can be installed in your existing car. It controls your steering, throttle, and braking, making sure your car remains safely in its lane and a safe distance from the car in front of you.

This episode is part of Robohub's Focus series on Autonomous Driving.

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Robots Podcast #159: Computer-assisted surgery

Posted 28 Jun 2014 at 15:47 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of Karol Miller

In Robots Podcast #159, Ron Vanderkley speaks to Prof. Karol Miller, Director of the Intelligent Systems for Medicine Lab and the Computational Geomechanics Laboratory at the University of Western Australia, and a specialist in the area of modelling and computer simulation in biomechanics, about medical robotics and how doctors and patients perceive its role and use. Central to his work are mathematical models of soft tissue (brain, liver, etc.) that can be used for robot-assisted surgery by providing fast and accurate feedback. He also discusses the potential and challenges in making surgery fully autonomous, and how his computational tools could be used to build transformer-like robots that can reassemble to adapt to new tasks.

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Robots Podcast #158: Ethics in HRI

Posted 15 Jun 2014 at 16:42 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of Dr. Laurel D. Riek

In Robots Podcast #158, AJung Moon speaks with Laurel Riek, who is the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, where she directs the Robotics, Health, and Communication Lab. Dr. Riek's research interests are in human-robot interaction, social signal processing, and health informatics. Her work explores how to build machines that are socially agile – able to sense, respond, and adapt to human behavior.

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Robots Podcast #157: Russian robotics

Posted 30 May 2014 at 15:14 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

composite photo of speakers at RoboForum

In this Robots Podcast #157, Sabine speaks with Andrew Gryaznov, co-founder of Cubic Robotics and Roman Luchin, founder of TRIK and CEO of CyberTech Labs, about robotics in Russia. They provide us with an inside view on robotics education, innovations and startups in their country. The interview was done live at ROBOFORUM in Moscow in early May, 2014. ROBOFORUM is a cross-disciplinary conference designed to unite the best minds in robotics, including scientists and designers, business people and governors as well as artists, engineers and popular science speakers worldwide.

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Robots Podcast #156: RoboRoach

Posted 18 May 2014 at 14:08 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of RoboRoach with attached circuit board

In Robots Podcast episode #156, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Bill Reith, an engineer at Backyard Brains. The company is developing RoboRoach, the world’s first commercially available 'cyborg', using funds generated through a successful KickStarter project. Using their kit, you can briefly control the left/right movement of a cockroach from a smart phone using microstimulation of the antenna nerves.

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Robots Podcast #155: Zero Tillage Robotics

Posted 3 May 2014 at 17:12 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of AgBot

In episode #155, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Professor Peter Corke from Queensland University of Technology, about the fast-tracking research that will see robots planting, weeding, maintaining and harvesting crops. The AgBot is a light-weight, golf buggy-sized robot that has been specifically designed to reduce the environmental impact of weeding. It can navigate wheat farms of around 4000 hectares using low-cost sensors, targeting weeds with spray while they are still very young plants.

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Robots Podcast #154: Henrik Schunk

Posted 20 Apr 2014 at 16:19 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of Henrik Schunk

In episode #154, Per Sjoborg speaks with Henrik Schunk about his company’s work in gripping technology, modular robotics, dexterous manipulation, and this year’s SCHUNK Expert Days (video), the subject of which was service robots. Henrik Schunk joined SCHUNK GmbH as Managing Partner in 2001. Today, he is responsible for management of gripping systems, automated solutions, and mobile gripping systems. Since July 2010, he is also the chairman of the European robotics association, EUnited Robotics.

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Robots Podcast #153: Termite-Inspired Construction

Posted 6 Apr 2014 at 15:19 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

termite-inspired construction robot

Termites, in their roles as construction workers, are simple agents, using only local information, yet they can build complex structures such as termite mounds. Taking inspiration from such swarm systems in nature, Justin Werfel and colleagues have created TERMES robots that build three-dimensional structures without the need for any leader or prescribed roles. In Robots Podcast #153, Sabine speaks with Justin Werfel about this work, which is a project of the Self-organizing Systems Research Group, a core component of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University.

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