Robots Podcast #132: The OpenROV Project
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.
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Has Your Robot Driven a Ford Lately?
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...
Flying Robots to Tend your Vineyard
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...
Dynamic Walking 2013
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...
Robots Podcast #131: Curved Artificial Compound Eye
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...
Best Robot Photos of the Week
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...
Random Robot Roundup
It's time for a post holiday news roundup and here it is!
- Pete Skeggs of the Portland Area Robotics Society, let us know that his Nubotics brand of sensors and motion control hardware will now be available direct from the source at his new online Nubotics store.
- Want to help fund the construction of Florida's tallest wooden robot sculpture? Known as REX, the robot will stand guard over The Bakehouse Art Complex, home to more than 60 artists. For more see the REX Kickstarter campaign.
- Interesting new paper on the the latest Advances in Neuroprosthetic Learning and...
DARPA Warrior Web Exoskeleton Prototype
While it may not be quite up to Tony Stark's standards, DARPA's Warrior Web suit has the advantage of being real. DARPA has revealed photos and video of an early prototype of its Warrior Web project. Warrior Web is a flexible exoskeleton suit that uses only 100 Watts of power. The goal is to reduce the injuries and fatigue that result from a soldier carrying a typical 100 pound load for extended periods of time. DARPA hopes the exoskeleton will boost the soldier's endurance and carrying capacity. The DARPA Warrior Web program page provides this description:
The Brain as a Model for Future Supercomputers
A news release from Sandia National Labs discusses the fall and rise of the human brain as a model for computers. They suggest a waning interest in the brain after IBM's supercomputer defeated Gary Kasparov in chess. But the brain is getting more respect these days, in part because of the rapid increase in knowledge about how it works. Some researchers now believe that brain-inspired computers could lead to a new industrial revolution. It's not that the brain is fast, but it is powerful and flexible. From the news release:
Slow signal speed didn’t faze Christof Koch,...
Robots Podcast #130: Autonomous lethal weapons
In episode #130, interviewer AJung talks with Peter Asaro (an Assistant Professor at The New School and affiliated with The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School) about the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a consortium of NGOs working to secure an international ban on autonomous weapons systems. This interview follows closely on an article about the Campaign, coauthored by AJung, which itself followed Robohub's focus on Robots and warfare.
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