Friday, January 1, 2016

Robotics Weekly #4

Robotics Weekly
Issue #4

Featured article:
  • Rumored Google-Ford Deal, Low-End Robocars, and Tesla’s Backslide - Those are seemingly uninteresting news related to autonomous cars right now. But they might be peeks of how autonomous car market will be shaped in future. Will Google "marry" Ford in mass manufacturing of autonomous cars? Will Tesla enthusiasts sue Tesla Motors company for "downgrading" their cars? Are there many other small companies which will offer their versions of autonomous cars like mushrooms after rain?
Articles and videos:
  • VertiGo - What will happen when we use typical rotor drone engines and propellers and mount on lightweight chassis with wheels. Well, I will not spoil the surprise. Check videos on that site and find out by yourself ;)
  • Titan the Robot - At first impression I though that this is 100% robot. But on the other hand I couldn't connect it with anything I know about current robotics development. So that made me a little suspicious. And I was right. Nevertheless I'm still pretty impressed by this combination of actor play and mechanical elements.
  • - Do you dream of having robotic assistant capable of helping you in your day to day chores? Who doesn't? But currently, there are no sensible solutions for such assistant to be humanoid. But what if we could get just its artificial intelligence for starter? Mycroft team tries to bring virtual artificial assistant with brain of Raspberry Pi and body of "alarm clock" into average households. Powered by open source software and hardware Mycroft will listen for commands and will try to give you all needed information or interact with various home devices. Existing as community powered product, Mycroft looks like promising approach to personal home assistant idea.
  • Comparison of domestic robots - I know that gifts season just ended but I believe such comparison might still be useful. To be honest, I wasn't even aware that there are so many models in the market now.
  • PR2 - did you checked Mycroft from above link? Well, actually there is possibility to put such artificial assistant into robotics body. PR2 might be perfect physical companion for it. But there is one practical problem with PR2 - its price. But if you have spare 280K USD fell free to order one and play with it. In worst case it can serve as self-propelled server :D.
  • ASC Drone - There are many rural and unaccessible territories which can be used as a base for farming. Sometimes sophisticated or typical farming equipment cannot be used there. Why couldn't we use autonomous drones for planting and cultivation of the crops?
  • Inverted Pendulum Wheel Robot - One of biggest problem in motion of robots and also handicapped people are stairs. It is problematic to construct cheap, easy to manufacture and reliable solution which will enable stairs climbing. But maybe idea demonstrated in this inverted pendulum wheel robot will be the key for further developments in this area?
  • Geminoids - How would you feel when could you talk to robot that look and behave just like you? Check this video in which there are three persons and their robotics twins. At first look it might be tough to distinguish human from his geminoid. But if you look a few seconds more, you will find that it is extremely hard for human to completely stop all motion (especially this king of noise unnecessary motion) and such stop happens very often in geminoids. If we were in war with them we could find spies among us ;).
  • Baby BiBli - Bibli is simple social robot designed to interact especially with kids who has autism. It has wireless communication interface, 2 inch LCD display, camera, microphone and stereo speakers. It uses wheels to move and it has easy to learn programming interface.
Book of the week:
  • Robotics: Perception - How robots see 3D world? In this course students will learn how to recalculate 2D data gathered from cameras into 3D meaningful data. This data will enable sophisticated navigation in complex environment.
  • Embedded C/Vision experts @ Bizzy Robotics - Do you want to design vision system of personal home robot? Do you want to participate in shaping home robotics systems? If yes, you will be probably interested in this job offer, especially because you can work remotely.
Michał Neonek, MrValgad, Tompul
Do you have link to cool news, article, tutorial or video and want to share with other robot fans? Send it to me and if meet quality standards I will include it in next issue of Robotics Weekly.

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