Friday, January 15, 2016

Robotics Weekly #6

Robotics Weekly
Issue #6
Featured article:
  • How a Robot in the Garden Might Save a Trip to Whole Foods - I am type of person who would like to eat well. But I'm also to lazy (well... lets say I don't have much time) to take care of garden in which I could plant healthy fruits and vegetables. So when I heard about FarmBot I just asked myself, when could I buy that? And the best part of it is that this is open source software and hardware project based on Arduino and Raspberry Pi. It seems that even even I can be a farmer ;).
Articles and videos:
  • A Robot That Balances on a Ball - Researchers from Tohoku Gakuin University presented some time ago their approach to mobility of robots. It looks like very stable, and agile way of moving, but on the other hand it looks like too much complicated to build out of the scratch. Maybe this is the reason that this type of "wheels" is not used too often?
  • Winners of MAKE Robot Contest - If you are fan of MAKE magazine you are probably already familiar with this contest from few years ago. Robots presented there aren't revolutionary or highly technologically advanced. Instead they are ... colorful and noisy. I believe that its worthy to check them.
  • Motobot - There is very much happening right now in land of autonomous cars. Academic researchers and mainstream motor companies are interested in developing their own solutions for that idea. But what about autonomous motorcycles? Or even autonomous motorcycle drivers? Somehow I cannot find real big pros for that idea, but I must say that this Motobot from Yamaha looks really sleek.
  • Plen - Plen is plain simple humanoid robot which fits average desktop. It moves nicely and is very adorable. It is also compatible with ROS which makes it very serious toy after all. If only price were slightly lower.
  • The Making of Drone 100 - What is current world record for simultaneously flying UAVs? Since few days it is round 100. It was done by Intel and it was done with style. The idea was to use this swarm of drones as "space pixels" and present images on sky with them in accompany of live orchestra. You should definitely check this video.
  • DARPA 2015 winner - If you looking for autonomous humanoid robotics rescue machines saving people in urban areas, you should watch this finalist of DARPA robotics challenge ... and wait for some more years. I'm not saying that there was nothing special in finalist performance. I would even say that it was amazing, but there are still many things to improve in terms of speed of its task solving abilities.
  • Google's Human-Shaped Robot Takes First Walk Outside - Another link regarding our regular guest - Boston Dynamics. This time I would like to present you ATLAS - humanoid robot which is almost ready to run freely in parks. This robot is designed to perform typical human manual tasks in typical human environments. So it was crucial part of design that this robot would travel from point to point also like a human. I'm very impressed by the test results even if it still has external power source.
  • FIRST Stronghold Game Reveal - If you are bored with line follower, sumo or even Dekinnoka wrestling competitions you may direct your attention toward FIRST Stronghold competition. In this game, two teams of robots are trying to capture opponents fortress. They are competing in viciously designed foregrounds to achieve winning conditions before opponents. This might be 2016 hit in terms of robotics competitions. I'm looking forward to see first transmissions.
  • iCamPRO Deluxe - If you ever have been thinking about home automation, you probably spent some time on security topic. I think that this Kickstarter project would fit into that system despite it is not a robot. I just hope that there will be open source software implementation of its firmware, or at least nice API which enable its integration in such home automation system.
Book of the week:
  • Begin Robotics - University of Reading just brought brand new course. They are aiming for non experienced learners to be able in the end to program their robots recreated in virtual simulations. Program in a way that it would move "consciously" and do something "useful".
  • Software Engineer - ROS @ Avidbots - Okay, maybe cleaning industry doesn't seems like super hero dream job, but after all, if you are designing robots capable of doing human only chores you are a little hero. Location: Waterloo, Canada. Tags: ros, python, linux, arm, continuous integration.
MichaƂ 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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