Friday, January 22, 2016

Robotics Weekly #7

Robotics Weekly
Issue #7
Featured article:
  • Amazon’s Robot Hordes Have Doubled This Year - Every time I'm telling someone that Amazon started to use robots in their warehouses I'm not sure about actual numbers. Usually, even without numbers, my interlocutors often have this "skeptic" face and even if they are accepting general idea, they are not believe that those are big numbers. But lets face the facts: 30,000 robots taking care of 426 items per second on peak hours - those are not small numbers and definitely too big to be skeptic here.
Articles and videos:
  • Star Wars BB-8 V2 - [spoiler free] If you watched Star Wars Episode VII you probably wondered how much of BB-8 was done by CGI and how much by robotics/animatronics. To be honest I don't know that. But If you check this Youtube playlist you will find that it is possible to entirely build such droid from scratch. I'm very impressed by it final look and movement of it and patience and skill of its constructor.
  • LittleDog Robot - As usually, I couldn't skip constructions from Boston Dynamics. Although LittleDog is pretty old in robotics standards, I believe it is worth to recall it after presentation of its bigger brothers in previous issues of Robotics Weekly.
  • A-Pod - One of most often used inspiration in robot design is nature. Of course, most universal and on the same time hardest to build is human alike structure. But other structures can be also useful and interesting. Here is example of ant like robot.
  • Real Transformer - OK, this is pretty old video, sorry for that. But that was first video I can recall, which shows rolling "car" which can transform into walking humanoid. Please take in account that this is video from 2006 - so basically an eternity in modern robotics time.
  • Perpetual Walking Robot - If you know physics on elementary level you probably dreamed about constructing perpetum mobile, at least once. If you know physics little more, you know that this is impossible. But, you also should know that there is something called potential energy, and in some cases it is easy to convert it into kinetic energy, which more or less means that something can be moved "for free". The trick is usually to find application for that "free movement". What applications can we find for such perpetual walking robot?
  • OpenROV - Xprize foundation recently announced competition about mapping oceans. To win main prize, you should design and build autonomous device which will map targeted area of ocean. When I found OpenROV I immediately though about its team as potential team starting in this competition. They have experience with underwater unmanned vehicles which are cheap. In addition, software and hardware they designed is open source. Of course, if you just want send robot into underwater, you can buy it from them and freely experiment with it.
  • Mondo Spider 2 - I believe that everyone would be impressed by this heavy metal human transporting spider. It is slightly to slow to be an actual transportation vehicle, but it seems durable and easy to steer. I'm curious if such spider could be registered as legal vehicle that could move on average roads.
  • Sarcoman Robot Playing Air Hockey - Always wanted to have sparing partner for air hockey games? Fear no more. Of course, he is not as verbose and interactive as real opponent, but his gaming skills should be enough at least for entry level games.
  • ONAGOfly - I'm person who has no experience in piloting any flying vehicle and I'm almost certain that I would crash any UAV I would try to pilot. So I'm rather avoiding such devices. But after looking on ONAGOfly specification I believe that this could be the first UAV designed specially for me. Very autonomous, crash proof and able to take photos automatically. And the price seems to be very reasonable for its features.
Book of the week:
  • Arduino Robotics (Technology in Action) - Ever wondered if Arduino is mature enough for robotics? Wonder no more - in this book, apart of several robot blueprints, you can find informations about Arduino and electronics in general. It is nice mix between "boring" physics and cool robotics.
  • Cognitive Neuroscience Robotics Part A - This course is combination of cognitive science, neuroscience and robotics, and it is designed to present synthetic (engineering) and analytic (psychological) approach to creating social robots that interact with society. At least that is what I understood from course description ;).
  • Robotics/Software Engineer @ Aurora - Did you ever dreamed about flying. You can stop dreaming and start flying... almost. You can actually design and work on software and algorithms used in autonomous flight vehicles. Although it is not flying in person, I bet it still could be exciting. Location: Cambridge, USA. Tags: ros, python, linux, opengl, c++.
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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