Friday, February 5, 2016

Robotics Weekly #9

Robotics Weekly
Issue #9
Featured article:
  • Dusseldorf airport receives RAY robotic parking system - I believe that mankind is wasting gigantic amount of time spent on ... parking a car. Yes, it seems like simple and quick task, but it sums to non trivial minutes and hours. One of flag features of autonomous cars is automatic parking and recalling, so potential driver (or should I write user, since we are talking about autonomous car?) could use this time on something else. But autonomous cars are still "behind the corner" and initially they will be to expensive to adapt on mass market. On the other hand, maybe solution is even simpler. As you can see in mentioned link, if you add careful enough robotic platform which can lift, transport and leave car, you will have autonomous parking which can save lot of time of your clients and even add "recall" function for classic "manned" cars. It is just pity that this is not much popular solution.
Articles and videos:
  • RoBoHoN - Product from Japan ... designed with thinking about Japan. At least I think so. Because it is hard for me to imagine wider adaptation of this cute robo phone on European or US market. Or maybe I'm wrong and this walking and talking robo phone is our future?
  • Modular robot reassembles when kicked apart - I like to observe self-healing structures. Of course, this implementation is far away form T-1000, but is still impressing.
  • Bridge-Laying Lego NXT Robot - Lego group is designing and maintaining its most advanced bricks set called Mindstorms. There are some iterations of it, and they are pretty expensive for a bricks set. But if you stop thinking about them as just bricks sets and start to treat them as easy and powerful robotics construction set, everything stats to make sense. You can even design and prototype robots that will lay such temporary bridges on moon.
  • Solar Chariot - There are stronger and bigger reasons to switch from traditional gasoline engines to electric one in personal transportation. One of the reasons is that electrical engines could be solar powered which makes them ecological and cheap in exploitation. I guess that inventor of this solar chariot was very ambitious and took those arguments deeply into his heart when he was constricting this vehicle. I'm just not sure if putting George Bush into it was giving him better overall performance of it ;).
  • Harvard Monolithic Bee - As you can see, sometimes building robot part after part may be not optimal approach. I would like to see this constructing method implemented on bigger structures.
  • HyTAQ Robot - Another example of nicely secured quad-rotor. And if you are living near airport, you can always just roll it on ground and still have fun :).
  • JPL's RoboSimian - Since I started to post links about DARPA Robotics Challenge I would like to present you JPL entry from 2013. What can I say, it looks ... pretty universal and delicate on the same time. It looks like it is rather effective, but somehow it feels like very complicated to operate. What do you think?
  • Smart Trashbox - OK, we have autonomous and smart vacuum cleaners, cars, drones and some other things, but I bet that you didn't know about autonomous and smart trashbox. Will it be must "have equipment" for sci-fi writer?
  • Hobby Hand - If you watched Terminator 2 then you probably remember scene with mechanical arm. When I was younger I was very impressed by this special effects and overall by this idea. Now there is possibility for you to have something similar in home. Slightly more colorful and less lethal but still mechanical hand.
Book of the week:
  • Mastering ROS for Robotics Programming - If you are familiar with ROS and you would like to dive deeper into this topic, you might be interested by this book from Lentin Joseph. Author discusses different advanced topics related to ROS and shows many examples how to use most of its features. It seems like nice book to read in context of ROS, especially it is still fresh (release date: December 21, 2015).
  • Artificial Intelligence for Robotics - Course presented by Sebastian Thrun from Georgia Tech. You can start it anytime and you will learn how do design and implement artificial intelligence for self-driving cars. There is requirement for some basic algebra and Python programming skills, but nothing which you couldn't learn from other MOOCs before taking this course.
  • Machine Vision Software Engineer - Some time ago I mentioned that Amazon is using about 30K of robots in their warehouses. It looks like if you have proper skills, you can join their engineers now and help on machine vision software. Location: North Reading, USA. Tags: vision-sensors, java, c++, ros, python.
  • Dragon Runner Robot - OK, maybe this robot is not funny at all, but the way it is presented is hilarious. I love it!
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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