Blocky: A Graphic Programming Environment for ROS

From the robotics laboratory of Ben Gurion University: The main goal of this project it to allow users with only basic background in programming to develop software for controlling robots using ROS, this by developing a graphical interface that is user-friendly and convenient for programing to ROS. Researchers or other users often encounter a problem when come to develop a robot, they lack extensive background in programming and most of the times comes from a slightly different backgrounds (such as mechanical engineering or electrical engineering) which requires them long-term learning or rely on other professionals. The graphical interface shown in this project suggests that a researcher or a user to control a robot in a simple and more intuitive way without having to spend weeks learning the principles of ROS and without having to learn to program at all. This project product is a web-content, generic, open source, extensible and user-friendly program that helps in the development of a ROS based robot, while providing tools for correct developing... ( cont'd )

Why Was This Man Smiling At AUTOMATICA 2014?

At this AUTOMATICA the hype theme was definitely collaborative robotics -- our robots can work alongside your human workers safely.

iCEstick $25 FPGA Evaluation Kit

Features USB thumb drive form factor iCE40HX-1k on board 2 x 6 position Digilent Pmod™ connector for other peripheral connections FTDI 2232H USB device allows iCE device programming and UART interface to a PC Vishay TFDU4101 IrDA transceiver Five user LEDs Discera 12 Mhz MEMS oscillator Micron 32 Mbit N25Q32 SPI flash USB connector provides the power supply 16 LVCMOS/LVTTL (3.3 V) digital I/O connections on 0.1” through-hole connections Available from Lattice for $24.99

Cable Management Systems Do the Robot

Multi-axis, three-dimensional cable carriers for palletizing.

USB 3.0 Steps Up To The Plate

Upgrading existing systems or basing new designs on plug-and-play USB3 Vision-compliant video interfaces, designers can produce a winning combination of performance, ease-of-use, and cost advantages.

Paraplegic in robotic suit kicks off World Cup

From BBC: A paraplegic man has made the first kick of the World Cup using a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton... ( cont'd ) Grantland has great story about the project here .

Response by Ray Kurzweil to the announcement of chatbot passing the Turing test

From Ray Kurzweil's blog: In my 2004 book The Singularity Is Near, I anticipated that there would be premature announcements of this kind: The Singularity Is Near, page 295 | Turing was carefully imprecise in setting the rules for his test, and significant literature has been devoted to the subtleties of establishing the exact procedures for determining how to assess when the Turing test has been passed. In 2002 I negotiated the rules for a Turing test wager with Mitch Kapor on the Long Now website... ( cont'd )

The Emergence and Implications of Nanomanufacturing

Obviously, nanomanufacturing will require new kinds of skills that are needed for these high-tech manufacturing jobs, which require specialized education, such as powder processing and metallurgy extraction.

Tessel: A Microcontroller That Runs JavaScript

From : Tessel is a microcontroller that runs JavaScript. It's Node-compatible and ships with Wifi built in. Use it to easily make physical devices that connect to the web. Programmable via JavaScript 14 different hardware modules for added capabilities Compatible with 10,000's of Node.js packages on NPM Deploy over USB or remotely by WiFi   180mhz ARM Cortex-M3 LPC1830 32mb SDRAM 32mb Flash TI CC3000 WiFi radio 20-pin GPIO bank for general prototyping Micro USB or battery power Starting at $99 (controller and one module)

Open-source 3D Printed Life-size Robot

From InMoov's homepage: Gael Langevin is a French modelmaker and sculptor. He works for the biggest brands since more than 25 years. InMoov is his personal project, it was initiated in January 2012 InMoov is the first Open Source 3D printed life-size robot. Replicable on any home 3D printer with a 12x12x12cm area, it is conceived as a development platform for Universities, Laboratories, Hobbyist, but first of all for Makers. It’s concept, based on sharing and community, gives him the honor to be reproduced for countless projects through out the world... ( cont'd )

Algorithm that harnesses data from a new sensor could make autonomous robots more nimble.

MIT paper from Andrea Censi and Davide Scaramuzza: The agility of a robotic system is ultimately limited by the speed of its processing pipeline. The use of a Dynamic Vision Sensors (DVS), a sensor producing asynchronous events as luminance changes are perceived by its pixels, makes it possible to have a sensing pipeline of a theoretical latency of a few microseconds. However, several challenges must be overcome: a DVS does not provide the grayscale value but only changes in the luminance; and because the output is composed by a sequence of events, traditional frame-based visual odometry methods are not applicable. This paper presents the first visual odometry system based on a DVS plus a normal CMOS camera to provide the absolute brightness values. The two sources of data are automatically spatiotemporally calibrated from logs taken during normal operation. We design a visual odometry method that uses the DVS events to estimate the relative displacement since the previous CMOS frame by processing each event individually. Experiments show that the rotation can be estimated with surprising accuracy, while the translation can be estimated only very noisily, because it produces few events due to very small apparent motion ... ( full paper )

The Rubik and the Robot

A multi-talented control and automation team applies its mechanical, electrical, and software engineering chops to celebrate-and solve-a timeless puzzle.

National Robotics Week Was A Hit!

The fifth annual National Robotics Week was held April 5-13. Established by Congress in 2010 to raise awareness about robots and their important role in shaping the future of education, industry and the U.S. economy,

Industrial Robotics Market is Expected to Reach $41.17 Billion, Globally, by 2020

Rapid growth in automation demands, coupled with reduction of duties on refurbished goods in Asia Pacific region has fueled the growth of this market.

Leap Motion V2 Tracking

From Leap Motion's developer blog : V2 retains the speed and positional accuracy found in V1, but the software also now tracks the actual joints and bones inside each of the user’s fingers. This leads to some immediate benefits over V1: Finger and hand labels – every finger, hand, and joint now has anatomical labels like ‘pinky’, ‘left hand’, and ‘proximal phalanges’ Occlusion robustness – fingers are tracked even when they’re not seen by the controller, as might happen if you turned your hands completely vertically or intertwined the fingers of your left and right hands Massively improved resistance to ambient infrared light – sunlight, powerful halogens, etc. Much more granular data for developers about the user’s hands and fingers – 27 dimensions per hand, in addition to special parameters like grab/pinch APIs

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Universal Robots - Collaborative Robot Solutions

Universal Robots - Collaborative Robot Solutions

Universal Robots is a result of many years of intensive research in robotics. The product portfolio includes the UR5 and UR10 models that handle payloads of up to 11.3 lbs. and 22.6 lbs. respectively. The six-axis robot arms weigh as little as 40 lbs. with reach capabilities of up to 51 inches. Repeatability of +/- .004" allows quick precision handling of even microscopically small parts. After initial risk assessment, the collaborative Universal Robots can operate alongside human operators without cumbersome and expensive safety guarding. This makes it simple and easy to move the light-weight robot around the production, addressing the needs of agile manufacturing even within small- and medium sized companies regarding automation as costly and complex. If the robots come into contact with an employee, the built-in force control limits the forces at contact, adhering to the current safety requirements on force and torque limitations. Intuitively programmed by non-technical users, the robot arms go from box to operation in less than an hour, and typically pay for themselves within 195 days. Since the first UR robot entered the market in 2009, the company has seen substantial growth with the robotic arms now being sold in more than 50 countries worldwide.