Building Enthusiasm for Construction Robotics

Vicki Speed for Inside Unmanned Systems:  It would seem that robotic systems could provide an extra measure of safety, as well as a higher level of efficiency and machine-consistent quality. Yet, to date, the use of robotic systems on construction jobsites has been minimal.  The building industry, however, is looking with fresh eyes at robots—including at least three new systems expected to be available this year—with a focus on near-term efficiencies that make investment in the systems make sense.
Demolition Days
Among the first fully-realized applications of robots in the construction environment are those used to support work that comes at the end of a structure’s life, namely demolition. In fact, remotely operated demolition robots have been around for more than a decade.
Robotic Building Blocks
The short answer is, ‘Yes.’ There are robotic systems in development around the world that can lay bricks, set tile or finish concrete floors.
Bionic Builders?
While not autonomous systems, robotic exoskeletons, those high-tech wearable suits seen in futuristic movies that help mere mortals defend Earth against other beings, could be a very real part of tomorrow’s jobsite and a possible precursor to autonomous robots in the field.

Microsoft HoloLens gets real with robotics, surgery, architecture

Jared Newman for PCWorld:  At the 2015 Build conference, Microsoft tried to prove that HoloLens is more than just a neat gimmick.
 
The company showed off several new demos for its “mixed reality” headset, which can map digital imagery onto the user’s physical surroundings. While previous demos had focused on fun ideas like a virtual Mars walk and a living room-sized version of Minecraft, the Build presentation emphasized real-world applications for businesses and education.
 
For instance, Microsoft showed how architects could use HoloLens to interact with 3D models, laid out virtually in front of them on a table. They might also be able to examine aspects of a building site at full scale, with virtual beams and walls rendered before their eyes.
 
Not all the presentations were so serious. Microsoft also showed off an actual robot whose controls appeared in the virtual space above the robot’s head. Users could then create a movement pattern for the robot by tapping on the ground. Another demo showed how users could create their own personal screens that followed them around in real space.

Fetch Robotics' Fetch & Freight

From Fetch Robotics (the core team from Unbounded Robotics/all former employees of Willow Garage):

The Fetch Robotics’ system is comprised of a mobile base (called Freight) and an advanced mobile manipulator (called Fetch). Fetch and Freight can also use a charging dock for autonomous continuous operations; allowing the robots to charge when needed and then continue on with their tasks. In addition, the system includes accompanying software to support the robots and integrate with the warehouse environment. Both robots are built upon the open source robot operating system, ROS.

Fetch is an advanced mobile manipulator, including features such as:

  • Telescoping spine with variable height from 1.09 to 1.491 meters
  • Capacity to lift approximately 6 kgs.
  • 3D RGB Depth Sensor
  • Back-Drivable 7DOF Arm
  • Modular Gripper Interface
  • Head Expansion Mount Points
  • Pan-Tilt Head
  • Differential Drive
  • ROS-Enabled

Freight is a modular base, used separately or in conjunction with Fetch. Features include:

  • Base Expansion Mount Points
  • Payload support of approximately 68 kgs.
  • 2D Laser Scanner
  • Stereo Speaker
  • Computer Access Panel
  • Run-Stop
  • ROS-Enabled

(full press release)

Planting Trees With Drones

From The Independent:

A drone start-up is going to counter industrial scale deforestation using industrial scale reforestation.

BioCarbon Engineering wants to use drones for good, using the technology to seed up to one billion trees a year, all without having to set foot on the ground... (cont'd) (projects website)

 

AGROBOT: Strawberry Harvesters

From AGROBOT:

AGB® manages a set of robotic manipulators able to locate and identify your strawberries, selecting them based on their size and degree of ripeness.

This system analyzes your fruit one by one, and it is responsible for ordering cutting movements that guarantee accuracy, smoothness, and sensitivity in the strawberry treatment. The fruit, picked with the strictest hygiene conditions, is driven by our FlexConveyor System to the packaging area. Select the ripeness you would pick up.

AGvision ® is an artificial vision system that identifies your fruit with maximum accuracy and consistency. Its advanced technology, implement in real time a protocol for morphological and color analysis which systematically return the ripeness of the fruit, discriminating exclusively those strawberries which meets the quality standards previously set by the farmer... (more details)

Rethinks New Robot: Sawyer

From Rethink:

Introducing Sawyer – the revolutionary new high performance collaborative robot designed to execute machine tending, circuit board testing and other precise tasks that are impractical to automate with industrial robots. 

Smaller Footprint, Longer Reach

Smaller and lighter weight than Baxter, and with 7 DOF and a 1026 mm reach, Sawyer can maneuver into the tight spaces and varied alignments of work cells designed for humans.

International Availability

With a base price of $29,000, Sawyer will initially be available in North America, Europe, China and Japan, with limited availability beginning in mid-2015.

Intera 3

Like Baxter, Sawyer is powered by the industry’s best and most intuitive software platform, Intera.  It features the same iconic “face” screen (with a refreshed and even more expressive design) that helps it communicate with co-workers, along with the train-by-demonstration user interface that revolutionized how robots can be deployed on factory floors.  Sawyer runs on the same version of Intera as Baxter, and will continue to evolve and improve with regular upgrades... (more details) (more about Intera software) 

Star Wars' BB-8

From the new Star Wars:

NASA's Modular Robotic Vehicle (MRV)

From NASA at the Johnson Space Center:

3D Robotics' Solo

From 3D Robotics:

Today 3DR announced Solo, an all-in-one personal drone whose ease of use and powerful new features kick off a new aerial age. With computing power unmatched in the industry—from two integrated Linux computers, one on the craft and one in the controller—Solo delivers several world-first technologies, such as unfettered in-flight access to GoPro controls, including wireless HD streaming straight to mobile devices, and effortless computer-assisted Smart Shot flight features that allow even new pilots to capture professional aerial video from day one.

Computer-assisted cinematography

Solo’s intelligence unlocks powerful and one-of-a-kind computer-assisted Smart Shots (patent pending). Just set up the exact shot you want in real time, then tap “play” on the app and Solo will execute it with a level of precision and a soft touch that even seasoned cinema pilots can’t match. And with a list of Smart Shots to choose from, the perfect shot is always just a few taps away. Cable cam and Orbit allow you to create a known and safe flight path along a virtual track in space, freeing you to shift your focus to getting the shot you want; or simply hit “play” and let Solo fly itself while simultaneously working the camera for you, as smooth and even as an expert cameraman. Follow mode lets you go completely hands-free, while Solo keeps up with your every move. Solo also features a one-touch aerial Selfie for a dramatic and customizable establishing Smart Shot of you and your surroundings. It’s all in service of Solo’s guiding principle: Get the shot. Every time.

Stream HD GoPro video to mobile devices or through HDMI

Solo is the world’s first drone to wirelessly deliver HD video from your GoPro to your iOS or Android mobile device, at ranges of up to half a mile. Solo’s controller has HDMI output for live HD broadcast—to FPV goggles, high-quality field monitors, Jumbotrons at live events, even news vans—and with a staggeringly low video latency your live video is immediate and fluid for an “in-the-moment” feel. For instant social sharing of your aerial videos, you can even record the live video stream directly from the mobile app to your device’s camera roll... (full details)

DJI Phantom 3

From DJI:

More videos and complete specs... (here)

QinetiQ North America Introduces DriveRobotics

From QinetiQ North America:

By transforming manned industrial vehicles into unmanned robots, DriveRobotics™ add-on applique kit lets building demolition and roadside construction companies convert to unmanned operations whenever operators face hazardous situations. This commercial robotic system, which can also be installed in new vehicles and existing fleets, eliminates need for spotter. Remote-control capabilities enable or facilitate machine use in demanding applications... (full press release)

Gear Generator

 

About Gear Generator:

Gear Generator is a tool for creating involute spur gearsand download them in SVG format. In addition it let you compose full gear layouts with connetcted gears to design multiple gears system with control of the input/output ratio and rotation speed. Gears can be animated with various speed to demonstrate working mechanism... (link)

Lumipen 2: Robust Tracking for Dynamic Projection Mapping

From University of Tokyo:

In our laboratory, the Lumipen system has been proposed to solve the time-geometric inconsistency caused by the delay when using dynamic objects. It consists of a projector and a high-speed optical axis controller with high-speed vision and mirrors, called Saccade Mirror (1ms Auto Pan-Tilt technology). Lumipen can provide projected images that are fixed on dynamic objects such as bouncing balls. However, the robustness of the tracking is sensitive to the simultaneous projection on the object, as well as the environmental lighting... (full article)

 

Festo BionicANTs and eMotionButterflies

From Festo Bionic:

With the bionic butterflies, for the first time Festo combines the ultralight construction of artificial insects with collision-free flying behaviour in a collective. For coordination purposes, the eMotionButterflies make use of a guidance and monitoring system, which could be used in the networked factory of the future... (additional info)

Like their natural role models, the BionicANTs work together under clear rules. They communicate with each other and coordinate their actions and movements among each other. The artificial ants thus demonstrate how autonomous individual components can solve a complex task together working as an overall networked system... (additional info)

Frankenimage

From David Stolarsky:

The goal of Frankenimage is to reconstruct input (target) images with pieces of images from a large image database (the database images).

Frankenimage is deliberately in contrast with traditional photomosaics. In traditional photomosaics, more often than not, the database images that are composed together to make up the target image are so small as to be little more than glorified pixels. Frankenimage aims instead for component database images to be as large as possible in the final composition, taking advantage of structure in each database image, instead of just its average color. In this way, database images retain their own meaning, allowing for real artistic juxtaposition to be achieved between target and component images... (full description and pseudo code)

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Industrial Robotics - Featured Product

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