ROS Fuerte Turtle the fifth ROS ROS distribution release is now officially available. ROS Fuerte has major improvements that make it easier to integrate with other software frameworks and tools. This includes a rewrite of the build system, migration to the Qt framework, and continued transition to standalone libraries. A detailed change log as well as installation instructions are available here.
Diatom design studio are developing an open source drawing robot kit that they hope to sell for just $70 dollars. The kit: "Piccolo", will be powered by an Arduino board, and supports movement along X, Y or Z axes. You can attach a pen, pencil, brush or possibly even an X-Acto knife and it will draw out any sketch you upload to it. They plan on including Arduino and Processing libraries that will allow you to develop dynamic drawings using sensor data. In the video below the prototype draws procedural tree sketches that vary according to the bots proximity to a light source. The kit isn't available yet but on Diatom's website you can sign up now to their mailing list.
Just days after announcing the DARPA Robotics Contest the DARPA website is reporting that Boston Dynamics has been selected as a "sole source" to develop and build the humanoid robots for the contest. Boston Dynamics will build 8 identical humanoids, which will be based on PETMAN. IEEE Spectrum has the full story here.
The Pentagon’s research and development agency has announced a contest to develop ground robotic capabilities to execute complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments. The program will focus on robots that can utilize available human tools, ranging from hand tools to vehicles.The DARPA Robotics Challenge will consist of three key events – a Virtual Disaster Challenge, and two (2) Disaster Response Challenges. Participation in the Virtual Disaster Challenge is required only for teams working exclusively on control software development. The agency has not yet announced how much it intends to spend on the program or the size of the prize but previous contest awarded two million dollars for the top prize with one million dollars for the runner up. The full contest details and registration can be found here.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is leading an ambitious new project to reinvent how robots are designed and produced. Funded by a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the project will aim to develop a desktop technology that would make it possible for the average person to design, customize and print a specialized robot in a matter of hours.
The project envisions a future desktop technology that prints actual programmable hybrid electro-mechanical devices from simple descriptions on-demand, anywhere, and with performance one would expect from a team of professional engineers, using advanced materials. The project aims to transform manufacturing as dramatically as the personal computer democratized information technology and transformed how we communicate.
Sand Flea is an 11 pound robot that drives like an RC car on flat terrain, but can jump 30 ft into the air to overcome obstacles. That is high enough to jump over a compound wall, onto the roof of a house, up a set of stairs or into a second story window. The robot uses gyro stabilization to stay level during flight, to provide a clear view from the onboard camera, and to ensure a smooth landing. Sand Flea can jump about 25 times on one charge.
Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s largest trade group representing over 265 companies, has announced the launch of their Certified Robot Integrator Program.
“The new RIA Certified Robot Integrator program began from a simple question: What can the RIA do to help the industry develop more successful robot applications?” said RIA President, Jeff Burnstein. Focus groups were held with leading system integrators and collaborative end users. Users told the RIA that a robot certification program would be useful as a way to help them develop a baseline for the evaluation of robot integrators. System integrators told the RIA this would be a great way for them to benchmark themselves against best industry practices. After more than two years of touring the country to get input from integrators, users, robot suppliers and other interested parties, the program was officially launched in January 2012. “I think there is great excitement about it throughout the industry,” Burnstein explained.
There are three basic parts to the on-site exam and audit:
- Hands-On section
- Expert Response Section: (Participant industry tenure & biography)
- On-site audit of business infrastructure per completed “Self Score Card”. Supporting evidence will be gathered before any certification date is scheduled.
The all-cash deal for closely held Kiva will close in the second quarter, Seattle-based Amazon said today in a statement. Kiva’s orange robots, which can slide under shelves and bins of products, are used by Quidsi Inc. -- the company behind Soap.com and Diapers.com that Amazon acquired for about $545 million last year.
Kiva, whose headquarters will remain in North Reading, Massachusetts, will help Amazon make shipping more efficient, the company said.
“Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow,” Dave Clark, vice president of global customer fulfillment at Amazon, said in the statement.
Bloomberg has the entire financial details here.
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