ROBOCHOP: Interactive Installation Allows Internet Users Worldwide to Remotely Control a Pop-up Robotic Plant

From Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram:

From March 16-20, 2015 internet users and visitors to CODE_n (Hall 16) at CeBit in Hanover will be able to use an online app connected to the ROBOCHOP installation to design and fabricate a piece of furniture in real time.

The ROBOCHOP interface lets participants instruct a robotic arm to grab and sculpt a prefabricated 40 x 40 x 40cm durable foam cube using a floor mounted hot wire tool to create the object of their choice.

The pop-up robotic plant has been conceptualised, coded and built by KRAM/WEISSHAAR. ROBOCHOP features a needle gripper as the robot’s hand, coaxial cooling of the cutting wire and sensors to measure the wire’s tension and provide direct feedback to the system. This harnesses the robot’s brute force and allows it to sculpt hundreds of unique objects consecutively with elegance and precision. Once manufacturing is complete, each custom object is packaged and posted to the user anywhere in the world entirely free of charge... (full release) (homepage)


Beating Super Hexagon With Computer Vision

Two great examples of using Computer Vision to beat Super Hexagon.

Super Hexagon is a really hard game. The goal of Super Hexagon is to control a small triangle which circles around a central hexagon (which occasionally collapses into a pentagon or square in the hexagon and hyper hexagon difficulty) attempting to avoid contact with incoming "walls". 

First example from Valentin Trimaille's Super Hexagon bot:

Ray Casting Wall Detection

The point is that a bot for this game makes a really nice image processing project to start learning OpenCV: simple shapes but lots of human disturbing effects, fast-paced game meaning real-time is required, very simple controls: rotate CW or CCW... (full article)

Second example from Shaun LeBron's  Super Hexagon Unwrapper:

This project is written in Python. It employs Computer Vision algorithms provided by SimpleCV to establish a reference frame in the image. Then it warps (or "unwraps") the image based on that reference frame, using OpenGL fragment shaders... (github code) (full explanation)

Yale OpenHand Project

From Yale's OpenHand Project:

This project intends to establish a series of open-source hand designs, and through the contributions of the open-source user community, result in a large number of useful design modifications and variations available to researchers.

Based on the original SDM Hand, the Model T is the OpenHand Project's first released hand design, initially introduced at ICRA 2013. the four underactuated fingers are differentially coupled through a floating pulley tree, allowing for equal force output on all finger contacts.

Based on our lab's work with iRobot and Harvard on the iHY hand, which won the DARPA ARM program, the Model O replicates the hand topology common to several commercial hands, including ones from Barrett, Robotiq, and Schunk (among others). A commercial version of this hand is currently for sale by RightHand Robotics... (homepage)

Stop Robot Abuse?

There is a word for this. Bullying.

Check out then read the hacker news comments. Finally go to the tumblr Help Stop Robot Abuse.

Robo.Op: Opening Industrial Robotics


Robo.Op is an open hardware / open software platform for hacking industrial robots (IRs). Robo.Op makes it cheaper and easier to customize your IR for creative use, so you can explore the fringes of industrial robotics. The toolkit is made up of a modular physical prototyping platform, a simplified software interface, and a centralized hub for sharing knowledge, tools, and code... (homepage) (github)


Proposed FAA Commercial UAS Rules

From IEEE Spectrum:

  • Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).
  • Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the operator or visual observer.
  • At all times the small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the operator for the operator to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.
  • Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation.
  • Daylight-only operations (official sunrise to official sunset, local time).
  • Must yield right-of-way to other aircraft, manned or unmanned.
  • May use visual observer (VO) but not required.
  • First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as requirement is satisfied in other ways.
  • Maximum airspeed of 100 mph (87 knots).
  • Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level... (full article)


From iaac:

Minibuilders was conceptualized as a community of three modestly sized robots which were tasked with very specific jobs that aggregated to a large scale operation.

Each robot completes its programmed job in sequence to fully construct an automated, inhabitable structure... (full article)

Boston Dynamics' Spot

From Boston Dynamics' Youtube page:

Spot is a four-legged robot designed for indoor and outdoor operation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. Spot has a sensor head that helps it navigate and negotiate rough terrain. Spot weighs about 160 lbs.

At this time Boston Dynamics hasn't released any additional info.


The Art of Electronics Third Edition Coming In April

From Paul Horowitz & Winfield Hill:

3rd Edition Description

At long last, here is the thoroughly revised and updated third edition of the hugely successful Art of Electronics. It is widely accepted as the best single authoritative book on electronic circuit design. In addition to new or enhanced coverage of many topics, the Third Edition includes: 90 oscilloscope screenshots illustrating the behavior of working circuits; dozens of graphs giving highly useful measured data of the sort that's often buried or omitted in datasheets but which you need when designing circuits; 80 tables (listing some 1650 active components), enabling intelligent choice of circuit components by listing essential characteristics (both specified and measured) of available parts. The new Art of Electronics ​​retains the feeling of informality and easy access that helped make the earlier editions so successful and popular. It is an indispensable reference and the gold standard​​ for anyone, student or researcher, professional or amateur, who works with electronic circuits.

  • Over 450,000 copies sold of first and second editions
  • The leading practical guide to circuit design
  • Fully up to date and packed with valuable advice

Preorder at amazon.

Quirkbot: Arduino Platform For Building Things Out Of Straws

From Quirkbot's kickstarter page:

Quirkbot is a microcontroller toy that anyone can program.It is compatible with the open construction toy Strawbees and can be used along with readily available materials like regular drinking straws, LEDs, and hobby servos (motors) to create a wide variety of hackable toys suitable for anyone aged 10+.

Raspberry Pi 2

From Raspberry Pi Foundation:

Let’s get the good stuff out of the way above the fold. Raspberry Pi 2 is now on salefor $35 (the same price as the existing Model B+), featuring:

  • A 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU (~6x performance) (Broadcom BCM2836)
  • 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM (2x memory)
  • Complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1

In stock now at element14.

From Microsoft:

We’re excited to announce that we are expanding our Windows Developer Program for IoT by delivering a version of Windows 10 that supports Raspberry Pi 2. This release of Windows 10 will be free for the Maker community through the Windows Developer Program for IoT... (sign up page)

Winner of the AAAI Video Competition People's Choice Award

Mario Lives! An Adaptive Learning AI Approach for Generating a Living and Conversing Mario Agent:

Also Robohub has links to the rest of AAAI videos here.

SAM Robotic Surrogate Operator

From AkihabaraNews and Robohub:

Conceptually, it’s quite simple: joysticks, knobs, and switches manipulated on a custom radio controller direct the flexing and relaxing of pneumatic “artificial muscles” arranged along “arms and legs” that attach to a vehicle’s pedals and levers. When actuated, the robot replicates a human body’s controlling movements.

Kowa Tech claims the system delivers input strength equal to that of human limbs and an overall operational capability 80% that of in-vehicle operation (with gains expected as the system matures). The 3-piece modular robot is weather and vibration-proof, weighs only about 30 kg (66 lbs.), easily installs in under 30 minutes, and can be removed in half that time. Current prototypes are operable from up to 200m, and commercial models are expected to reach 1 kilometer.

Rounded out with video monitoring for an in-vehicle perspective, in theory ActiveRobo SAM is a near-comprehensive surrogate operator. Most of their demos and testing have thus far been limited to excavator and other heavy equipment work, but the company hopes to eventually make the system adaptable to any vehicle... (full article)

Anibit Online Graphical Programmer for the Pololu 3pi Robot

From Anibit:

We have adapted a graphical programming environment for the Arduino known as "Blocklyduino" to be tailored to Pololu's 3Pi Robot Platform. Blocklyduino is itself an adaptation of Blockly, a software package for developers to create graphical programming environments.

All of this is heavily inspired by Scratch and the MIT App inventor. If you are not familiar with those tools and watch to teach kids about programming, you really should check the out.

Graphical Programming is a great introduction to programming for kids. and the Pololu 3Pi is a low cost, ready-made robot that kids love. As part part of our mission at Anibit to inspire and educate about robotics, we felt the need to bring the two together... (Anibit link)

DARPA Reveals Upgrades To Its Atlas Robot


The teams using the DARPA-developed Atlas robot got their first look at the newly upgraded system during a technical shakeout the week of January 12th in Waltham, Mass. The upgraded Atlas is 75 percent new—only the lower legs and feet were carried over from the original design. Lighter materials allowed for inclusion of a battery and a new pump system with only a modest increase in overall weight; the upgraded robot is 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters) and weighs 345 pounds (156.5 kilograms).

The most significant changes are to the robot’s power supply and pump. Atlas will now carry an onboard 3.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, with the potential for one hour of “mixed mission” operation that includes walking, standing, use of tools, and other movements. This will drive a new variable-pressure pump that allows for more efficient operation... (full details)

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Industrial Robotics - Featured Product

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