Nixie: The First Wearable Camera That Can Fly

From Nixie's homepage:

Nixie is a tiny wearable camera on a wrist band. The wrist straps unfold to create a quadcopter that flies, takes photos or video, then comes back to you... (cont'd)

How To Tell When A Robot Has Written You A Letter

From Clive Thompson:

A few weeks ago I got duped by a robot. In the mail.

I was sifting through my dead-tree postal mail and tossing junk in the recycling bin. Nearly everything that arrives in my mailbox is junk, so I was tossing, tossing, tossing … until suddenly, whoops: A hand-addressed letter. This looked legit, so I ripped it open — only to find it was an oily invitation to take out a second mortgage on my home. I’d been fooled... (cont'd)

Pawly: Play With Your Pet Anywhere Anytime

Indigogo campaign for Pawly:

Take your playtime to the next level with Pawly's accessory. Pawly can be equipped to play and reward your pets in real time, mimicking the way pet-owners would play with their pets.

Treat Blaster
Reward your pet when they do back flips when you're away. Toss them a treat with Pawly's Treat Blaster. This safe but exciting accessory will shoot out a treat at the press of a button. The LEDs found on the dome light up, followed by a sound before shooting out their favourite treats.

To use the Treat Blaster, mount it on top of Pawly by lining up the teeth of the accessory to the three holes on top of Pawly. Turn on Pawly's app and start blasting away.. (cont'd)

ArduIMU V4: An Arduino Based Integrated Measurement Unit

Kickstarter for version 4 of ArduIMU:

Initially, the ArduIMU project was started as an open source project by 3DRobotics in 2007 to create an inertial measurement unit based on the Arduino™. We contributed to the software development of that project, but, the initial ArduIMU was meant to be used solely as an inertial measurement unit. We want to do better than that; so we developed a brand new platform with other sensors such as a barometer, relative humidity sensor, and light sensor. We also included wireless communication capabilities as well an SD card for data logging and storage. Since then, we have gone through many revisions, adding even more sensors and functions which are present in the latest ArduIMU V4. With this new augmented and improved sensor board we are redefining the term IMU. We proudly present our Arduino™ based Integrated Measurement Unit: the ArduIMU V4... (cont'd)

MIT's Cheetah Untethered Running And Jumping!

From MIT:

Further info from Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectrum:

We were wrong: it's not running untethered, it's bounding untethered. And unconstrained. And outdoors! 

Two things strike us as particularly amazing about this: the first thing is that it's quiet, powered by electric motors and batteries. We've come to expect that compact systems capable of delivering high amounts of power rely on liquid fuels and hydraulics, because that's how you get the most power density: it's why Boston Dynamics uses gasoline engines to power hydraulic pumps on all of its dynamic robots. Also, high torque electric motors (like you'd need to get a robot to jump) have a tendency to overheat and destroy themselves, but MIT seems to have solved all of these issues, since they have a bounding, battery-powered robot that works. We're not sure yet how long it works for, but it works... (cont'd)

YuMi: ABB's Collaborative Robot

From ABB:

YuMi is a human-friendly dual arm robot designed for a new era of automation, for example in small parts assembly, where people and robots work hand-in-hand on the same tasks. YuMi is short for ‘you and me,' working together.

YuMi has been developed to meet the flexible and agile production needs of the consumer electronics industry in the first instance. It will increasingly be rolled out to cover other market sectors. YuMi is a collaborative, dual arm assembly solution with the ability to feel and see. The robot's soft, padded dual arms, combined with innovative force-sensing technology ensure the safety of YuMi's human co-workers. Safety is built into the functionality of the robot itself so that it can work cage-free... (cont'd)

ReWalk Robotics Hopes to Raise $50M in IPO

From Boston Herald:

A company with U.S. headquarters in Marlborough that was recently awarded FDA approval to sell its robotic exoskeletons for paraplegics plans to raise $50 million in an IPO this week, possibly on Friday.
Israeli-based ReWalk Robotics is planning to sell 3.5 million shares for between $14 and $16 each, which puts it at the low end of the 13 local health care companies which have gone public since the beginning of the year, more than any other year in history. Most of those have been biotech companies, however, making ReWalk the first robotics-focused company to do so in at least a couple of years... (cont'd)

Dyson 360 Eye

James Dyson explaining Dyson's new 360 Eye robotic vacuum:

High Speed Bipedal Robot Running Using High Speed Visual Feedback

From University of Tokyo:

ACHIRES is composed of high-speed vision and high-speed actuators to achieve instantaneous recognition and behavior. The similar technologies are used in our Janken (Rock Paper Scissors) Robot. High-speed vision detects the state of the biped robot including the timing of landing at 600 fps. The biped mechanism with the leg length of 14 cm is set to run in the sagittal plane. At present, the running velocity reaches 4.2 km/h. Simple control based on high-speed performance of sensory-motor system enables the biped robot to stably run without falling, unlike computationally expensive ZMP-based control which is commonly used for balance. The aerial posture is recovered to compensate for the deviation from the stable trajectory using high-speed visual feedback.

We also address a task of somersaulting. While running, the robot takes a big swing with one foot and jumps. After takeoff, both legs are controlled to curl up for high-speed rotation in the air. ACHIRES is going to be improved to push the envelope while demonstrating various biped locomotion tasks... (cont'd)

Beginners Tutorial: Autonomous Robot Control Theory

From Nick McCrea at Toptal:

In this article, I’m going to describe the control scheme of my simulated robot, illustrate how it interacts with its environment and achieves its goals, and discuss some of the fundamental challenges of robotics that I encountered along the way... (full article)

Unbounded Robotics to Shut Down Due to Issues With Willow Garage Spin-Off Agreement

From Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectrum:

IEEE Spectrum has learned that Unbounded Robotics, a spin-off of Willow Garage that developed the UBR-1 mobile manipulator, is currently "in the process of shutting down." The UBR-1 is no longer for sale.

Recently, a source (who asked not to be named) forwarded us an email from Unbounded Robotics CEO Melonee Wise. Our source received the message after requesting a quote for a UBR-1 robot:

"Unfortunately Unbounded Robotics is in the process of shutting down due to issues with our Willow Garage spin off agreement that prevents us from raising series A investment. Unbounded Robotics is no longer selling the UBR-1.... (cont'd)

Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge 2014


This challenge evaluates algorithms for object detection and image classification at large scale. This year there will be two competitions:

  1. PASCAL-style detection challenge on fully labeled data for 200 categories of objects, and
  2. An image classification plus object localization challenge with 1000 categories.

NEW: This year all participants are encouraged to submit object localization results; in past challenges, submissions to classification and classification with localization tasks were accepted separately.One high level motivation is to allow researchers to compare progress in detection across a wider variety of objects -- taking advantage of the quite expensive labeling effort. Another motivation is to measure the progress of computer vision for large scale image indexing for retrieval and annotation... (rules and results)

 New York Times article:

Started in 2010 by Stanford, Princeton and Columbia University scientists, the Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge this year drew 38 entrants from 13 countries. The groups use advanced software, in most cases modeled loosely on the biological vision systems, to detect, locate and classify a huge set of images taken from Internet sources like Twitter. The contest was sponsored this year by Google, Stanford, Facebook and the University of North Carolina.

Contestants run their recognition programs on high-performance computers based in many cases on specialized processors called G.P.U.s, for graphic processing units.

This year there were six categories based on object detection, locating objects and classifying them... (cont'd)

T100 Underwater Thruster Designed for Marine Robotics

From BlueRobotics' Kickstarter:

An efficient, rugged, affordable underwater thruster to propel the future of marine robotics and ocean exploration. ($100 dollars a thruster, est delivery Nov 2014)

The T100 is made of high-strength, UV resistant polycarbonate injection molded plastic. The core of the motor is sealed and protected with an epoxy coating and it uses high-performance plastic bearings in place of steel bearings that rust in saltwater. Everything that isn’t plastic is either aluminum or high-quality stainless steel that doesn’t corrode.

A specially designed propeller and nozzle provides efficient, powerful thrust while active water-cooling keeps the motor cool. Unlike other thrusters, our design doesn’t have any air- or oil-filled cavities - water flows freely through all parts of the motor while it's running. That means it can go deep in the ocean and handle extreme pressures.

The thruster is easy to use: just connect the three motor wires to any brushless electronic speed controller (ESC) and you can control it with an RC radio or a microcontroller. It's usable with Arduino, ArduPilot, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, and many other embedded platforms... (kickstarter)

Self-Folding Origami Robot Goes From Flat to Walking in Four Minutes

From IEEE Spectrum:

Printable, self-folding robot created by Harvard and MIT researchers... (IEEE Spectrum story) (full paper)

Hitchbot is Halfway Across its Canadian Journey

From hitchBOT's page:

I am hitchBOT — a robot from Port Credit, Ontario.

I am traveling from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia this summer. As you may have guessed, robots cannot get driver’s licences yet, so I’ll be hitchhiking my entire way... (cont'd)

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Industrial Robotics - Featured Product

SCHUNK's New Safety Gripping System EGN

SCHUNK's New Safety Gripping System EGN

With the SLS, SOS, and STO functionalities, the SCHUNK EGN gripping system certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO 13849 enables safe human/machine collaboration. If the production process is interrupted by an emergency shut-off, the SCHUNK EGN goes into either a safely limited speed mode or a safe stop mode depending on the activated protection zone. In contrast to other solutions available on the market, the SCHUNK safety gripping system is continuously powered even in the safe operating stop so that the gripped parts are reliably held even without mechanical maintenance of gripping force. As soon as the protection zone is released, the gripper immediately switches back to the regular operating mode without the system having to be restarted.