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

Introduction:

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)

Nvidia Jetson TK1 Development Kit

Features ($192 ):

  • Tegra K1 SOC
    • Kepler GPU with 192 CUDA cores
    • 4-Plus-1 quad-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU
  • 2 GB x16 memory with 64 bit width
  • 16 GB 4.51 eMMC memory
  • 1 Half mini-PCIE slot
  • 1 Full size SD/MMC connector
  • 1 Full-size HDMI port
  • 1 USB 2.0 port, micro AB
  • 1 USB 3.0 port, A
  • 1 RS232 serial port
  • 1 ALC5639 Realtek Audio codec with Mic in and Line out
  • 1 RTL8111GS Realtek GigE LAN
  • 1 SATA data port
  • SPI 4MByte boot flash

Dr. Dobbs has an in depth look here.

Ino: Command Line Toolkit for Arduino Hardware

Ino tools webpage:

Ino is a command line toolkit for working with Arduino hardware

It allows you to:

  • Quickly create new projects
  • Build a firmware from multiple source files and libraries
  • Upload the firmware to a device
  • Perform serial communication with a device (aka serial monitor)

Ino may replace Arduino IDE UI if you prefer to work with command line and an editor of your choice or if you want to integrate Arduino build process to 3-rd party IDE.

Ino is based on make to perform builds. However Makefiles are generated automatically and you’ll never see them if you don’t want to.

Features

  • Simple. No build scripts are necessary.
  • Out-of-source builds. Directories with source files are not cluttered with intermediate object files.
  • Support for *.ino and *.pde sketches as well as raw *.c and *.cpp.
  • Support for Arduino Software versions 1.x as well as 0.x.
  • Automatic dependency tracking. Referred libraries are automatically included in the build process. Changes in *.h files lead to recompilation of sources which include them.
  • Pretty colorful output.
  • Support for all boards that are supported by Arduino IDE.
  • Fast. Discovered tool paths and other stuff is cached across runs. If nothing has changed, nothing is build.
  • Flexible. Support for simple ini-style config files to setup machine-specific info like used Arduino model, Arduino distribution path, etc just once.

(Homepage)

 

REMUS SharkCam: The Hunter and the Hunted

From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Vimeo page:

In 2013, a team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution took a specially equipped REMUS "SharkCam" underwater vehicle to Guadalupe Island in Mexico to film great white sharks in the wild. They captured more than they bargained for.

Additional article in Oceanus Magazine.

Robot With Broken Leg Learns To Walk Again In 2 Minutes

From Medium:

Today, Antoine Cully at the Sorbonne University in Paris and a couple of pals say they’ve developed a technique that allows a damaged robot to learn how to walk again in just a few seconds. They say their work has important consequences for the reliability and robustness of future robots and may also provide some insight into the way that animals adapt to injury as well... (cont'd)

JIBO

From JIBO's Indiegogo campaign:

Friendly, helpful and intelligent. From social robotics pioneer Dr. Cynthia Breazeal.

OpenFPV

From Tilman Griesel's posts on DIY Drones:

Open source project to make FPV(first person view) with the raspberry pi easy to use for every one.

OpenFPV is a project that uses latest technology to provide low latency, easy and well tested open source FPV flying. Based on single-board computers, HD cameras and IEEE 802.11. 

Current Features:

  • Recording
  • Web interface
  • Low-Latency H264 Streaming (≈120ms)
  • RESTful API
  • Customizable
  • Extendable
  • Installer (in progress)
  • Minimal bettery consumption

Roadmap:

  • Invite more people to join the development team
  • Complete the installer
  • More field tests with different setups
  • Create desktop applications for mac/win with HUD support
  • Add OculusVR support

Release is not available yet but you can follow the progress on DIY Drones or the OpenFPV homepage.

Quoc Le's Lectures on Deep Learning

Gaurav Trivedi has put together a landing page with all of Quoc Le’s recent lecture series and accompanying resources:

Dr. Quoc Le from the Google Brain project team (yes, the one that made headlines for creating a cat recognizer) presented a series of lectures at the Machine Learning Summer School (MLSS ’14) in Pittsburgh this week. This is my favorite lecture series from the event till now and I was glad to be able to attend them... (cont'd with all videos)

Parallella: $119 Parallel Computing Platform with 16-core Epiphany chip

Parallella Computer Specifications:

The Parallella platform is an open source, energy efficient, high performance, credit-card sized computer based on the Epiphany multicore chips developed by Adapteva. This affordable platform is designed for developing and implementing high performance, parallel processing applications developed to take advantage of the on-board Epiphany chip. The Epiphany 16 or 64 core chips consists of a scalable array of simple RISC processors programmable in C/C++ connected together with a fast on chip network within a single shared memory architecture... (cont'd)

A realtime raytracing example running on the 16-core Epiphany chip:

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Industrial Robotics - Featured Product

Comau’s Racer3 Robot: Beauty and Passion Meet Precision and Speed

Comau's Racer3 Robot: Beauty and Passion Meet Precision and Speed

Racer3 is a powerful, high-speed, 6-axis articulated robot featuring a payload of 3kg and a reach of just 630 mm. Built from high-strength aluminum, the newest innovation in Comau robotics is lightweight and can be easily mounted on benches, walls, ceilings or on inclined supports. The third robot within the award-winning Racer family, Racer3 is Comau's response to the growing demand for fast, cost-effective robotic automation within small to medium-sized enterprises and emerging countries. Racer3 is intended for general industry use to increase productivity and reduce overall costs by automating industrial applications. It combines field-proven technology and enhanced dexterity with a keen focus on safety, design and product aesthetics. With a streamlined design and brushed metal exterior, the new powerhouse of a robot combines beauty and speed together with absolute precision and repeatability. Primary applications include assembly, material handling, machine tending, dispensing and pick & place.