By David Szondy for Gizmag: On June 5 and 6, the 2015 DARPA Robotic Challenge (DRC) Finals will take place at Fairplex in Pomona, California. Open to the public, it will see 25 international teams compete for US$3.5 million in prizes as part of an effort to develop robots for disaster relief. Here's what to expect.
This year's challenge will see 25 teams competing. Half of the teams are from the United States, five are from Japan, three from Korea, two from Germany, one from Italy, one from Hong Kong, and one from the People’s Republic of China. They will be vying for a US$3.5 million total of prizes; including a $2 million first prize, a $1 million second prize, and a $500,000 third prize. The robots will be of a wide variety with some humanoid, some four-legged, and some tracked, but all will need to operate free of external power, mechanical support, and limited communications with their controllers.
The basic idea behind DRC 2015 is to make things much harder for the robots than previously.
RoboUniverse, robotics’ annual meeting of the minds, is rolling out in New York City this week—and in the keynote address today, we learned where the best robotics work in the world is happening.
Dan Dibbern and Laura Studwell for Quality Magazine: Industrial robots are expected to be the focus for investment in factory automation. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), investment in industrial robots is expected to grow at an annual rate of 12% from 2015 to 2017. The packaging industry is experiencing a surge in robotic integration throughout primary, secondary and tertiary packaging—from processing, assembly, labeling and cartoning to case packing and palletizing.
The driving force behind the surge in robotics sales growth in North America is the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FSMA is requiring companies to introduce automated machinery and components into the production process to help eliminate potential product quality and integrity issues.
With the FSMA about to publicly release its requirements, the use of robots in packaging is at the point of takeoff. And with recent technical advances in robotics helping to power the new wave of interest, companies are experiencing first-hand that robots are faster, smarter and more affordable than ever before.
From CyPhy LVL 1 Drone Kickstarter:
Our drone never tilts, allowing it to snap perfect pictures and stable video every time. By eliminating tilting, the drone handles intuitively, with an unrivaled out-of-the-box experience.
Thanks to its special shape, our LVL 1 simplifies aerial photography. There’s no complex, expensive stabilization mount or vulnerable camera. You’ll take stunning pictures with ease.
CyPhy Works, founded by iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner, has been making tethered drones for industrial application. These drones were designed to fly 24/7 in all types of wind and weather.
While Dr. Kenneth Sebesta was optimizing our drones’ hovering, he came up with a breakthrough. He realized that with just the right twist angle of the arms and a precise amount of added dihedral — plus a lot more fancy math — we could achieve level flight for the first time on a multi-rotor drone... $495 (Kickstarter)
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
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
From The Independent:
A drone start-up is going to counter industrial scale deforestation using industrial scale reforestation.
From François Maillet:
In Montréal this time of year, the city literally stops and everyone starts talking, thinking and dreaming about a single thing: the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even most of those who don’t normally care the least bit about hockey transform into die hard fans of theMontréal Canadiens, or the Habs like we also call them.
Below is a Youtube clip of the epic goal celebration hack in action. In a single sentence, I trained a machine learning model to detect in real-time that a goal was just scored by the Habs based on the live audio feed of a game and to trigger a light show using Philips hues in my living room... (full article)
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)
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.
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.
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)
From the new Star Wars:
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