New York Times:
Over the last half-year, Google has quietly acquired seven technology companies in an effort to create a new generation of robots. And the engineer heading the effort is Andy Rubin, the man who built Google’s Android software into the world’s dominant force in smartphones.... (full article)
From Ali Osman Ulusoy, Octavian Biris, Joseph Mundy of Brown University:
This paper presents a probabilistic volumetric frame- work for image based modeling of general dynamic 3-d scenes. The framework is targeted towards high quality modeling of complex scenes evolving over thousands of frames. Extensive storage and computational resources are required in processing large scale space-time (4-d) data. Existing methods typically store separate 3-d models at each time step and do not address such limitations. A novel 4-d representation is proposed that adaptively subdivides in space and time to explain the appearance of 3-d dynamic surfaces. This representation is shown to achieve compres- sion of 4-d data and provide efficient spatio-temporal pro- cessing. Theadvancesoftheproposedframeworkisdemon- strated on standard datasets using free-viewpoint video and 3-d tracking applications.... (full paper)
According to AllThingsD Apple is in the process of buying PrimeSense. PrimeSense is the company that developed and licensed the hardware and chip design used in the original Kinect. This could have an effect on several low cost depth cameras including the ASUS Xtion which uses PrimeSense hardware or the $200 developer camera sold directly from PrimeSense.
Their online store is still open but who know for how long.
As cool as quadrotors are, in most cases they're simply not as good as helicopters. Because of the way they're designed (with four small rotors instead of one big one), they're less powerful, less efficient, and less maneuverable. The power and efficiency issues come from the fact that one big rotor generates more lift per aircraft footprint than four small rotors, and as for maneuverability, a helicopter that can alter rotor pitch instantly will always outmaneuver a quadrotor that can only control blade speed. Seriously, try doing this with a quadrotor.
So, the thing that quadrotors have going for them is that they're simple. Helicopters have complex main rotor heads, with shafts and bearings and linkages all over the place, while quadrotors just have four motors and that's it. The University of Queensland researchers came up with a "Y4" configuration that aims to take all the good bits of helicopters and make them as simple as quadrotors. I'm just going to start calling this new design a triquad. Keep in mind that this is still a quadrotor: it just had things shifted around a little bit.
Almost all of the triquad's lift comes from its big main fixed-pitch rotor, located at the center of the "Y" (pictured below). The three little fixed-pitch rotors in the "Y" configuration are angled (at a fixed 45 degrees) to provide counter-torque (which they do slightly more efficiently than a helicopter tail rotor) along with pitch and roll control. Here's how the control works... cont'd at IEEE Spectrum
Follow up discussions:
The new ACM-R5H swimming in a new pool. It is fully customizable in its colors (fins and body) and in the electronics that may be fitted in the front and rear unit.
The robot length can be also easily changed by adding or removing units, in this case it is a version of 6 active joints.
Scratch for Arduino (S4A) is a modified version of Scratch, ready to interact with Arduino boards.
S4A works with Arduino Diecimila, Duemilanove and Uno. Other boards haven't been tested, but they may also work.
Components have to be connected in a particular way. S4A allows for 6 analog inputs (analog pins), 2 digital inputs (digital pins 2 and 3), 3 analog outputs (digital pins 5, 6 and 9), 3 digital outputs (pins 10, 11 and 13) and 4 special outputs to connect Parallax continuous rotation servomotors (digital pins 4, 7, 8 and 12).
You can manage a board wirelessly by attaching an RF module to it, such as Xbee.
S4A allows you to control as many boards as USB ports you have.
Take in account that this compatibility doesn't work both ways, so you won't be able to open an S4A project from within the original Scratch.
Using a PicoBoard along with an Arduino board is also supported... cont'd
Both software and hardware are available under an open source licence for academics, artists and geeks.
EASY TO REPAIR AND DUPLICATE
Poppy only uses off-the-shelf components (motors and electronics) and limbs that can be printed with regular 3D printing services.
OPTIMIZED FOR BIPED LOCOMOTION
Poppy’s body has a morphology modeling human skeleton: bended legs, multi-articulated trunk, soft body. This increases robustness, agility and stability during the walking.
The overall materials needed to build your own Poppy robot costs around 7500€ ($10500, including motors, electronics and 3D printed parts). We hope the community will find ways to build and use even cheaper solutions.
Unbounded has been working in stealth mode for the past year, but our best guess was that they were developing a low-cost mobile manipulator for research and education: something like a PR2, except (we were hoping) significantly cheaper. Today, Unbounded is unveiling UBR-1, a shiny new human-scale one-armed robot designed to completely revolutionize the market for research and education robotics and beyond, for just a tiny fraction of the cost of similar platforms.
Australia-based Zookal and Flirtey want to deliver textbooks to people in Sydney using aerial drones:
Legged Robot Testing in Desert:
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