RobotsLab Box

IEEE Spectrum article about RobotsLab new box of robots for making robots available in school systems:

Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle Being Used In Afghanistan

British troops in Afghanistan are the first to use state-of-the-art handheld nano surveillance helicopters.

The Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle measures around 4 inches by 1 inch (10cm x 2.5cm) and provides troops on the ground with vital situational awareness.

The Black Hornet is equipped with a tiny camera which gives troops reliable full-motion video and still images. Soldiers are using it to peer around corners or over walls and other obstacles to identify any hidden dangers and the images are displayed on a handheld terminal.

The Black Hornet weighs as little as 16 grams and has been developed by Prox Dynamics AS of Norway as part of a £20 million contract for 160 units with Marlborough Communications Ltd in Surrey.

How To Build A Bionic Man

On Febuary 7th Channel 4 in the UK will air the special "How To Build A Bionic Man".

From bionic arms and legs to artificial organs, science is beginning to catch up with science fiction in the race to replace body parts with man-made alternatives.

How to Build a Bionic Man follows psychologist Bertolt Meyer, who has a bionic hand himself, as he meets scientists working at the cutting edge of research to find out just how far this new technology can go.

Meanwhile, a team of roboticists create a complete 'bionic man' for the first time, using nearly $1 million-worth of state-of-the-art limbs and organs - the products of billions of dollars of research - borrowed from some of the world's leading laboratories and manufacturers.

Minuscule Reconfigurable Robot From MIT

The little device is called a milli-motein — a name melding its millimeter-sized components and a motorized design inspired by proteins, which naturally fold themselves into incredibly complex shapes. This minuscule robot may be a harbinger of future devices that could fold themselves up into almost any shape imaginable. The device was conceived by Neil Gershenfeld, head of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, visiting scientist Ara Knaian and graduate student Kenneth Cheung, and is described in a paper presented recently at the 2012 Intelligent Robots and Systems conference. Its key feature, Gershenfeld says: "It's effectively a one-dimensional robot that can be made in a continuous strip, without conventionally moving parts, and then folded into arbitrary shapes."

Fully Autonomous Hamburger Line

Momentum Machines is a Silicon Valley startup that is aims to build a fully automated gourmet quality burger production line. They plan to first open their own restaurant using the technology and then sell the hardware to others in the future. Here is their bullet points from the current alpha hardware:

 

  • Our alpha machine replaces all of the hamburger line cooks in a restaurant.It does everything employees can do except better:
  • It slices toppings like tomatoes and pickles only immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible.
  • Our next revision will offer custom meat grinds for every single customer. Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground after you place your order? No problem.
  • Also, our next revision will use gourmet cooking techniques never before used in a fast food restaurant, giving the patty the perfect char but keeping in all the juices.
  • It’s more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour.

Watch PBS NOVA Episode "Rise Of The Drones"

If you live in US you can stream last nights episode of the science show NOVA from the PBS webpage here.

 

Program Description:
Drones. These unmanned flying robots–some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds–do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense, and kill has remained secret. But now, with rare access to drone engineers and those who fly them for the U.S. military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful as we see how a remotely-piloted drone strike looks and feels from inside the command center. From cameras that can capture every detail of an entire city at a glance to swarming robots that can make decisions on their own to giant air frames that can stay aloft for days on end, drones are changing our relationship to war, surveillance, and each other. And it's just the beginning. Discover the cutting edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history as NOVA gets ready for "Rise of the Drones."

Adept's New Material Automation Robot

The Adept Lynx is an Autonomous Indoor Vehicle (AIV) available to developers for custom applications and payloads. The Lynx includes Adept’s proprietary self-navigation software ideal for use in crowded environments, tight hallways, and applications where a small automated vehicle is advantageous. Adept OEM partners and payload developers enjoy access to a reliable drive system, an on-board power supply, automated self-charging, and I/O for integrating payload hardware onto the mobile platform. The Adept Lynx is capable of transporting up to 60kg with a runtime of up to 19 hours a day.

 

  • Simplifies payload integration with a small mobile platform
  • Self-navigation software safely avoids people and obstacles
  • Reliable drive system optimized for self-navigation
  • Structural support of payloads up to 60kg on level surfaces
  • Navigates through the use of a digital map
  • Easy to deploy, no facilities modifications required
  • Manages power and self charging operations

Filling A Room With Single-line Drawing

A project by Mattias Jones:

Towards the end of 2012, as part of The Festival of the Mind in Sheffield, myself and a small team of technicians, coders and mathematicians developed a drawing system and put it to work. The robots drew one line pattern solutions, the shortest line possible, derived from theories on how bees fly from flower to flower. It ended up covering three walls and the floor of a twenty foot cube in one unbroken line.

Swarm Of Pingpong-Ball-Sized Robots

CU-Boulder researchers are working to build a swarm of small robots that can work together to accomplish complex tasks. In the future, teams of intelligent robots could be deployed to tackle a number of challenging problems, from containing an oil spill to self-assembling into a piece of hardware after being launched into space. For now, the CU researchers, led by Assistant Professor Nikolaus Correll, have built a swarm of 20 robots, each about the size of a pingpong ball, in their lab.

OpenBeam

Started last year on Kickstarter and now available through their website, as well as several other distributors, OpenBeam is a T-Slot aluminum framing systems that uses standard M3 nuts and bolts.

Introduction:

T-Slot extruded aluminum framing systems have been in use throughout the manufacturing and automation industries for machine building, prototyping and robotics applications for the past 30 years.  Unfortunately, all the vendors in this industry utilize a razor and blade business model; while the extrusions are priced low, they require the use of specialty nuts and plates, which can be priced as high as $3.00 per nut and $10.00 per joining plate.

Starter kits cost $80 and include:

  • 4 pieces of 150mm long extrusion
  • 4 pieces of 120mm long extrusion
  • 4 pieces of 90mm long extrusion
  • 4 pieces of 60mm long extrusion
  • 4 pieces of 30mm long extrusion
  • 8 pieces of T bracket
  • 16 pieces of L bracket
  • 100 pack of nuts, 100 pack of bolts and a 2mm hex key

 

New Lego Mindstorm EV3 With Linux-based OS

At CES Lego announced their new Mindstorm EV3 robotics platform. The big changes are the improved processor, USB 2.0 WiFi dongle, and the switch from a proprietary OS to an open-source Linux-based OS. Below is the promo video but for further in-depth info read the rundown at The NXT STEP Mindstorm Blog.

NASA Kicks Off 2013 First Robotics Season With Live Broadcast Jan. 5

NASA Television will broadcast the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Kickoff event on Saturday, Jan. 5, starting at 10:30 a.m. EST from Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. The event also will be streamed live on NASA’s website.

As in past years, NASA plays a significant role by providing public access to robotics programs to encourage young people to investigate careers in the sciences and engineering. Through the NASA Robotics Alliance Project, the agency provides grants for almost 250 teams and sponsors four regional student competitions, including a FIRST regional competition in Washington that will be held March 28-30.

Each year, FIRST presents a new robotics competition scenario where each team receives an identical kit of parts and has six weeks to design and build a robot based on the team’s interpretation of the game scenario. Other than dimension and weight restrictions, the look and function of the robots is up to each individual team. This year more than 2,500 teams from 49 states, and 12 countries will participate.

60 Minutes Segment On Brain Controlled Robotic Limbs

New AlphaDog Field Test Footage

For the past two weeks, in the woods of central Virginia around Fort Pickett, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) four-legged robot has been showing off its capabilities during field testing. Working with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL), researchers from DARPA’s LS3 program demonstrated new advances in the robot’s control, stability and maneuverability, including "Leader Follow" decision making, enhanced roll recovery, exact foot placement over rough terrain, the ability to maneuver in an urban environment, and verbal command capability.

New Arduino Esplora With Built-in Onboard Sensors

The Arduino Esplora is a microcontroller board derived from the Arduino Leonardo. The Esplora differs from all preceding boards in that it provides a number of built-in, ready-to-use set of onboard sensors for interaction. The Esplora has onboard sound and light output interfaces. It alos has the potential to expand its capabilities with two Tinkerkit input and output connectors, and a socket for a color TFT LCD screen. Like the Leonardo board, the Esplora uses an Atmega32U4 AVR microcontroller with 16 MHz crystal oscillator and a micro USB connection capable of acting as a USB client device, like a mouse or a keyboard.

 

The Esplora has the following on-board inputs and outputs :

  • Analog joystick with central push-button two axis (X and Y) and a center pushbutton.
  • 4 push-buttons laid out in a diamond pattern.
  • Linear potentiometer slider near the bottom of the board.
  • Microphone for getting the loudness (amplitude) of the surrounding environment.
  • Light sensor for getting the brightness.
  • Temperature sensor reads the ambient temperature
  • Three-axis accelerometer measures the board's relation to gravity on three axes (X, Y, and Z)
  • Buzzer can produce square-waves.
  • RGB led bright LED with Red Green and Blue elements for color mixing.
  • 2 TinkerKit Inputs to connect the TinkerKit sensor modules with the 3-pin connectors.
  • 2 TinkerKit Outputs to connect the TinkerKit actuator modules with the 3-pin connectors.
  • TFT display connector connector for an optional color LCD screen, SD card, or other devices that use the SPI protocol.

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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.