The Open Hand Project

Open Hand Project Indiegogo Campaign:

What is it?
The Open Hand Project is an open source project with the goal of making robotic prosthetic hands more accessible to amputees.

The Dextrus hand is the realization of this goal, it's a robotic hand that can be put together for well under £650 ($1000) and offers much of the functionality of a human hand.

Who's it For?
The Dextrus hand is for anyone who wants an advanced robotic hand. This could be an amputee who wants a little more than a metal hook, a researcher who's looking into control systems for telepresence robots or perhaps a hobbyist who is making a humanoid robot.

2012 Venture Funding Roundup From Hizook

Hizook:

Due to the popularity of Hizook's list of VC Funding for Robotics in 2011, we figured folks would be curious how 2012 fared in comparison.... and the news is promising!  cont'd

Flutter: $20 Wireless Arduino With Half Mile Range.

Kickstarter campaign:

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a wireless electronics development platform based on Arduino. With over half a mile of usable range, a powerful ARM processor, and integrated encryption, Flutter makes it easy for you to build projects that communicate across the house, across the neighborhood, and beyond.

Whether you want to check the temperature of a beer-brewing setup, have your mailbox send you a text message when the mailman arrives, control a swarm of flying robots, or just turn on your lights with your phone, Flutter gives you the range, power, and flexibility to do it.

We’re not just building circuit boards though. Our goal is simple: make it easier for engineers, makers, builders, and hackers to go farther with their projects than ever before. Even if it's their first time. We’re going to arrange and keep a set of basic electronics tutorials so getting started with Flutter is as easy as possible.

Getting Connected

Creating Flutter networks is easy, even if it’s just two boards. Specify networks in Arduino code or configure Flutter with our mobile app. Once configured, devices can enter and exit the network seamlessly. This makes it extremely easy to set up a network at home (or anywhere else) where all of your projects can reliably communicate. Flutter is like a second network for your devices.

Suitable Technologies Retains Willow Garage Talent to Further Develop Beam Remote Presence

Suitable Technologies, Inc:

Suitable Technologies, Inc., has retained a majority of employees from Willow Garage, Inc. to increase and enhance the development of Suitable Technologies' Beam™ remote presence system. Suitable Technologies will use the combined resources to further product development, sales and customer support. Beam enables users to travel instantly to remote locations using video conferencing technology, over a WiFi or cellular 4G LTE connection, that users can drive. Beam is the market's most effective and reliable solution for remote presence, providing uncompromising quality with a robust offering of features. Scott Hassan, founder of both Willow Garage and Suitable Technologies, said, "I am excited to bring together the teams of Willow Garage and Suitable Technologies to provide the most advanced remote presence technology to people around the world." Willow Garage will continue to support customers of its PR2 personal robotics platform and sell its remaining stock of PR2 systems... cont'd

JPL's RoboSimian

Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

JPL and Stanford will build a simian-inspired limbed robot to participate in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. This groundbreaking RoboSimian uses deliberate and stable operations to complete challenging tasks under supervised tele-operation while in a degraded human environment. This emphasis on stability over dynamics and deliberation over reaction will result in faster and more robust overall operations by decreasing missteps for both robot and human operator. To accomplish this end, the team will employ design methods, system elements, and software algorithms that have already demonstrated success for JPL’s unique ATHLETE and Lemur robots, JPL’s first-place DARPA ARM-S team, and Stanford’s selectively compliant DARPA ARM-H design. In particular, RoboSimian will use its four general purpose limbs and hands, capable of both mobility and manipulation, to achieve passively stable stances; create multi-point anchored connections to supports such as ladders, railings, and stair treads; and brace itself during forceful manipulation operations.

DALER: Walking Flying Robot

Laboratory of Intelligent Systems:

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to move on the ground by using its wings only. Using the wings as whegs to move on rough terrains instead of adding an additional structure to the robot allows to minimize its structural mass. Therefore, this design minimizes the total weight of the platform, and thus minimizes the impact on the flight performance of the robot. The morphology of the robot is optimized for ground speed. It can move forward at 0.2 m/s (0.7 BL/s), and can rotate on spot at 25°/s. The robot is capable of walking with different gaits, it can move on different surfaces, it can overcome high obstacles, and can also navigate in rough terrains.

Robot Helps Museum Restore Paintings

Phys.org

In the basement of Madrid's Reina Sofia museum, a giant robotic machine painstakingly scans a painting by Catalan surrealist artist Joan Miro, slowly snapping hundreds of microscopic shots.

The pictures taken by the machine, which uses infrared and ultraviolet photography, will help experts determine the condition of the 1974 oil on canvas painting called "Women, Bird in the Night" in unprecedented detail.

The device lets restorers see cracks, scratches and creases as well underlying preparatory sketches and all subsequent touch-ups that would be otherwise undetectable.

Dronestagram

Dronestagram is Instagram for drones. Drone owners both professional and amateur can share their best aerial pictures with the goal of building a world map of Earth from a bird's eye view. 

Johnny-Five JavaScript Arduino Framework

Johnny-Five is a new NodeJS JavaScript framework for controlling Arduino hardware. The Safari Books blog has a detailed tutorial on setting up the software and hardware. The project source is available on GitHub.

Snake Robots Deployed in Nuclear Power Plant

Tests of a modular snake robot in an Austrian nuclear power plant proved the multi-jointed, camera-headed robot can crawl through a variety of steam pipes and connecting vessels, suggesting it could be a valuable inspection tool, report researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.

The snake robot was able to maneuver through multiple bends, slip through open valves and negotiate vessels with multiple openings. With a videocamera and LED light on its head, the snake was able to peer into holes and to get multiple views of items of interest inside the pipes.

ATLAS: DARPA and Boston Dynamics New Humanoid

IEEE Spectrum has updated information and lots of new images of ATLAS:

ATLAS was developed for DARPA by Boston Dynamics. Software-focused teams from Tracks B and C of the DARPA Robotics Challenge will use the robot to compete in the first physical competition of the Challenge in December 2013 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

 

Goals For NASA's 2020 Mars Rover Released

Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

The rover NASA will send to Mars in 2020 should look for signs of past life, collect samples for possible future return to Earth, and demonstrate technology for future human exploration of the Red Planet, according to a report provided to the agency.

The 154-page document was prepared by the Mars 2020 Science Definition Team, which NASA appointed in January to outline scientific objectives for the mission. The team, composed of 19 scientists and engineers from universities and research organizations, proposed a mission concept that could accomplish several high-priority planetary science goals and be a major step in meeting President Obama's challenge to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.

"Crafting the science and exploration goals is a crucial milestone in preparing for our next major Mars mission," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science in Washington. "The objectives determined by NASA with the input from this team will become the basis later this year for soliciting proposals to provide instruments to be part of the science payload on this exciting step in Mars exploration."

NASA will conduct an open competition for the payload and science instruments. They will be placed on a rover similar to Curiosity, which landed on Mars almost a year ago. Using Curiosity's design will help minimize mission costs and risks and deliver a rover that can accomplish the mission objectives.

The team's report details how the rover would use its instruments for visual, mineralogical and chemical analysis down to microscopic scale to understand the environment around its landing site and identify biosignatures, or features in the rocks and soil that could have been formed biologically.

"The Mars 2020 mission concept does not presume that life ever existed on Mars," said Jack Mustard, chairman of the Science Definition Team and a professor at the Geological Sciences at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

"However, given the recent Curiosity findings, past Martian life seems possible, and we should begin the difficult endeavor of seeking the signs of life. No matter what we learn, we would make significant progress in understanding the circumstances of early life existing on Earth and the possibilities of extraterrestrial life."

"The Mars 2020 mission will provide a unique capability to address the major questions of habitability and life in the solar system," said Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington. "This mission represents a major step towards creating high-value sampling and interrogation methods, as part of a broader strategy for sample returns by planetary missions."

Robot Vacuum Simulator 2013

From Stolidus Simulations:

Robot Vacuum Simulator 2013 is a groundbreaking simulator taking place in the incredible world of Robot Vacuum cleaners.

The simulator puts you in the shoes of a Robot Vacuum cleaner and sends you on a journey through an appartment cleaning up the dust of man.

Features:

  • The most realistic robot vacuum simulator ever.
  • Incredible single-player simulation
  • Duel with your friends in 2 player mode
  • A fully open world
  • Fantastic music
  • A main menu

Introducing German Aerospace Center's Biped TORO

Gizmag has a good write up about a new full body biped robot (TORO) that the engineers at the German Aerospace Center are currently working on.

Rory McIlroy & The Robot In A Golf Challenge

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Stäubli – TP80 Fast Picker robot

Stäubli - TP80 Fast Picker robot

Introducing the TP80 Fast Picker, a new series that delivers speeds in excess of 200 picks per minute, and more flexibility at a lower cost. Stäubli has long set the standard for high speed and precision in robotic performance, ensuring the highest possible throughput and shortest cycle times.