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:

Raspberry Pi Model B+

From Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi Founder: This isn’t a “Raspberry Pi 2″, but rather the final evolution of the original Raspberry Pi. Today, I’m very pleased to be able to announce the immediate availability, at $35 – it’s still the same price, of what we’re calling the Raspberry Pi Model B+. The Model B+ uses the same BCM2835 application processor as the Model B. It runs the same software, and still has 512MB RAM; but James and the team have made the following key improvements: More GPIO. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins, while retaining the same pinout for the first 26 pins as the Model B. More USB. We now have 4 USB 2.0 ports, compared to 2 on the Model B, and better hotplug and overcurrent behaviour. Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version. Lower power consumption. By replacing linear regulators with switching ones we’ve reduced power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W. Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply. Neater form factor. We’ve aligned the USB connectors with the board edge, moved composite video onto the 3.5mm jack, and added four squarely-placed mounting holes... ( cont'd )

Intro to Shape Memory Alloy Actuation Using Flexinol

From Jie Qi's projects page: Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are metals that change shape when heated up. They are wonderful actuators in that they are light, silent and can be "turned on" by simply running current through. The shape that they change to can also be set, though this process is a bit more tricky. Flexinol is a particular brand of nitinol, which is an SMA made of nickel and titanium, and is pre-set to contract about 10% of its original length when heated. In my projects, I generally used the 0.006" to 0.01" diameter, High-Temp wires. Since Flexinol draws a lot of current (about 300mA for the diameters I used), you need a strong power supply like a wall supply or a good lithium-ion battery. I've used from 3.7V up to 6V (any more and my Flexinol wires would start overheating). To turn the Flexinol on, I would simply short the ends of the wire to the power. For digital control, I used a standard MOSFET circuit which is a digital switch that can be turned on and off using a microcontroller... ( cont'd )

BugJuggler: Project to build 70ft tall robot that juggles cars

Project Overview: BugJuggler will use a diesel engine to generate hydraulic pressure. An operator located in the robot’s head will be able to control its motions using a haptic feedback interface connected to high-speed servo valves. Hydraulic accumulators - essentially storage batteries for hydraulic fluid - will allow for the rapid movement required for the robot to juggle cars or other large, heavy objects.  The first stage of the BugJuggler project will be construction of a working 8ft tall single arm proof-of-principle juggler able to toss and catch a 250lb mass... ( cont'd )

A Robot Valet Will Park Your Car at This German Airport

Last week, Düsseldorf airport (DUS) introduced robot valets to take the hassle out of parking for travelers. Travelers can leave their cars at the arrival level of the ParkingPLUS structure. As they leave, they confirm on a touch-screen that no one is in the car. The robot valet, nicknamed "Ray," takes it from there. The robot measures the vehicle, picks it up with a forklift-like system, and takes it to the back area, where it will position it in one of the 249 parking spots reserved for automated valets. The machine is capable of carrying standard cars weighing up to 3.31 tons. The robot valet is even connected to the airport's flight data system, and by checking customer trip data with the database, Ray knows when the customer will return for the vehicle. A traveler can note any itinerary changes in a parking app, which is available for iOS and Android.

Dissembling a 1980s Kuka Robot

Relaxing summertime viewing of a 80s era Kuka robot being taken apart and dissected ( 20 parts total ).

Intel's 3-D Printed Robot "Jimmy"

From Wired: Intel describes Jimmy as a research robot, but a less sophisticated version of the adorable droid will go on sale later this year for $1,600. The caveat is that you will have to 3D print your Jimmy. The 3D printing blueprints will be available without charge, but to construct the robot you will also need to purchase a kit from Intel that will contain all the parts of Jimmy that aren't printable, including motors and an Intel Edison processor.. ( cont'd )


From We want to give you the chance to discover the world from the perspective of drones. The video footage of the area you are most interested in is as accessible as never before. On this site, everyone can share YouTube videos and add the corresponding location. It will appear on the map with a pin where the video footage has been recorded. After submitting a request to share a video, a dedicated team will review the material before validating the request. As soon as the request has been validated, the shared video will be visible on the map... ( Travel By Drone search page )

Blocky: A Graphic Programming Environment for ROS

From the robotics laboratory of Ben Gurion University: The main goal of this project it to allow users with only basic background in programming to develop software for controlling robots using ROS, this by developing a graphical interface that is user-friendly and convenient for programing to ROS. Researchers or other users often encounter a problem when come to develop a robot, they lack extensive background in programming and most of the times comes from a slightly different backgrounds (such as mechanical engineering or electrical engineering) which requires them long-term learning or rely on other professionals. The graphical interface shown in this project suggests that a researcher or a user to control a robot in a simple and more intuitive way without having to spend weeks learning the principles of ROS and without having to learn to program at all. This project product is a web-content, generic, open source, extensible and user-friendly program that helps in the development of a ROS based robot, while providing tools for correct developing... ( cont'd )

iCEstick $25 FPGA Evaluation Kit

Features USB thumb drive form factor iCE40HX-1k on board 2 x 6 position Digilent Pmod™ connector for other peripheral connections FTDI 2232H USB device allows iCE device programming and UART interface to a PC Vishay TFDU4101 IrDA transceiver Five user LEDs Discera 12 Mhz MEMS oscillator Micron 32 Mbit N25Q32 SPI flash USB connector provides the power supply 16 LVCMOS/LVTTL (3.3 V) digital I/O connections on 0.1” through-hole connections Available from Lattice for $24.99

Paraplegic in robotic suit kicks off World Cup

From BBC: A paraplegic man has made the first kick of the World Cup using a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton... ( cont'd ) Grantland has great story about the project here .

Response by Ray Kurzweil to the announcement of chatbot passing the Turing test

From Ray Kurzweil's blog: In my 2004 book The Singularity Is Near, I anticipated that there would be premature announcements of this kind: The Singularity Is Near, page 295 | Turing was carefully imprecise in setting the rules for his test, and significant literature has been devoted to the subtleties of establishing the exact procedures for determining how to assess when the Turing test has been passed. In 2002 I negotiated the rules for a Turing test wager with Mitch Kapor on the Long Now website... ( cont'd )

Tessel: A Microcontroller That Runs JavaScript

From : Tessel is a microcontroller that runs JavaScript. It's Node-compatible and ships with Wifi built in. Use it to easily make physical devices that connect to the web. Programmable via JavaScript 14 different hardware modules for added capabilities Compatible with 10,000's of Node.js packages on NPM Deploy over USB or remotely by WiFi   180mhz ARM Cortex-M3 LPC1830 32mb SDRAM 32mb Flash TI CC3000 WiFi radio 20-pin GPIO bank for general prototyping Micro USB or battery power Starting at $99 (controller and one module)

Open-source 3D Printed Life-size Robot

From InMoov's homepage: Gael Langevin is a French modelmaker and sculptor. He works for the biggest brands since more than 25 years. InMoov is his personal project, it was initiated in January 2012 InMoov is the first Open Source 3D printed life-size robot. Replicable on any home 3D printer with a 12x12x12cm area, it is conceived as a development platform for Universities, Laboratories, Hobbyist, but first of all for Makers. It’s concept, based on sharing and community, gives him the honor to be reproduced for countless projects through out the world... ( cont'd )

Algorithm that harnesses data from a new sensor could make autonomous robots more nimble.

MIT paper from Andrea Censi and Davide Scaramuzza: The agility of a robotic system is ultimately limited by the speed of its processing pipeline. The use of a Dynamic Vision Sensors (DVS), a sensor producing asynchronous events as luminance changes are perceived by its pixels, makes it possible to have a sensing pipeline of a theoretical latency of a few microseconds. However, several challenges must be overcome: a DVS does not provide the grayscale value but only changes in the luminance; and because the output is composed by a sequence of events, traditional frame-based visual odometry methods are not applicable. This paper presents the first visual odometry system based on a DVS plus a normal CMOS camera to provide the absolute brightness values. The two sources of data are automatically spatiotemporally calibrated from logs taken during normal operation. We design a visual odometry method that uses the DVS events to estimate the relative displacement since the previous CMOS frame by processing each event individually. Experiments show that the rotation can be estimated with surprising accuracy, while the translation can be estimated only very noisily, because it produces few events due to very small apparent motion ... ( full paper )

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BitFlow Introduces 6th Generation Camera Link Frame Grabber: The Axion

BitFlow Introduces 6th Generation Camera Link Frame Grabber: The Axion

BitFlow has offered a Camera Link frame grabbers for almost 15 years. This latest offering, our 6th generation combines the power of CoaXPress with the requirements of Camera Link 2.0. Enabling a single or two camera system to operate at up to 850 MB/S per camera, the Axion-CL family is the best choice for CL frame grabber. Like the Cyton-CXP frame grabber, the Axion-CL leverages features such as the new StreamSync system, a highly optimized DMA engine, and expanded I/O capabilities that provide unprecedented flexibility in routing. There are two options available; Axion 1xE & Axion 2xE. The Axion 1xE is compatible with one base, medium, full or 80-bit camera offering PoCL, Power over Camera Link, on both connectors. The Axion 2xE is compatible with two base, medium, full or 80-bit cameras offering PoCL on both connectors for both cameras. The Axion-CL is a culmination of the continuous improvements and updates BitFlow has made to Camera Link frame grabbers.