New Medical Technology Saving Lives

Most of the medical advances that we have seen have been with pharmaceuticals, as drug companies compete to introduce new more effective drugs because the patents on many blockbuster drugs are about to expire. But the coolest advances have to do with medical equipment. The age of high-tech medicine is here with even greater advances in development.

Interview - Wireless Assembly Line Robotics - Joseph Citrano III, of Honeywell

A robot has multiple axis, so a wireless switch is sensing position on those different axis. A Limitless™ wireless solution includes wireless switches and I/O devices that are paired and communicate with a PLC or controller interface.

Proximity sensing in robotic clamping applications

Clamping applications often rely on sensors to detect whether the jaws or grippers are in the proper position - open or closed. Though other technologies can be used in place of sensors to determine the open/closed conditions, sensor implementation can increase reliability and obtain data that only a detection device very near the application can provide.

Seegrid Robotic Industrial Trucks - Case Study

The Warehouse Group took to the Robotic Industrial Truck right away when they saw how it helped with their workload. On the manufacturing side, an unexpected secondary benefit is that we removed clutter and unsightly pallets from the work areas so the trucks can maneuver, providing a cleaner, safer work environment.

Instructions For Developing Your Own 3D Camera

The Hackengineer web site has complete plans for building a portable 3d camera. The system uses a Texas Instruments DLP pico projector, Leopard Imaging’s Leopardboard 365 VGA camera board, a small 2x telephoto lens, and a BeagleBoard. The system uses the concept know as Structured-light . Structured light uses a set of temporally encoded patterns that are sequentially projected onto the scene. When the pattern is seen from different viewpoints, the pattern appears geometrically distorted due to the surface shape of the object. This information is used to construct the depth data.

Truss Climbing Robots

Cornell's Creative Machines Lab constructed a robot testbed capable of re-configuring simple truss structures. The robot can add and remove bits and pieces as it goes. The goal of the project is to eventually have similar robots that could be used to assemble structures in difficult situation such as disaster recovery or space exploration.

Julian: A Open Source Grammar Based Speech Recognition Library

Achu Wilson is building a personal robot called Chippu. Using Julian, a special version of Julius Speech Recognition Library , he was able to recognize and execute voice commands. He details the process of getting the library working with ROS in his blog post here.

President Signs FAA Bill To Integrate Unmanned Vehicle Systems By 2015

President Obama has signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act 2012. The bill will allow the FAA to rebuild its air traffic control system to the next generation technology which will include switching from radar to a GPS air traffic control system. The law will open up the skies to unmanned drones by September 2015. According to AUVSI  (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International), major UAS provisions in the FAA bill include: Setting a 30 Sept., 2015 deadline for full integration of UAS into the national airspace Requiring a comprehensive integration plan within nine months Requiring the FAA to create a five-year UAS roadmap (which should be updated annually) Requiring small UAS (under 55 pounds) to be allowed to fly within 27 months Requiring six UAS test sites within six months (similar to the language in the already-passed defense bill) Requiring small UAS (under 55 pounds) be allowed to fly in the U.S. Arctic, 24 hours a day, beyond line-of-sight, at an altitude of at least 2,000 feet, within one year Requiring expedited access for public users, such as law enforcement, firefighters, emergency responders Allowing first responders to fly very small UAS (4.4 pounds or less) within 90 days if they meet certain requirements Requiring the FAA to study UAS human factors and causes of accidents      

Humanoid "Projet Romeo" Greeting Video

Projet Romeo is being developed by Aldebaran Robotic, the same group working on the NAO . Project Romeo is a 4 foot tall humanoid designed to assist elderly and disabled individuals in their daily activities. The robot will be able to walk through a home, fetching food from the kitchen, taking out the garbage, and acting as a loyal companion who helps entertain its owners and keep tabs on their health. The project started in 2009 but the company hasn't released much info about it until now. Below is the first video of Projet Romeo, sitting in a chair, talking and moving his arms and hands:

Origami Robots

Ramses Martinez, Carina Fish, Xin Chen and George Whitesides have published a paper describing a soft pneumatic actuator constructed by combining paper with a silicone elastomer. On pneumatic inflation, these actuators move anisotropically, based on the motions accessible by their composite structures. They are inexpensive, simple to fabricate, light in weight, and easy to actuate. This class of structure is versatile: the same principles of design lead to actuators that respond to pressurization with a wide range of motions (bending, extension, contraction, twisting, and others). Paper, when used to introduce anisotropy into elastomers, can be readily folded into 3D structures following the principles of origami; these folded structures increase the stiffness and anisotropy of the elastomeric actuators, while being light in weight. These soft actuators can manipulate objects with moderate performance; for example, they can lift loads up to 120 times their weight. They can also be combined with other components, for example, electrical components, to increase their functionality.

LS3 AlphaDog Heads Outdoors

Boston Dynamics' LS3 is a four legged military robot designed to go anywhere and carry up to 400 lbs of gear with enough fuel for missions covering 20 miles. The development of LS3 is being funded by DARPA and the US Marine Corps. The project has been in development for sometime and now DARPA released a new video of the prototype traversing hills and uneven ground as they test it outdoors.

Liquid Silver Printed Circuit Boards

University Of Illinois engineers have demonstrated a method of printing liquid silver onto flexible surfaces to create conductive trails. The advantage of silver is that the particles are much smaller than other conventional electronic ink making it easier to print using a inkjet nozzle. Hopefully in the future this silver ink will make printing circuit boards with a simple desktop printer a reality.

Britain's UAV Industry Plans New PR Effort

Companies seeking to enable the routine use of surveillance drones across Britain are planning a long-term public relations effort to counter the negative image of the controversial aircraft. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association (UAVSA), a trade group that represents the drone industry to the UK government, has recommended drones deployed in Britain should be shown to "benefit mankind in general", be decorated with humanitarian-related advertisements, and be painted bright colours to distance them from those used in warzones, details from a UAVSA presentation show. Plans are also under way to establish corridors of segregated airspace to fly drones – or UAVs – between restricted "danger zones" (airspace where test flights take place) in isolated parts of England and Wales. A series of presentations given by industry figures in recent months show public opposition is considered a major hurdle. UAVSA has discussed how it could use the media to disseminate favourable stories, creating a narrative that presents the introduction of drones in the UK as part of a "national mission".

Interview - Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) Tech

You can pretty much give UAVs any use you want, provided that you have enough imagination and patience to see that function come alive. Some of the most common uses right now and in the future will probably be related to photography, mapping, surveillance, surveying and any other activities that might involve risking human lives.

North American Robotics Industry Breaks Records For 2011

A total of 19,337 robots valued at $1.17 billion were sold to companies in North America, beating the previous record of 18,228 robots sold in 2005. When sales by North American robot suppliers to companies outside North America are included, the totals are 22,126 robots valued at $1.35 billion. Robots sold to automotive component suppliers in North America jumped 77% over 2010, while robots sold to automotive OEMs increased 59%. Sales to non-automotive customers grew 27%, led by metalworking industries (+56%) and semiconductor/electronics/photonics (+24%).

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