The Not-So-Secret Code That Powers Robots Around the Globe

Ellen Huet for Bloomberg:  Depending on whom you ask, the Robot Operating System—or ROS—is kind of like the plumbing in a house. Or it’s like a set of Lego building blocks. Or the human nervous system.

However you describe it, ROS is everywhere. It's the shared system of underlying code that powers robots around the world, from the hobbyist creations in a garage to industrial robots at Toyota. It's also the focus of the latest episode of Ventures, a video series about startups from Bloomberg Technology.

ROS plays a major part in the recent boom in robots. Because ROS is so widely used, it makes it easy for engineers to cobble together the basic skills a robot needs, such as connecting to a camera to see, or building a real-time map of the world around it. In that way, it's kind of like assembling Legos or hooking a sink up to a wall. ROS also takes care of the robot's underlying needs, comparable to a human's need to breathe and pump blood. That allows roboticists to focus on the hard part: making a robot think.  Full Article:

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ST Robotics Develops the Workspace Sentry for Collaborative Robotics

ST Robotics Develops the Workspace Sentry for Collaborative Robotics

The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.