Watch That Windows Update: FTDI Drivers Are Killing Fake Chips

From Brian Benchoff at Hack A Day: The FTDI FT232 chip is found in thousands of electronic baubles, from Arduinos to test equipment, and more than a few bits of consumer electronics. It’s a simple chip, converting USB to a serial port, but very useful and probably one of the most cloned pieces of silicon on Earth. Thanks to a recent Windows update,  all those fake FTDI chips are at risk of being bricked.  This isn’t a case where fake FTDI chips won’t work if plugged into a machine running the newest FTDI driver; the latest driver bricks the fake chips, rendering them inoperable with any computer. Reports of problems with FTDI chips  surfaced early this month , with an explanation of the behavior showing up in  an EEVblog forum thread . The new driver for these chips from FTDI, delivered through a recent Windows update, reprograms the USB PID to 0, something Windows, Linux, and OS X don’t like. This renders the chip inaccessible from any OS, effectively bricking any device that happens to have one of these fake FTDI serial chips... ( full story with workaround solution )

Formosa Plastics Wins with Open Intel ® Architecture and Scalable Roadmap

Replacing legacy application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) with x86 architecture allows the company to deliver products just in time and to achieve about 20 percent of overhead in inventory.

Current Transducer Implementation Phenomena

Implementation of a current transducer is typically a straightforward affair. In the event that the output is not as expected, it must be understood that the source of the challenge may be rooted in the mechanical, magnetic or electric nature of the device.

At Japan Robot Week, Mechanical Barista Treats Visitors to Coffee

From  Japan Times :

iRobot Unveils Its First Multi-Robot Tablet Controller for First Responders, Defense Forces and Industrial Customers

From iRobot: The uPoint MRC system runs an Android-based app that standardizes the control of any robot within the iRobot family of unmanned vehicles. Utilizing the same intuitive touchscreen technology in use today on millions of digital devices, the uPoint MRC system simplifies robot operations including driving, manipulation and inspection, allowing operators to focus more on the mission at hand... ( full press release )

Integrated 2D Imaging Engine from Microscan Helps Improve Production Yield, Quality and Traceability at Each Step of the PCB Manufacturing Process

Case Study: Prodrive Technologies, The Netherlands

NASA's Free Flying Robot Challenge

From NASA, Google's Project Tango, and Top Coders: Welcome to the NASA Free Flying Robot Mission Patch & Naming Challenge sponsored by the NASA Tournament Lab!  In 2017, NASA is aiming to launch a robot that will be used on-board the International Space Station (ISS). The robot has been tentatively called the “Free Flying Robot”. Not that catchy, right?  So here’s where NASA needs your help – we need the Topcoder community to help design a custom mission patch AND develop a name for the Free Flying Robot.  So what is a Free Flying Robot? It’s a robot that is capable of functioning autonomously, but can also be controlled by a flight crew on-board the ISS or from Earth. It can conduct zero gravity robotics experiments, carry mobile sensors such as an RFID reader for logging inventory & inspect items using a built in camera  Currently on the ISS there are robotic devices called  “ SPHERES ”  (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), and the new Free Flyer Robot program is being seen as a step forward in the use of robotic devices in spaceflight... ( submission form )  

Robotics Design, Synthesis and Processing

The total process of building a robot is first to identify a need, then defining the problem that must be overcome to accomplish the need.

In Haptics, Machines Imitate Life

Enter the discipline of haptics, which involves using robotics with sophisticated feedback and controls to simulate a tactile experience for the user.

Deep Learning for Detecting Robotic Grasps

From Ian Lenz, Honglak Lee, Ashutosh Saxena: Abstract We consider the problem of detecting robotic grasps in an RGB-D view of a scene containing objects. In this work, we apply a deep learning approach to solve this problem, which avoids time-consuming hand-design of features. This presents two main challenges. First, we need to evaluate a huge number of candidate grasps. In order to make detection fast and robust, we present a two-step cascaded system with two deep networks, where the top detections from the first are re-evaluated by the second. The first network has fewer features, is faster to run, and can effectively prune out unlikely candidate grasps. The second, with more features, is slower but has to run only on the top few detections. Second, we need to handle multimodal inputs effectively, for which we present a method that applies structured regularization on the weights based on multimodal group regularization. We show that our method improves performance on an RGBD robotic grasping dataset, and can be used to successfully execute grasps on two different robotic platforms... ( homepage ) ( full pdf paper )

3 Robotics Related Kickstarters And Crazyflie 2

Crowd Funding Projects include - CONTROLLINO PLC: First open programmable Open-Source PLC (Arduino-Compatible) / Scrobby Solar: Keeping your solar panels clean! / IR-LOCK: infrared target tracking for Drones & DIY Robotics

Collaborative Robot Development

Since the operator can work in the robot's workspace even when the robot is still in motion at full speed, there is much more collaboration between the operator and robot.

FPV Forest Quad Racing

From french quad racing association  Airgonay :    

Piezo Motors Power MRI Robot

Combining magnetic field immunity with high precision motion over inches of travel, piezo "leg" motors walk the line.

Soft Robotics Toolkit

From Harvard Biodesign Lab: The Soft Robotics Toolkit is a collection of shared resources to support the design, fabrication, modeling, characterization, and control of soft robotic devices. The toolkit was developed as part of educational research being undertaken in the Harvard Biodesign Lab. The ultimate aim of the toolkit is to advance the field of soft robotics by allowing designers and researchers to build upon each other’s work. The toolkit includes an open source fluidic control board, detailed design documentation describing a wide range of soft robotic components (including actuators and sensors), and related files that can be downloaded and used in the design, manufacture, and operation of soft robots. In combination with low material costs and increasingly accessible rapid prototyping technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC mills, the toolkit enables soft robotic components to be produced easily and affordably... ( project's homepage )

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