IEEE Spectrum: As cool as quadrotors are, in most cases they're simply not as good as helicopters. Because of the way they're designed (with four small rotors instead of one big one), they're less powerful, less efficient, and less maneuverable. The power and efficiency issues come from the fact that one big rotor generates more lift per aircraft footprint than four small rotors, and as for maneuverability, a helicopter that can alter rotor pitch instantly will always outmaneuver a quadrotor that can only control blade speed. Seriously, try doing this with a quadrotor. So, the thing that quadrotors have going for them is that they're simple. Helicopters have complex main rotor heads, with shafts and bearings and linkages all over the place, while quadrotors just have four motors and that's it. The University of Queensland researchers came up with a "Y4" configuration that aims to take all the good bits of helicopters and make them as simple as quadrotors. I'm just going to start calling this new design a triquad. Keep in mind that this is still a quadrotor: it just had things shifted around a little bit. Almost all of the triquad's lift comes from its big main fixed-pitch rotor, located at the center of the "Y" (pictured below). The three little fixed-pitch rotors in the "Y" configuration are angled (at a fixed 45 degrees) to provide counter-torque (which they do slightly more efficiently than a helicopter tail rotor) along with pitch and roll control. Here's how the control works... cont'd at IEEE Spectrum Follow up discussions: DIY Drones post and discussion. Hackernews post.

Harvest Automation Robots Space Over 40,000 Poinsettia Plants in Four Days

Harvest Automation robots are designed to work around the clock, they never need a break, and can handle the most tedious and repetitive work on a Nursery or Greenhouse operation with consistent accuracy and on-time performance.

Air Force Research Lab Uses TORC's Robotic Conversion Kits for Robotic Assault-Zone Survey Vehicle

TORC's unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) conversion kits, which maintain the ability for optionally manned operation, offer the proven capabilities and modularity necessary for AFRL to scale from one prototype to production quantity.

Highspeed Frame Capture Interface With MatLab

CoaXpress and MatLab integration offer options where previously none existed. The ability to have a controllable high speed camera at distances greater than 7m wasn't a possibility before, without the use of extenders and other potential hardware failures.

Complete videos from the IROS 2013 workshop: "Understanding Robotics and Public Opinion Workshop From IROS 2013" article with all videos or straight youtube playlist link .


littleBits : littleBits makes an opensource library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun. What is littleBits? from littleBits on Vimeo .

New Video of ACM-R5H Snake Robot

HiBot : The new ACM-R5H swimming in a new pool. It is fully customizable in its colors (fins and body) and in the electronics that may be fitted in the front and rear unit. The robot length can be also easily changed by adding or removing units, in this case it is a version of 6 active joints.

Fuelmatics Automatic Refueling System

The Future of Flying Robots

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International projects that the integration of UAVs would have an $82 billion economic impact on the economy by adding 100,000 jobs from 2015 to 2025.

The Savior Aerial Robot (Pars)

The Savior Aerial robot is designed in a way that it can quickly move towards drowning people by user guidance and activates its savior system. This system releases life tubes for the drowning ones.

3D Printing Helps German Manufacturer Seuffer Cut Tooling Costs for Prototype Parts by 97%

Companies worldwide are looking to introduce significant efficiencies to their manufacturing processes when introducing new products, and are discovering the many benefits of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.

S4A: Scratch modification for Arduino

S4A: Scratch for Arduino (S4A) is a modified version of Scratch , ready to interact with Arduino boards. Supported boards S4A works with Arduino Diecimila, Duemilanove and Uno. Other boards haven't been tested, but they may also work. Connectivity Components have to be connected in a particular way. S4A allows for 6 analog inputs (analog pins), 2 digital inputs (digital pins 2 and 3), 3 analog outputs (digital pins 5, 6 and 9), 3 digital outputs (pins 10, 11 and 13) and 4 special outputs to connect Parallax continuous rotation servomotors (digital pins 4, 7, 8 and 12). You can manage a board wirelessly by attaching an RF module to it, such as Xbee. S4A allows you to control as many boards as USB ports you have. Compatibility S4A is backwards compatible with Scratch, so you can open Scratch projects in it. However, you won't be able to share your projects on the Scratch community website because doing so goes against the Scratch terms of use. Take in account that this compatibility doesn't work both ways, so you won't be able to open an S4A project from within the original Scratch. Using a PicoBoard along with an Arduino board is also supported... cont'd

The Poppy Project

The Poppy Project : OPEN SOURCE Both software and hardware are available under an open source licence for academics, artists and geeks. EASY TO REPAIR AND DUPLICATE Poppy only uses off-the-shelf components (motors and electronics) and limbs that can be printed with regular 3D printing services. OPTIMIZED FOR BIPED LOCOMOTION Poppy’s body has a morphology modeling human skeleton: bended legs, multi-articulated trunk, soft body. This increases robustness, agility and stability during the walking. AFFORDABLE The overall materials needed to build your own Poppy robot costs around 7500€ ($10500, including motors, electronics and 3D printed parts). We hope the community will find ways to build and use even cheaper solutions.

Introducing UBR-1

Introducing UBR-1 from Unbounded Robotics on Vimeo .

UBR-1 Robot From Unbounded Robotics Revolutionizes Affordable Mobile Manipulation

Unbounded has been working in stealth mode for the past year, but our best guess was that they were developing a low-cost mobile manipulator for research and education: something like a PR2, except (we were hoping) significantly cheaper. Today, Unbounded is unveiling UBR-1, a shiny new human-scale one-armed robot designed to completely revolutionize the market for research and education robotics and beyond, for just a tiny fraction of the cost of similar platforms. UBR-1 is a 13-DoF mobile robot that includes a 7-DoF arm. It navigates with a laser scanner in its base, and uses a PrimeSense 3D sensor in its head for perception. Thanks to a torso lift, the robot can pick objects up off the floor, and put them onto tables and countertops. It's got a beefy computer in the torso, along with two big fat batteries that'll keep it running for up to 5 hours continuously, or up to 10 if it's not moving around too much, and you can get a charging dock so that you never have to plug it in. UBR-1 runs ROS, and comes out of the box with the ability to navigate and interact with objects. And (arguably) the most important spec of all is that UBR-1 starts at just $35,000, which is wicked cheap for a robot this capable.

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