Winner of the AAAI Video Competition People's Choice Award

Mario Lives! An Adaptive Learning AI Approach for Generating a Living and Conversing Mario Agent: Also Robohub has links to the rest of AAAI videos here .

Robots Explore Dangerous Mines with Novel Sensor Fusion Technology

The 3D Riegl scanning laser range finder and an Acumine 2D scanning millimeter wave radar were transported on Husky and used to record video footage and densely sampled data sets. The data is being submitted to the International Journal of Robotics Research to ensure that this insight and information is available to the robotics community.

SAM Robotic Surrogate Operator

From AkihabaraNews and Robohub: Conceptually, it’s quite simple: joysticks, knobs, and switches manipulated on a custom radio controller direct the flexing and relaxing of pneumatic “artificial muscles” arranged along “arms and legs” that attach to a vehicle’s pedals and levers. When actuated, the robot replicates a human body’s controlling movements. Kowa Tech claims the system delivers input strength equal to that of human limbs and an overall operational capability 80% that of in-vehicle operation (with gains expected as the system matures). The 3-piece modular robot is weather and vibration-proof, weighs only about 30 kg (66 lbs.), easily installs in under 30 minutes, and can be removed in half that time. Current prototypes are operable from up to 200m, and commercial models are expected to reach 1 kilometer. Rounded out with video monitoring for an in-vehicle perspective, in theory ActiveRobo SAM is a near-comprehensive surrogate operator. Most of their demos and testing have thus far been limited to excavator and other heavy equipment work, but the company hopes to eventually make the system adaptable to any vehicle... ( full article )

The Industrial Automation Exchange

New online tool connects manufacturers with industrial automation expertise, products

Anibit Online Graphical Programmer for the Pololu 3pi Robot

From Anibit: We have adapted a graphical programming environment for the Arduino known as "Blocklyduino" to be tailored to Pololu's 3Pi Robot Platform. Blocklyduino is itself an adaptation of Blockly, a software package for developers to create graphical programming environments. All of this is heavily inspired by Scratch and the MIT App inventor. If you are not familiar with those tools and watch to teach kids about programming, you really should check the out. Graphical Programming is a great introduction to programming for kids. and the Pololu 3Pi is a low cost, ready-made robot that kids love. As part part of our mission at Anibit to inspire and educate about robotics, we felt the need to bring the two together... ( Anibit link )

My 2015 Predictions: Big Deployments, Big Ideas and Big Problems Solved

I see three exciting and significant trends taking place right now that I think will begin to gain some very real traction in 2015.

3-D Human Tissue Printing

The bioprinting revolution could eventually begin to deliver "tissue on demand." This might not be the cure-all; but for many patients, it might prove to be life-changing.

DARPA Reveals Upgrades To Its Atlas Robot

From DARPA: The teams using the DARPA-developed Atlas robot got their first look at the newly upgraded system during a technical shakeout the week of January 12th in Waltham, Mass. The upgraded Atlas is 75 percent new—only the lower legs and feet were carried over from the original design. Lighter materials allowed for inclusion of a battery and a new pump system with only a modest increase in overall weight; the upgraded robot is 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters) and weighs 345 pounds (156.5 kilograms). The most significant changes are to the robot’s power supply and pump. Atlas will now carry an onboard 3.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, with the potential for one hour of “mixed mission” operation that includes walking, standing, use of tools, and other movements. This will drive a new variable-pressure pump that allows for more efficient operation... ( full details )

Upcoming Tradeshow, Conference & Exhibition Summary
March, April & May 2015

Automate 2015 gets going in March and the once every 2 year Tradeshow is perhaps the biggest and most important Manufacturing show in North America.

Novice Art Blogger

From Novice Art Blogger: I'm experiencing Art for the first time, here are my responses. I try my best to decode abstract art using state-of-the-art  deep learning algorithms.  I sometimes  see things hidden in noise.  By  M P-F (much more)

Why I Automate: Manufacturer Finds Promising Gains with Automation

Job loss was on everyone's mind. Results showed that the opposite took place. Higher quality led to more orders and an increase in the number of jobs.

Voxel8: 3D Electronics Printing

Voxel8 announces its dual-head printer that prints thermoplastics and highly conductive silver inks together.


From Nvidia's CES press conference: The DRIVE PX platform is based on the NVIDIA® Tegra® X1 processor, enabling smarter, more sophisticated advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and paving the way for the autonomous car.  Tegra X1 delivers an astonishing 1.3 gigapixels/second throughput – enough to handle 12 two-Megapixel cameras at frame rates up to 60 fps for some cameras. It is equipped with 10 GB of DRAM memory and combines surround Computer Vision (CV) technology, extensive deep learning training, and over-the-air updates to transform how cars see, think, and learn. DEEP LEARNING COMPUTER VISION Conventional ADAS technology today can detect some objects, do basic classification, alert the driver, and in some cases, stop the vehicle. DRIVE PX takes this to the next level with the ability to differentiate an ambulance from a delivery truck or a parked car from one about to pull into traffic. The system can now inform the driver, not just get their attention with a warning. The car is not just sensing, but interpreting what is taking place around it—an essential capability for auto-piloted driving...  ( more info )

VERSABALL Beer Pong Robot

From Empire Robotics: The VERSABALL is a squishy balloon membrane full of loose sub-millimeter particles. The soft ball gripper easily conforms around a wide range of target object shapes and sizes. Using a process known as “granular jamming”, air is quickly sucked out of the ball, which vacuum-packs the particles and hardens the gripper around the object to hold and lift it. The object releases when the ball is re-inflated. VERSABALL comes in multiple head shapes and sizes that use the same pneumatic base... ( Empire Robotics' site )

Four Robotics Related Kickstarters For January

EVB: Replace the brain of your LEGO® EV3 with BeagleBone / X PlusOne: Your Ultimate Hover + Speed Aerial Camera Drone / The ProtoCam+: An easy way to build projects and prototypes around your Raspberry Pi Camera Module with your A+ and B+ Raspberry Pi / Tektyte: LogIT Specialised Circuit Testers

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Since Robotmaster V7 uses integrated CAD/CAM functionality, for the first time, the power of Robotmaster can be used by welding, cutting and other process experts without buying or learning complex CAD/CAM software. As in past versions, Robotmaster V7 imports paths, but now makes it even easier for end users to leverage any CAD/CAM tool choice. It is an intuitive tool that anyone could use, with or without robotics expertise. It bridges the gap between robots and manufacturing by providing easy programming solutions for part manufacturing.