Robot Learning Manipulation Action Plans by "Watching" Unconstrained Videos from the World Wide Web

From Yezhou Yang, Yi Li, Cornelia Fermuller and Yiannis Aloimonos: In order to advance action generation and creation in robots beyond simple learned schemas we need computational tools that allow us to automatically interpret and represent human actions. This paper presents a system that learns manipulation action plans by processing unconstrained videos from the World Wide Web. Its goal is to robustly generate the sequence of atomic actions of seen longer actions in video in order to acquire knowledge for robots. The lower level of the system consists of two convolutional neural network (CNN) based recognition modules, one for classifying the hand grasp type and the other for object recognition. The higher level is a probabilistic manipulation action grammar based parsing module that aims at generating visual sentences for robot manipulation. The list of the grasping types. Experiments conducted on a publicly available unconstrained video dataset show that the system is able to learn manipulation actions by “watching” unconstrained videos with high accuracy.... ( article at ) ( original paper )

2014 Robotics In A Word: "MORE"

The list of top stories in robotics for 2014 is a story of "MORE": MORE uses of and for robots; MORE serious discussions about robots; MORE robots in unusual places; MORE news in the financial press; MORE funding, acquisitions and IPOs; and MORE choices.

Double Delta And Triple Delta Arms

From Aad van der Geest (and Gizmag): More pictures here .

Intuitive Robot Programming for Flexible Aerospace Manufacturing

Robots are proving to be flexible tools for aircraft manufacturing and assembly. Their full potential however can be limited by the challenges of programming a robot in a CAD/CAM environment. Software that integrates offline programming, simulation, code generation, and path optimization makes the process seamless and error-free.

World's First Robotic Entertainment On The High Seas For Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Robotic Arts and ABB Robotics join forces to debut groundbreaking RoboScreen® entertainment system.

John Carmack On Modern C++

Winter break homework from John Carmack. Gamasutra reprint article "In-depth: Functional programming in C++": A large fraction of the flaws in software development are due to programmers not fully understanding all the possible states their code may execute in. In a multithreaded environment, the lack of understanding and the resulting problems are greatly amplified, almost to the point of panic if you are paying attention. Programming in a functional style makes the state presented to your code explicit, which makes it much easier to reason about, and, in a completely pure system, makes thread race conditions impossible... ( full article ) Also "Lessons to learn from Oculus development team when using the “Modern C++” approach": Modern C++ doesn’t imply necessarly the overuse of templates Andrei Alexandrescu says about the Modern C++ design: "Modern C++ Design defines and systematically uses generic components - highly flexible design artifacts that are mixable and matchable to obtain rich behaviors with a small, orthogonal body of code." Modern C++ has a close relation with generic programming; probably it’s the reason that makes many developers neglect the modern C++ approach. They think that the code will be mostly implemented as templates, which makes the code difficult to read and maintain. In the SDK, the templates represent only 20% of all types defined and most of them are related to the technical layer... ( full article )

Underactuated Rotor For Simple Micro Air Vehicles

From MODLAB (The modular robotics laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania): We derive thrust, roll, and pitch authority from a single propeller and single motor through an underactuated mechanism embedded in the rotor itself. This allows new types of conventionally-capable micro air vehicles which only require two motors for practical control. This contrasts with the many servos and linkages of conventional helicopters or the many drive motors found in quadrotors... ( cont'd )

Robotic Farming For The Future

If you think about the global population growth and the need to feed this mounting population, farmers must become more efficient at the harvesting and production of all crops. In the future, robots will be utilized to accomplish most tasks, from seeding to fertilizing as well as chemical application.

Interview with David Sands, ST Robotics International

We call our robots entry level for a very good reason. People can get started so easily with our robots. They are not the best robot arms on the planet but they are affordable and incredibly easy to use.

Using Reverse Engineering Techniques for Product Innovation: The Legitimate Way

The goal of utilizing RE should be to identify flaws in your version of the product design and figuring out ways to eliminate the errors and bring out a flawless product eventually.

iRobot Create 2 Programmable Robot

From iRobot ($199 US): Create 2 is a mobile robot platform built from remanufactured Roomba robots and designed for use by educators, developers and high-school and college-age students. Program or build your own projects or start with our sample projects provided online. Create 2 is ready to go, right out of the box, so there is no need to assemble the drive system or worry about low-level code. Other Create 2 features include: Serial cable sends commands from a computer or other microcontroller to the robot Preprogrammed behaviors can be controlled via Open Interface Commands Built-in sensors allow the robot to react to its environment Drill template on faceplate shows safe drilling areas. Removing the faceplate exposes the serial port. Robot returns to Home Base to dock and recharge. Rechargeable battery charges in three hours. Compatible with Roomba 600 Series accessories including batteries, Home Base®, remote control and Virtual Wall® What are some of the things I can do with iRobot Create 2? Program movements, sounds and the LED display, as well as read all of the robot's onboard sensors Add an external computer or microcontroller with additional sensors and actuators to transform Create into exactly the robot you want. Add a camera to build your own camera bot! Use our 3D printable file to create a storage bin and ensure your additional electronics are safely housed within the robot's chassis... ( details )

Ozobot, Knightscope, Hibot and Airware all get funded

Toward the Dream of a Baseball Android

From Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory: We have been developing robotic systems that individually achieve fundamental actions of baseball, such as throwing, tracking of the ball, batting, running, and catching. We achieved these tasks by controlling high-speed robots based on real-time visual feedback from high-speed cameras. Before integrating these abilities into one robot, we here summarize the technical elements of each task... ( site )

A Robot's View of the World

For the Harvest Automation engineering team to get an accurate view of what the robot is seeing, we've constructed a tool that we call Mindprobe which collects all the sensor data, interprets it and displays this in a graphical form.

How 4 Mexican Immigrant Kids and Their Cheap Robot Beat MIT

From Wired: Ten years ago, WIRED contributing editor Joshua Davis wrote a story about four high school students in Phoenix, Arizona—three of them undocumented immigrants from Mexico—beating MIT in an underwater robot competition. That story, La Vida Robot, has a new chapter: Spare Parts, starring George Lopez and Carlos PenaVega, opens in January, and Davis is publishing abook by the same title updating the kids’ story. To mark that occasion, WIRED is republishing his original story... ( full article )

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