If you believe that the robotics industry is ready for you to invest in, you wouldn't purchase either Boeing or John Deere -- they aren't representative of the industry and their stocks move to the beat of a different drummer than robotics. Instead, you would pick from a list of pure play robotic stocks (if such a list existed).
The advances in genetics, brain research, artificial intelligence, bionics and nanotechnology are converging to accomplish the goal of overcoming human limitations and create higher forms of artificial intelligent life. By 2035, the robotics industry could rival the automobile and computer industries in both sales and jobs.
The first step in automating a process with a robot is to determine whether the tasks to be performed will require a four-axis SCARA or six-axis articulated robot, and what type and size of end effector, or end-of-arm tooling (EOAT), is needed.
Whether the search is for treasure, new medical cures, oil, underwater life, or deep-sea life, the underwater robots will take the lead in our journey for knowledge and riches.
The controller is built inside the mechanism eliminating the need for external controller cabinets or external harnessing. This reduces floor space requirements and cost. The only external cabling necessary is a standard AC power cord, reducing the cost of cable management.
Willow Garage just posted Youtube videos of all the presentations at this years ROSCon. 11+ hours of great robotic content: Day One Opening Remarks ( 10mins ) [youtube] Day One Keynote: ROS: Past, present, and future ( 66mins ) [part 1] [part 2] URDF and You ( 44mins ) [youtube] [slides] Motion Planning in ROS ( 44mins ) [youtube] Introduction to rosjava ( 39mins ) [youtube] [slides] The Gazebo Simulator as a Development Tool in ROS ( 46mins ) [youtube] [slides] Using ROS on Field Robotic Experiments in Remote Locations ( 20mins ) [youtube] ROS for Humanoid Robots ( 23mins ) [youtube] [slides] “Moe” The Autonomous Lawnmower ( 18mins ) [youtube] [slides] Lightning Talks ( 46mins ) [youtube] Day Two Opening Remarks ( 2mins ) [youtube] Day Two Keynote: Architecting Real-time Control of Robonaut 2 using ROS and Orocos ( 56mins ) [youtube] Understanding tf ( 38mins ) [youtube] The current state and future of multi-master, multi-robot systems using ROS ( 35mins ) [youtube] Writing Hardware Drivers ( 40mins ) [youtube] [slides] Understanding the Kinect ( 42mins ) [youtube] ROS on Windows ( 19mins ) [youtube] The ROS wiki how to make the best use of it ( 19mins ) [youtube] Measuring and Tracking Code Quality in ROS ( 22mins ) [youtube] Teaching Robotics with ROS: Experiences, Suggestions, and Tales of Woe ( 20mins ) [youtube] Robot Web Applications ( 22mins ) [youtube] Using Open Sound Control Hardware and Software with ROS ( 13mins ) [youtube] Closing Remarks ( 4mins ) [youtube]
IEEE Spectrum has info about a new autonomous lawnmower from the German company Bosch. Seems the only official info available at the moment is a Swedish press release but it appears the mower communicates with its docking station (and maybe GPS) allowing the unit to cut areas in ordered parallel lines rather than the chaotic back and forth paths you see from other sensor based robotic lawnmowers or vacuums. You will still have to install wire around the perimeter so the robot stay on the grass. The battery lasts 20 minutes per charge and resumes where it left of after a 90 minute charge.
The Fluid Mechanics Laboratory and the Swartz Lab at Brown University are in development of a biological inspired bat robot platform that aims to reproduce the amazing maneuverability of these flying mammals. Bats exhibit extraordinary flight capabilities that arise by virtue of a variety of unique mechanical features. These flying mammals have developed powerful muscles that provide the folding and extension of their wing-membrane during flight (morphing). The maneuverability is achieved by reproducing the flapping and morphing capabilities of their wing-skeleton structure. This structure is composed by several joints and a membrane that generates the required lift forces to fly. Each wing has 4 degrees of freedom: the shoulder has two, the elbow joint is actuated by Migamotors SMA-muscles, and the wrist is an under-actuated joint that moves as a function of the elbow. The robot morphology is alike in proportion compared to the biological counterpart (half the size): total wingspan: 50cm, humerus length: 5.5cm, and radius: 7cm. The total weight of the skeleton is 34g (including both wings). The morphing actuation mechanism attached to the humerus bone is based on smart muscles that provide elbow rotation. More info can be found on their research site here .
As the demand for human-like robots grows, the Uncanny Valley phenomenon will impact robot manufacturers and developers more and more. With populations aging in countries as diverse as China and the United Sates, roboticists will increasingly focus on social robots. They will ignore the Uncanny Valley at their own risk.
Smart Cameras Provide Additional Benefits to Auto ID Applications
Coupled with computers and software, plenoptic cameras can enable a robot to better navigate its environment with less confusion and work autonomously. Robotic sensors, using light filed technology, match up to the human sense of sight, serving as a robots eyes, allowing the robot to get around in its surroundings.
Exceptional image quality, including the ability to transport this high-bandwidth video in real time, is absolutely essential to protecting our war fighters, as well as civilians who may be in harms way.
ROSCon 2012 was held in St. Paul, Minnesota over the weekend. Willow Garage was showing off a prototype refresh of the TurtleBot. The biggest change is that the iRobot Create bases are being replaced by a new base designed by the South Korean company Yujin Robot. They are calling the new base Kobuki and it has a number of upgrades from the Create base. Changes include an odometry system, integrated gyroscope, large batteries, and access to all the hardware through a panel at the back of the base. Kobuki will also have the ability to use a self-charging dock that can feed power to both the base and the attached laptop make 24/7 operation possible. The Kobuki official site.
Honda Motor Co. unveiled the new UNI-CUB personal mobility device. UNI-CUB features Honda's proprietary balance control technology and the world's first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System). The technology thrown into the making of UNI-CUB comes from Honda's research into the ASIMO robot. The UNI-CUB allows the rider to control speed, move in any direction, turn and stop, all simply by shifting his or her weight. Since the rider can freely move forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally. Starting in June 2012, Honda will jointly conduct demonstration testing of UNI-CUB with Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
Working at extreme ocean depths presents a myriad of problems, which will still take years to overcome. To be truly successful, AUVs will have to be totally autonomous and free moving without the restraints of tethers. As we use up our resources on land, the oceans are the next frontier. The most important question is "How will ocean mining effect the environment?"
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