From Recode: Google is shelling out $400 million to buy a secretive artificial intelligence company called DeepMind. Google confirmed the deal after Re/code inquired about it, but declined to specify a price. Based in London, DeepMind was founded by games prodigy and neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, along with Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman... cont'd Additionally, a recently published paper by DeepMind entitled Playing Atari with Deep Reinforcement Learning .
From the Prosthesis projects Indiegogo campaign : Prosthesis: the world's 1st, human controlled racing robot. Formula 1, meet the future. Let the races begin. We are trying to save the future for the humans. With the relentless and unchecked automation of everything we do, we are trying to remind people that technology was invented to improve our quality of life, and that doesn't always mean just doing everything for you. Sometimes that means doing something really, really challenging. Sometimes that means taking on something that many have dreamed of, but no one has dared try before. Like building and learning to pilot a two story tall, 3500kg walking machine that you use your whole body to control, without computers to help you.... cont'd at homepage and Indiegogo .
Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Youtube Channel :
NASA : NASA engineers are developing climbing legs for the International Space Station's robotic crew member Robonaut 2 (R2), marking another milestone in space humanoid robotics. The legless R2, currently attached to a support post, is undergoing experimental trials with astronauts aboard the orbiting laboratory. Since its arrival at the station in February 2011, R2 has performed a series of tasks to demonstrate its functionality in microgravity. These new legs, funded by NASA's Human Exploration and Operations and Space Technology mission directorates, will provide R2 the mobility it needs to help with regular and repetitive tasks inside and outside the space station. The goal is to free up the crew for more critical work, including scientific research.
From Parrot :
From the Rex Kickstarter : Why do you want Rex? There are two general classes of electronics used in robot hardware: microcontrollers (ex. Arduino) and single-board computers. Microcontrollers are great for projects that only require a single program to be run, quickly and without overhead, like controlling LEDs and motors. Single-board computers are great for anything you'd need a cheap, small computer for - like networking applications and image processing. Advanced autonomous robots require the strengths of both. A system developed around Rex, being made specifically for robots, brings it all together in one nice little package in a way that has never been done before. Hardware Specs: Texas Instruments DM3730 1GHz 32-bit ARM Cortex-A8 Processor core 800MHz DSP core 512MB LPDDR RAM USB Host port MicroSD slot Camera Module port 3.5mm Audio-in jack 3.5mm Audio-out jack 5V DC input for desktop development Each Rex will come pre-installed with Alphalem OS, a FOSS custom linux distribution. It includes a core set of built-in device drivers - ones that we've hand-picked as being the most useful for robots (like USB WiFi adapters and cameras). We'll publish the list in a wiki on our website. Here are the other main features: An Arduino-style programming environment with support for multiple programming languages (C, C++, Python). A special task manager called the Master Control Program (MCP). An API for message passing in multi-process applications. A standard Linux filesystem which will allow you to install just about any Linux software that can be cross-compiled for ARM. Libraries for common processes such as I2C communication, face detection, and sensor reading.
The DRC Trials are happening today and tomorrow (December 20-21, 2013) at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Teams will attempt to guide their robots through eight individual, physical tasks that test mobility, manipulation, dexterity, perception, and operator control mechanisms; You can watch the live stream here.
New York Times: Over the last half-year, Google has quietly acquired seven technology companies in an effort to create a new generation of robots. And the engineer heading the effort is Andy Rubin, the man who built Google’s Android software into the world’s dominant force in smartphones.... ( full article )
From Ali Osman Ulusoy, Octavian Biris, Joseph Mundy of Brown University: This paper presents a probabilistic volumetric frame- work for image based modeling of general dynamic 3-d scenes. The framework is targeted towards high quality modeling of complex scenes evolving over thousands of frames. Extensive storage and computational resources are required in processing large scale space-time (4-d) data. Existing methods typically store separate 3-d models at each time step and do not address such limitations. A novel 4-d representation is proposed that adaptively subdivides in space and time to explain the appearance of 3-d dynamic surfaces. This representation is shown to achieve compres- sion of 4-d data and provide efficient spatio-temporal pro- cessing. Theadvancesoftheproposedframeworkisdemon- strated on standard datasets using free-viewpoint video and 3-d tracking applications.... ( full paper )
From Navic209's youtube channel: Inspired by the Baxter robot, this arm can be trained to move with your own hands. Once the train button is pressed, you move the arm and gripper as needed while the Arduino stores the positions in EEPROM. After that the arm will replay the motion as needed. Youtube channel Source on Github Additional projects
According to AllThingsD Apple is in the process of buying PrimeSense. PrimeSense is the company that developed and licensed the hardware and chip design used in the original Kinect. This could have an effect on several low cost depth cameras including the ASUS Xtion which uses PrimeSense hardware or the $200 developer camera sold directly from PrimeSense . Their online store is still open but who know for how long.
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.
Complete videos from the IROS 2013 workshop: "Understanding Robotics and Public Opinion Workshop From IROS 2013"
Robohub.org 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 .
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.
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