13 Truths about "Smart Cameras"

Clearly there are a range of issues with "smart cameras." However, one may still be right for you - either today or even into the future. Yet, at this point you should be keenly aware of their various shortcomings - clear of advertising bias - to make an educated decision.

Aspect Automation and Universal Robots

No software expertise needed. The robot comes with a touch screen teach pendant as the main method of programming. In teach mode, the robot can be manually moved about its workspace to be taught positions for the program.

New DARPA's Pet-Proto Video

In this video, the Pet-Proto, a predecessor to DARPA's Atlas robot, is confronted with obstacles similar to those robots might face in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). To maneuver over and around the obstacles, the robot exercises capabilities including autonomous decision-making, dismounted mobility and dexterity. The DARPA Robotics Challenge will test these and other capabilities in a series of tasks that will simulate conditions in a dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environment. Teams participating in Tracks B and C of the DRC will compete for access to a modified version of the Atlas robot for use in the 2013 and 2014 live disaster-response challenge events.

Last Nights Robot Hall of Fame Inducts NAO, PackBot, BigDog and WALL-E

The Robot Hall of Fame® inducted four robots chosen for the first time by a popular vote — Aldebaran Robotics' NAO humanoid, iRobot's PackBot bomb disposal robot, Boston Dynamics' four-legged BigDog and WALL-E, the fictional robot of the namesake Pixar movie — during a ceremony tonight at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. "More than any previous class of inductees, this group of robots selected by popular vote represents contemporary robotics — robots at the cutting edge of technology — rather than older robots of strictly historical importance," said Shirley Saldamarco, Robot Hall of Fame director and a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. "Two of our inductees, NAO and Packbot, are commercially available and BigDog is still the focus of active research. Even our fictional honoree, WALL-E, is from a movie that's just four years old." More than 17,000 people across every continent except Antarctica participated in the online vote in August and September. The 12 nominees on this year's ballot were chosen by a group of 107 robotics experts, industry leaders and aficionados selected by the Robot Hall of Fame (RHOF). The RHOF, created in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University, recognizes excellence in robotics technology. It honors both the fictional robots that inspire innovation and the real robots that embody it. In 2009, it was integrated into Carnegie Science Center's roboworld™ exhibit. The new inductees were elected in four categories: Education & Consumer; Entertainment; Industrial & Service; and Research. NAO was inducted in the Education & Consumer category. An autonomous, programmable, humanoid robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics in 2006, the 22-inch-tall robot is used as an education platform and in the RoboCup robot soccer Standard Platform League. Other nominees in this category were iRobot's CREATE and the VEX Robotics Design System. In the Entertainment category, voters chose WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class), the lovable star of the 2008 Disney/Pixar blockbuster by the same name. In the movie, WALL-E inadvertently embarks on a space journey that ultimately decides the fate of mankind. Other nominees in this category were Rosie the maid from the cartoon series "The Jetsons" and Johnny 5 from the 1986 movie "Short Circuit." PackBot won in the Industrial & Service category. Created by iRobot, PackBot is one of the most successful battle-tested robots in the world. It performs bomb disposal and other dangerous missions for troops and first responders. More than 4,500 units are currently on station in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was one of the first robots to enter the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant after the 2011 tsunami. The other nominees were Kiva Systems' autonomous warehouse robots and the Jason submersible from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Finally, BigDog was recognized in the Research category. This dynamically stable quadruped robot was created in 2005 by Boston Dynamics. It can traverse difficult terrain and run at 4 miles an hour while carrying 340 pounds and climbing a 35-degree incline. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has sponsored its development as a robotic pack mule to accompany soldiers in terrain too tough for conventional vehicles. Other nominees were Willow Garage's two-armed PR2 mobile robot and NASA's Robonaut.

TurtleBot 2 Available For Preorder

What's new with Turtlebot 2.0? Improved Performance The new and improved Turtlebot includes a factory calibrated gyro with far better performance at low rotation speeds and encoders with 1000x better resolution.  The result is a low-cost mobile robot with impressive position and velocity feedback to enhance your autonomy, navigation and mapping. Power-ups! The new Turtlebot has many new power features to improve user experience.  We’ve included a 19V laptop power output to keep your laptop charged longer, we’ve added more user power connectors to power more sensors, and we’ve even added an extended life battery upgrade to maximize your uptime.  Coming Soon - A docking station is in the works to enable auto-charge and 24/7 autonomy! Now Shipping Worldwide One of the biggest limitations of the old Turtlebot was that it was not RoHS compliant, meaning that we were unable to ship to certain countries.  We are very pleased to announce that the new TurtleBot is 100% RoHS compliant and ready to ship worldwide.  Now Turtlebot’s only language barrier is a binary serial protocol. Available at Clearpath Robotics for $1,149.00 and shipping December 1st.

A Robotic Wheelchair Able To Climb Steps

A demo of Chiba Institute of Technology's wheel chair concept: "If a sensor detects a step, the robot calculates whether it can lift that leg. It can't raise its wheels right away, so the steering system at the rear makes preparatory motions to gain stability. When the wheels can be raised stably, the robot lifts its legs."

Distribution Centers: An Emerging Robotics Frontier

This article originated as a profile of one company as they began to robotically augment distribution centers. But, as I gathered information, the story has morphed into a review of why Kiva Systems' innovative methods - the goods-to-man methodology - is far superior to other older styles of fulfillment.

Introductory To The Element Robotics Development Platform

Fast robotics development using the Element Robotics Development Platform and the .NET framework.

Interview with David Sands of ST Robotics

Users who have never programmed anything at all before can set up our robot, type their first command and immediately see a result without requiring an integrator or consultant to install and program the robot. Additionally ST Robotics follows up with unlimited technical support.

IROS 2012 Videos

Robot locomotion with continuum limbs (courtesy of IEEE Spectrum):   RoboBee (courtesy of Harvard University and IEEE Spectrum):   Robot builds ramp by randomly flinging 3,600 toothpicks (courtesy of IEEE Spectrum):   People tracking on RGB-D people dataset (courtesy of IASLABResearch):

IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

This week the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems is taking place Vila Moura, Algarve, Portugal. We'll be posting all the big news as it comes. The full IROS2012 schedule is available here .

Espresso Book Machine

The Espresso Book Machine makes a perfect-bound paperback book virtually identical to the publisher’s original in a matter of minutes. The user chooses a digital file via the EspressNet software system, either at the physical EBM, or remotely via the Internet (users can also bring their own files in person: on CD’s, flash drives, etc.). The EBM uses PDF files for the book block and the cover. A high-speed Xerox 4112 Copier/Printer prints the pages of the book – the book block. The printer uses standard US letter-size (8.5” x 11”) or A4 paper stock. A high-speed Xerox 4112 Copier/Printer prints the pages of the book – the book block. The printer uses standard US letter-size (8.5” x 11”) or A4 paper stock. A rotating wheel applies a thin layer of heat-activated glue over the milled edge. The clamp then moves the book block down to the cover, which waits on the binding table. The EBM uses special pneumatics and clamps to press the cover against the spine and around the book block. This produces a traditional “perfect-bound” book.

Magneto-Inductive Communication: Interview with Steve Parsons, Ultra Electronics

To validate and demonstrate our Through-the-Earth capability, we developed a full-duplex MI Modem (MIM-1000) and installed it on a Pioneer 3-AT R&D robot. Initial field trials were carried out at an abandoned coal mine in Nova Scotia, Canada, where we successfully demonstrated the robot - we call her "Maggie" - being driven and maneuvered remotely by an operator located on the mine's surface with Maggie located in an underground mine shaft separated by over 100 feet of geological overburden.

Cars Are The New UGVs

Will today's developers of military UGVs be tomorrow's manufacturers of autonomous civilian cars? Probably not. However, it is clear that the technologies developed for one will be adapted for another.

Interview With Martin Buehler, Vice President of Logistics Solutions, Vecna Medical

Hospitals, clinics, providers and other end users should engage with the robot vendor closely and early on as a partner. Among other things, this allows both parties to identify the highest value applications, some of which may not have been apparent at the outset.

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Industrial Robotics - Featured Product

Festo - Complete Mechatronics Motion Solutions

Festo - Complete Mechatronics Motion Solutions

Mechatronic Motion Solutions from Festo is a unique system of components, modules, and software. It integrates all types of pneumatic, servopneumatic and (electro)mechanical automation motion and combines them according to your task. Irrespective of the control system environment you use, Mechatronic Motion Solutions always provides the appropriate interfaces. The fingers can be actively moved and their strength amplified; the operator's hand movements are registered and transmitted to the robotic hand in real time. The objectives are to enhance the strength and endurance of the human hand, to extend humans' scope of action and to secure them an independent lifestyle even at an advanced age.