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Santa in Flight Training with CISR Robot Arm

Posted 21 Dec 2011 at 16:28 UTC by steve

It's the time of year when Santa needs to train for his annual flight and it appears Saint Nick saw our recent posting on CISR's Haptically-Enabled Universal Motion Simulator (UMS). Fortunately, the roboticists at CISR were feeling in the Christmas spirit and agreed to help Santa get into shape. Kyle Nelson writes,

In preparation for Christmas this year Santa has made the trip down-under for some flight training! Santa tested his skills on the new CISR Haptically-Enabled Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) to make sure that he can deliver all of his presents on time this Christmas Eve. We have a feeling Santa's reindeer will be flying super-fast this year, hope you've been good!

For a little more info on Santa's surprise collaboration with Australian robot engineers, see the CISR new release.

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Commercial Robotics

Robots Podcast #93: Turning Robots into Products

Posted 19 Dec 2011 at 02:23 UTC (updated 19 Dec 2011 at 02:29 UTC) by John_RobotsPodcast

photo of Erin RapackiIn Robots Podcast episode #93, Sabine interviews Erin Rapacki, who previously worked at DEKA, iRobot, and Anybots, and is currently Product Marketing Manager for Mobile Robots at Adept Technology. In the interview, she argues that robotics research should be more driven by real-world problems in need of marketable solutions, and that they should take advantage of available platforms, such as those available from Adept, rather than continually reinventing the mobility aspect of their projects. She also discusses the prospects for cloud robotics and states that many of the missing pieces roboticists have been waiting on have arrived, mentioning faster processors, tablet computers, and the Kinect. Ms. Rapacki recently authored a guest post on the IEEE Spectrum Automaton blog, titled "Dear Reader, I Have News for You: Robots Are Boring" in which she states:

What we need from robotics companies and roboticists everywhere are more boring robots: Robots that would be most appreciated when they complete a task in a manner that is smooth and economical; robots that investors and companies can trust building business models around.
As you might surmise from this snippet, "boring", as she uses it in that post, means approximately the same thing as the FDA's "safe and effective". And while it might sound like doublespeak, in most circumstances boring is good.
Read On or Tune In
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2011 Top 10 Robot Christmas Gift Ideas

Posted 16 Dec 2011 at 02:16 UTC by steve

The holidays are here and it's time once again to count down the top 10 Christmas ideas for robot geeks! There's so much fun and interesting robot stuff out there, it's hard to choose. To help narrow things down, we've settled on a "buy local" theme this year. So we'll be paying special attention to products that are made by individuals and small companies within the robotics community. As for the final selection and order of our list, if you've been reading robots.net for a few years, you know the drill. It's thoroughly unscientific. Robots.net founding editors, steve, Rog-a-Matic, and The Swirling Brain put their heads together and come up with whatever crazy robot gift ideas strike their fancy. The Top 10 are presented in ascending order of geeky awesomeness as determined by the dart board of collaborative subjectiveness. Ready? Click the read more link to get started!

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MorpHex: From Sphere to Hexapod and Back

Posted 14 Dec 2011 at 21:15 UTC by steve

Robot builder Kåre Halvorsen (aka Zenta) has released a new video of his MorpHex robot. This is a hexapod robot with a spherical shell. The sphere is divided into an upper and lower hemisphere, each of which are broken into six smaller segments. The lower six shell pieces act as legs when the robot is moving. All twelve segments can be retracted to form a sphere. In addition to the video, check out the Zenta Robotic Creation blog for lots of photos during the construction.

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Aldebaran introduces new Nao

Posted 11 Dec 2011 at 05:00 UTC (updated 11 Dec 2011 at 05:24 UTC) by John_RobotsPodcast

A new version of the Nao is ready, and eager to make your acquaintance.

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Review: Apocalyptic AI by Robert M. Geraci

Posted 8 Dec 2011 at 22:24 UTC by steve

Get ready for the four robots of the apocalypse as we review a book that should be close to the hearts of robots.net readers - because you actually helped research it: Robert M. Geraci's "Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality". Geraci, a professor of religion and researcher of all things eschatological, notes that,

"excepting rapture theologians of fundamentalist Christianity, popular science authors in robotics and artificial intelligence have become the most influential spokespeople for apocalyptic theology in the Western World."

You heard that right, roboticists and AI researchers have risen to second place when it comes to who we think of when the topic is apocalyptic theology. And with fundamentalists blowing two more apocalyptic predictions since the book was published, who knows, we may be number 1 now. But how can robots and AI be theology? Read on for a full review of Geraci's book.

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Commercial Robotics

Giant Robot Arm Becomes Motion Simulator

Posted 7 Dec 2011 at 16:57 UTC by steve

Kyle Nelson, of the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research at Deakin University in Australia, wrote to tell us about a motion simulator they're developing that's based on a giant robot arm.

"The CISR haptically-enabled Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) is a state-of-the-art platform for dynamic training and performance analysis. The platform is built on integrated COTS technologies, including a customised anthropomorphic industrial robot, 3D visualisation immersive displays (HMD) and a motion capture and tracking system. A 6 DOF serial kinematic robot permits two axes of continuous rotation, realistic g-force acceleration, same size turning radius independent of motion direction and reduced motion sickness. The UMS overcomes the limitations of current motion technology, by introducing a flexible, modular, high-fidelity motion system that can be used for a variety of dynamic, immersive training applications."

Read on for more video and details about the system.

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The Sound of Robot Hands Clapping

Posted 5 Dec 2011 at 19:28 UTC by steve

The Swirling Brain noticed an io9 post from a while back with some cool (or creepy perhaps) disembodied humanoid robot arms. They are known as the Ondz clapping robots and were created by Masato Takahashi of Keio University. His goal was to make "multipurpose hand-clapping machines" that would sound like authentic human applause, though other purposes ranging from telepresence clapping to spanking machines have been suggested. Read on to see more video of the clapping robots in action.

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Henrik Christensen on the U.S. Robotics Roadmap

Posted 4 Dec 2011 at 18:33 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

Henrik Christensen with KUKA industrial robot

In episode #92, Robots Podcast interviews Henrik Christensen, the KUKA Chair of Robotics at the College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, and director of the Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines. Professor Christensen has played a leading role in the initiative to create a roadmap for robotics research in the United States, and to keep that roadmap up to date. That roadmap is the primary subject of this interview.
Read On or Tune In

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Random Robot Roundup

Posted 2 Dec 2011 at 22:22 UTC by steve

Dan from Future-Bot writes to let us know about his ATOM-7xp humanoid project, "next to the PETMAN it's the only full size humanoid going on in the USA". IEEE Spectrum published a nice retrospective on John McCarthy, the man who created LISP and was credited with coining the phrase "artificial intelligence". Our friends over at IEET have published an amusing poll showing the level of support for the Occupy movement among AI and singularity people. The Brain Mysteries blog notes a new study showing the high correlation of functional areas in the human brain with mice and other mammal brains, indicating a common conservation mechanism in evolution. And, speaking of brains, the Conscious Entities blog suggests a new way of looking at consciousness - maybe consciousness the output of a brain, not part of the processing. Know any other robot news, gossip, or amazing facts we should report? Send 'em our way please. And don't forget to follow us on twitter.

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