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James Bond Theme Song via Quadrotors

Posted 5 Mar 2012 at 04:06 UTC by The Swirling Brain



University of Pennsylvania's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab has a cool video of Quadrotor robotic copters playing various instruments to the tune of the James Bond Theme Song! To accomplish this the quadrotors have little reflectors and room has infrared lights and cameras to track their movements. The tracking information is then relayed wirelessly back to the quadrotors to help time and position them. So in essence the entire room and the quadrotors are the robot. Enjoy the video!
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Commercial Robotics

Restoration Robotics tops VC funding for 2011

Posted 2 Mar 2012 at 17:26 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

Restoration Robotics logo

Hizook has been tracking VC investment in robotics firms for about two years, and has a list of the top companies for 2011, as determined by the scale of the capital infusions they've received. Topping the list, at $43 Million (US), is Restoration Robotics, which makes robots that automate the process of hair follicle harvesting for use in hair transplantation. (Currently implantation is still done manually.)

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Robots

DARPA's ARM program shows progress

Posted 2 Mar 2012 at 06:20 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

DARPA's Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program is developing software to perform human-level tasks quickly and with minimal direction. The robotic arm in the video was built from commercial components and performs the tasks shown using vision, force, and tactile sensing, without active human control.

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Video

TED talk: Robots that fly ... and cooperate by Vijay Kumar

Posted 1 Mar 2012 at 21:59 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast



In one of the most impressive TED talks, Professor Vijay Kumar from GRASP Lab of University of Pennsylvania explains the dynamics of flying quadcopters robots. He show some of the already viral videos produced by the lab and explains some of the math that make them possible concluding with an extraordinary musical performance! - via DIYdrones.

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Competitions

"Robot Survival Game"

Posted 29 Feb 2012 at 12:49 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast


The ‘Robot Survival Game’ is a non-destructive robot fighting competition that started 2 years ago in Japan and a few days ago took place for the 10th time. It involves biped, multi-legged, tracked or wheeled robots (or any combination of sorts) that compete in a several scenarios (similar to team games like paintball) ex ‘eliminating’ each other, reach a flag etc. The robots are usually remotely controlled via a camera and the operators may be nearby or even in another city. They also have a toy gun for fighting but they ‘destroy’ each other in a very clever simulated way. Each robot carries a small container made from fragile aluminum foil. A light sensor inside the container is kept in the dark unless a bullet from an opponent punches a hole in it. Then the light sensor detects it and it acts as a kill switch and the robot is ‘dead’. It is a smart way of keeping the entertainment (and the drama!) high without destroying the actual robot. You can find much more information and a lot more videos at IKETOMU’s blog.

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Interviews

Robots: Self-Organizing Systems

Posted 24 Feb 2012 at 17:45 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast


In the new episode of ROBOTS we focus on self-organizing systems in modular and swarm robotics. Our guest is Radhika Nagpal, director of the Self-Organizing Systems Research Group at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.


To learn more read on or tune in!

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Video

Snow circles, filmed by a drone

Posted 23 Feb 2012 at 15:11 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast


This image is not cgi or a miniature; it is a real mountain slope where artist Sonja Hinrichsen created this beautiful pattern simply by walking in circles. The robotic perspective of this concept is the way the photos and the video were shot, not by a helicopter but by a small (but quite expensive) octocopter by video production company steamboat aerials. The Cinestar8 costs around 10k $ but it can carry the ~400gr camera while being stable enough to produce this result. The video is similar to that of a hugely expensive helicopter shot or even better considering the lack of downwash a helicopter creates. This video is already very popular but almost no-one cares how it was shot, most people focus on the art-concept (reasonably so), maybe drone filming is starting to become quite mainstream. You can enjoy the full scale of it at this video on vimeo and you can find high-resolution aerial images here.

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Video

RB3D Hercule robotic exosceleton

Posted 21 Feb 2012 at 14:10 UTC (updated 21 Feb 2012 at 14:21 UTC) by IKE_RobotsPodcast


Hercule is the name of this robotic exoskeleton developed by RB3D, a French engineering company, under the steering and funding of DGA, the French ministry of defense. Hercule doesn’t need any special training or knowledge skills, the person that wears it just performs his or her usual tasks and the exoskeleton provides the additional support and strength. It is electrically powered (unlike some other similar concepts that used 2 stroke internal combustion engines) and its battery life is about 20km at a moving speed of km/h (a regular walking pace) with the capacity of carrying 100kg. It can be used by the military (silent operation will be quite important) but civilian applications are equally important. Fire fighting, construction, logistics and even medical applications are possible. You can find more on this pdf brochure (2nd page in English) and in this article (in French). (via Innorobo)

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Hardware

A Unique Pop-up Origami Fabrication of Micro Robots

Posted 17 Feb 2012 at 15:29 UTC by The Swirling Brain



Harvard's Microrobotics Lab has created a new Pop-up Origami style of fabrication for their winged microbots. A carrier is first made out of several layers of carbon fiber, brass, and thin flexible plastic. Then, using fabrication techniques such as laser etching, a design forms and then it is popped into place in sort of a pop-up book and Origami fashion. The robot is then tack soldered to lock the design into place and then laser cut and removed from the carrier material. The Mobee or Monolithic Bee is a very tiny robot at about the size of a Quarter. The video shows this unique assembly process and the finalized Mobee's wings being tested at 1Hz and 30Hz. A must-see very impressive manufacture of winged microbots!
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Video

Ryan Calo of Stanford Law School on personal robotics

Posted 16 Feb 2012 at 22:22 UTC (updated 16 Feb 2012 at 22:36 UTC) by IKE_RobotsPodcast


Ryan Calo talks about personal robotics and their effect on society in two short videos produced by James Temple. Ryan Calo is the director of privacy and robotics at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society and expert in robots and the law, subject which he actively blogs and tweets about. He was interviewed on Robots Podcast in 2010.

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