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Military Robotics

Upgraded Reaper can fly 42 Hours

Posted 22 Apr 2012 at 17:52 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

General Atomics MQ-9

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has announced the near-term availability of a trio of field retrofits for the Predator B (MQ-9 Reaper) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Taken together, these enhancements increase the endurance of the Reaper from 27 to 42 hours, or, without the extended wings, from 27 to 37 hours. The upgrades consist of stronger landing gear, underwing fuel pods, and longer wings that take the wingspan to 88 feet. (via Danger Room)

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Aquatic Robotics

Knifefish: UUV minehunter for LCS shps

Posted 22 Apr 2012 at 16:45 UTC (updated 22 Apr 2012 at 16:47 UTC) by John_RobotsPodcast

Knifefish UUV

At last week's Sea-Air-Space Exposition, sponsored by the Navy League, General Dynamics showed it's Knifefish Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (SMCM UUV), intended to be incorporated into the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) mine countermeasures mission package. The 20 ft., 3000 pound submersible will prowl for 16 hours at a time, to detect and identify mines in high-clutter underwater environments without putting sailors in harm’s way, including mines that are suspended in the ocean, resting on the sea floor or buried. The Knifefish will help alleviate what's seen as a deficiency in the LCS's collection of capabilities. UUVs have been integral to the Navy's planning process for some time, as evidenced by the now declassified 2004 report The Navy Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) Master Plan.

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Robots Podcast #102: Steve Cousins & Roland Siegwart

Posted 20 Apr 2012 at 16:46 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

composite photo of Steve Cousins and Roland Siegwart

In Robots Podcast #102 (April 20th, 2012), continuing with interviews recorded in February at SCHUNK ExpertDays, Amanda talks with Steve Cousins, CEO of Willow Garage, and Roland Siegwart, Vice President of Research and Corporate Relations and director of the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich. Both talk about the challenges of going to market with the products of research.

Read On or Tune In

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Call for participation: DARPA Robotics Grand Challenge

Posted 20 Apr 2012 at 00:50 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast

If you are even remotely interested in robotics you should be aware of the new DARPA Robotics Challenge competition that aims to push the boundaries of rescue robots and especially humanoids.
Davide Faconti and Icarus Technology are setting up a team in order to compete at the top-level “Track A” part of the competition where the participants create both the software and the hardware platform for the challenge. The task is quite ambitious but the team is very experienced having already a range of operational humanoid robots.
Also an interesting aspect is the goal to make both the software and the hardware open source.
Currently there is an open call for participation towards everyone with the skills to be a part of such a project. It is a great opportunity for roboticist to participate at DARPA’s Robotics Challenge! You can find more information here

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Q.bo Uses Object Recognition on Mirror Image

Posted 19 Apr 2012 at 16:33 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

Q.bo learning to recognize his own reflection.

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Seven Videos from Festo

Posted 19 Apr 2012 at 15:51 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

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Mobot by Barobo - low cost modular robot

Posted 19 Apr 2012 at 01:06 UTC (updated 19 Apr 2012 at 01:11 UTC) by IKE_RobotsPodcast

This is the Mobot, a low cost modular robot made by Barobo. Every module has wheels at each end and two hinges at its center. It can be combined with others easily with a simple snap connector and it can be programmed and configured with a graphic UI or directly with C/C++. The modules can perform complicated tasks, like walking, crawling, grabbing objects and more. They are available for pre-order and they will cost $270 each.
Barobo is a company founded by Harry Cheng, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis and his former graduate student, Graham Ryland, in 2011. They developed the technology and patents for this project which is now licensed to Barobo by the University. The company recently received a National Science Foundation small business innovation research Phase I grant of $150,000. You can find more information at Flexibility Envelope, UC Davis and of course Barobo.com .

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Magnetic Resonance Power Transfer

Posted 18 Apr 2012 at 16:01 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

(Via Hizook) Dr. Carrick Detweiler, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and co-director of the NIMBUS Lab, has provided Hizook with advance access to a paper titled Resonant Wireless Power Transfer to Ground Sensors from a UAV and the above video, to be present next month at ICRA 2012. Travis Deyle of Hizook works with wirelessly-powered sensors at his day job and has previously published an article on wirelessly powering robot swarms.

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Robotic Assistant for Prison Guards

Posted 17 Apr 2012 at 17:22 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

If you believe that machines are destined to become our overlords, this is likely to send a chill up your spine.

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Sandia Shrinks Neutron Generator

Posted 17 Apr 2012 at 16:50 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have radically shrunk the size and cost of neutron generators, opening the possibility of many new applications. The new design is flat, like a computer chip, and occupies so little space that it may be used as an implant, in cancer therapy.

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