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)
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
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 .