Showing posts from 2015

2016 will be a pivotal year for social robots

1,000 Peppers are selling each month from a big-dollar venture between SoftBank, Alibaba and Foxconn; Jibo just raised another $16 million as it prepares to deliver 7,500+ units in Mar/Apr of 2016; and Buddy, Rokid, Sota and many others are poised to deliver similar forms of social robots. These new robots, and the proliferation of mobile robot butlers, guides and kiosks, promise to recognize your voice and face and help you plan your calendar, provide reminders, take pictures of special moments, text, call and videoconference, order fast food, keep watch on your house or office, read recipes, play games, read emotions and interact accordingly, and the list goes on. They are attempting to be analogous to a sharp administrative assistant that knows your schedule, contacts and interests and engages with you about them, helping you stay informed, connected and active. According to a research study by Tractica, annual shipments of consumer robots, a category that includes robotic vacuums…

Smartphone is Getting more smart with Gas sensors

Smartphone is Getting more smartNew things are gonna come in the smartphones. Now smartphones can sense Gases like CO2, ethanol, or nearly any other noxious gas with there new gas sensor( CCS811).  
the very top layer of the chip has a metal-oxide layer (such as tin-oxide for VOCs) with gold contacts beneath it that measure the resistance of the metal oxide. Underneath the gold interconnections is the tiny hot plate that heats the whole assembly, thereby changing the resistance of the top layer in direct proportion to the gas coming in the package (through a hole).
The newest digital version then uses a Silicon Labs 8051 microcontroller to measure the resistance between the gold electrodes and buffer its changes in real time. When it passes a given level, an alarm interrupt is sent to the application processor in the smartphone (or the application processor polls the 8051 periodically to empty its buffer and draw a parts-per-million--PPM--graph of air quality, for instance, …

Do Surgical Robots Need a Second Opinion?

What was it that Ben Franklin said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A recent paper, Robotic Surgery & The Law in the USA—A Critique, indicates that manufacturers of robotic surgical tools, a sizeable swath of the U.S. medical establishment and government officials seem to prefer the pound of cure. RBR50 company Intuitive Surgical‘s new da Vinci Xi just won the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), paving the way for the company to start selling it.  More than a decade previous, 2000, the FDA similarly approved Intuitive’s very first da Vinci; the company has since racked up some 1.5M robotic surgeries with its robots. However, as Sulbha Sankhla, author of Robotic Surgery & The Law in the USA—A Critique, points out: “Years after the FDA first approved the da Vinci, there is still no industry standard for training and credentialing of doctors to use the robot, beyond a basic course by the manufacturer.” It seems rather odd that the woman wh…

Autonomous mobile additive manufacturing robot runs circles around traditional 3D printers

3D printing is revolutionizing the way objects are created, from plastic toys to ceramic dental crowns. But the seemingly boundless possibilities of 3D printing technology have one major limitation—the printers themselves, which are large, bulky, and stationary. Robert Flitsch didn’t like being constrained by the boxy shape of the 3D printer he used while he was a student at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. So this mechanical engineering concentrator developed a wheeled additive manufacturing machine that can literally run (or drive) circles around a traditional 3D printer. He recently launched a startup named Addibots (a portmanteau of additive manufacturing and robots), to develop and market his mobile 3D printing robots. “By making the additive manufacturing components completely mobile, you break free of all the workspace limitations of 3D printing,” Flitsch said. “But Addibots also greatly opens the field to many new application spaces for a…

Canny Robot Rocks Out to Audio Programming

When we think about programming a robot, we focus on the part about writing code for the robot; we don’t pay much attention to the task of sending the code from our computers to the robot. To do that, we rely on things like WiFi or Bluetooth, or maybe USB or Ethernet cables, along with their specific software interfaces. And that’s fine, for now, but what about five years from now? Or 10 years from now? Fifty years? What are the odds that any of the things that we use to talk to our robots will still exist? To put it another way: what are the odds of being able to interact with a piece of 50-year-old technology (or even 10-year-old technology) as sophisticated as a robot? Adam Kumpf, who did robotics at MIT a while ago and now does other cool stuff, is worried about this kind of obsolescence, so he took a stab at solving the problem with Canny. Canny is a very simple proof of concept robot that doesn’t depend on a depreciable communication interface, because you can transmit instruct…

ROBORACE – The First Global Autonomous Car Racing Championship

The creators of Formula E along with the tech-investment group Kinetic have announced the first global autonomous car racing championship, theROBORACE, which will start in 2016. The Formula E is a class of auto racing that is using only electric-powered cars. Like the Formula E, the ROBORACE will feature 10 different teams, each with two electric-powered cars but with a twist; they will be completely autonomous. The cars will compete in one-hour races designed to test artificial intelligence. All the cars will be the same, which means it’s up to the software that each team will develop for the race, to make a difference. Formula E Racing Car “ROBORACE is a celebration of revolutionary technology and innovation that humanity has achieved in that area so far. In terms of technology we’re trying to make them better than humans. So it means we expect the cars will have high acceleration and high speeds,” said Denis Sverdlov, founder of Kinetic. The development of all the vehicles taking …

The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 11/30/15

At the Center for the Study of the Drone This fall season has been a busy one for the drone industry, and, for some a very lucrative one. The past few months have seen a spike in the sale of military unmanned systems, especially U.S. technologies that were previously restricted for export, while the commercial industry has seen a number of bold moves from startups and established industry leaders alike as market competition heats up. Here’s what you need to know. News A U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan reportedly killed Khan Sayed, a commander of a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban. The strike took place in Khost Province, near the border with Pakistan. At least 12 other militants are believed to have been killed in the strike. (New York Times) Switzerland concluded a deal with Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems to purchase an unspecified number of Hermes 900 drones, a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. The $200 million deal will be fulfill…

How to calculate a robot’s forward kinematics in 5 easy steps

Calculating the forward kinematics is often a vital first step to using a new robot in research. While there are some good tutorials available online, up until now there hasn’t been a simple step-by-step guide for calculating forward kinematics. In this post, we provide a simple guide along with some tips on calculating the kinematics of any robotic manipulator. Calculating kinematics is a cornerstone skill for robotics engineers.  Kinematics can sometimes be a pain, however, being told to “go and calculate the Forward Kinematics” is almost robotics research shorthand for “go and get familiar with this robot”. It’s the vital first step when using any new robot in research, particularly for manipulators. Even though I had learned the theory of kinematics in university, it wasn’t until I had calculated various kinematic solutions for a few real research robots that the whole process started to feel intuitive. Even then, because I was not calculating kinematics every day I had to go bac…

Robots at #ERW2015: From imagination to market

Bridging the gap between cutting-edge research in academia and the vibrant robotics startup ecosystem is no easy task. This Wednesday in the UK city of Bristol, a free public event titled “From Imagination to Market” — the centre piece of European Robotics Week 2015 — took on that challenge by bringing together leading innovators, researchers, startups and strategists. Below are the key moments and insights from the event. Organised by euRobotics AISBL (which represents robotics stakeholders in Europe) and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL — one of the largest facilities of its kind in Europe), this event was packed insight, stories and advice. The day kicked off with an introduction to robots in science fiction by Michael Szollosy and a look at the field of RoboLaw by Andrea Bertolini, before taking a deep dive into the BRL’s state-of-the art research on swarms, human-robot interaction and soft robotics. Then we heard from up-and-coming startups Open Bionics and Reach Robotics, w…


Mining for resources hidden under the surface of the earth has never been a job devoid of hazards. You can start with the fact the it’s under the earth, and there’s no natural light, and the spaces can get tiny so it’s clearly not a job even for the mildly claustrophobic. Then there’s the danger of cave-ins that do happen even with all the modern marvels that we have access to thanks to advances in structural engineering. When it comes to coal mining, however, the danger is several times greater due to added danger of highly flammable gases in certain parts. Other than the Japanese using them for what basically amounts to some amusing (robotic pets), and some disconcerting (robots that look like creepy versions of children or grown women, etc) toys, the use of robotic technology has almost overwhelmingly been either to go where man hasn’t or cannot go, or in some other cases to augment human ability to do what was hitherto very difficult. We have robotic rover vehicles landing on the…