Watch this modified PhantomX Hexapod get brutalized by scientists, adapt, and get back up and moving in no time! This is an amazing example of clever programming allowing a robot to adapt like an animal. There is an obvious advantage in field use for robots with the ability to respond intelligently to injury, and this is a wonderful specimen to pay attention to.
The roboticists at UC Berkeley are really ramping up their game with a very clever robot named BRETT (Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks). BRETT has been challenged with the task of understanding and folding various bits of laundry. What seems like a very simple task is actually quite problematic from the viewpoint of a robot. The team at UC Berkeley have focused primarily on the tasks that robots are currently limited in their understanding of. It’s easy for a human to determine the difference between a towel and a sock in a pile of laundry, but that is a major stumbling block for a robot at this time. To fold a towel, it takes a human a couple seconds. We inherently understand that the material of the towel is not solid, it drapes and crumples up. A robot does not have the ability to sense these things, and has to jump through extra hoops to reach a workable understanding of the material. In this case, BRETT finds the corners of the towel, and solves an easier problem. This is still a time consuming process, taking between 11-20 minutes, assuming a sock didn’t throw off the reading. Very interesting work, and it is worthwhile to see the team pushing past the current limitations of robotics!
The roboticists at UC Berkeley are working the design of a robotic exoskeleton with a low price point. There are other robotic exoskeletons in existence right now, HULC being developed for the military in the United States, and Cyberdyne’s HAL being leased to the elderly for medical purposes in Japan, but each of these projects is met with the limitation of access, typically due to price point and lack of availability. This is a hefty task, but worthwhile, as you can see in the video. Giving the ability to walk back to those who have lost it is an amazing and noble goal, and the future of robotics augmenting human ability looks bright.
UC Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab is up to something interesting! VelociRoach and H2Bird are a robot team that works together to take flight! There are so many angles to look at this work from, whether it be the fact that they are mimicking the biology of cockroaches and birds, using sensors to determine the proper velocity and angle at which to launch the robot bird, or the fact that these robots are working as a team to accomplish the task of flight. There is a distinct advantage to using two separate robots to handle the task of liftoff, being that the cockroach handles all the necessary movement to lift off, and the robotic bird doesn’t carry the extra weight that would be necessary if locomotion was integrated into its design. Specialization of these tasks allows greater capability for the robotic team, which is pretty amazing.
Real Robots Live is a project in its infancy, looking for input before launching their crowdfunding campaign. It would be awesome to see the Trossen Robotics Community take a creative opportunity and give some feedback on this project. User lewisRRL states:
Just wanted to make you all aware of a new project, and gather your ideas.
The project is called Real Robots Live and will make it possible to log onto a live robot over the internet and drive it around a remote arena.
You’ll have full control over the robot via the software and will be able to see the camera images that stream from the robot’s perspective. It’s a high res, low latency feed on the robots and around the arena.
Lots of these robots will be playing in the same arena – a real life online multiplayer game!
We want robots to be able to construct structures, destroy them using weapons and interact with the arena (opening doors,etc.).
Once online, we want to setup RealRobotsLiveTV so everyone can watch live events.
This is a call for ideas. This is a game with the real world as it’s engine. What would you like to see in this?
In 2-3 months we are aiming to crowdfund the project.
If you’d like to put your two cents in the hat, join the discussion!
Samsung ARTIK is a series of Arduino compatible boards, similar to Intel Edison in its stated goals, but with an end-to-end support system that should keep your projects rolling through the learning curve. There are 3 boards, all of them with tiny footprints, low power consumption, and features aplenty. If you’re interested in getting onboard early, consider applying for their Alpha Developer Program. Application deadline is May 31st.
Trossen Robotics is backing CHIP – The World’s First Nine Dollar Computer, for its potential to increase the accessibility of smart, powerful robotics projects to students and roboticists of all ages and levels of expertise. This kickstarter broke a million dollars in the first few days, with a goal of only 50k! The C.H.I.P. is a small form factor, single board computer, much like the Raspberry Pi. It is similarly featured, but diverges in a few important aspects. It has onboard storage of 4GB, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth communications, and a smaller footprint, afforded by the optional VGA and HDMI adapters. There are 23 days left to back this project, so strike while the iron is hot!
ATRIAS, built by the Oregon State University’s Dynamic Robotics Laboratory, directed by Dr. Jonathan Hurst, is an awesome bipedal robot. ATRIAS is capable of balancing itself on changing terrain, rolling hills, and even while being pelted by dodgeballs! This robot is clever, and we wish the team lots of luck at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in Pomona, CA on June 5-6, 2015.