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Neat way to learn Robotics

September 29th, 2017 No comments

From: https://www.roboterra.com/

Origin™ Robotics Kit & CastleRock

Looking for a fun and easy way to introduce STEM in your classroom? Our Origin Robotics Kit enables anyone to build real robots and program them. The kit includes metal parts, servos, LEDs and sensors, so kids can create robots that react to the environment around them.

Origin Robotics Kit includes access to our CastleRock programming software. Using CastleRock, kids will learn to code while they construct robots that spin, wave arms and flash LEDs. Students use C++ coding language to control their robots, providing a solid foundation to easily explore other languages and skills. Going beyond programming, CastleRock provides a set of tiered challenges that guides students through a planned, conversational curriculum. No previous technology experience is required!

Automatica

September 19th, 2017 No comments

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Robotic program helps students build STEM skills

September 11th, 2017 No comments

From: KPLC
Tuesday, September 5th 2017, 6:20 pm CDT
By Jolina Okazaki, Multimedia Journalis

KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) –
A STEM robotics program at Lee High School is allowing students to put their engineering skills to good use.

“It takes brainpower, you can’t just come up with it out of nowhere,” said Cristian Valeriano.

It brings science, math and technology to the next level.

“The nice thing about it is you step back and help them if they need help,” said Alan Pitkin, Career and Technical Education Teacher of STEM Robotics. “You want them to use their brain to think and problem solve. Say, ‘Hey Google something, see how something works, see how the real world is using it and implement it in your robot.”

Building a robot isn’t as easy as it looks. It takes brainstorming, teamwork, problem-solving, executing and trial-and-error.

“Building takes a lot of precision,” said Christian Martinez. “It’s really key to this. One small mishap can ruin the whole thing. Building takes a lot of hours. After school, we come, on weekends and in the summer.”

“When we first got started, it was grasping an idea,” said Valeriano. “First, it’s where to start. We make the wheels and build off from there. We need to pick up a ball, we need something to pick up a ball. It’s piece by piece.”

Every year, students in the program learn and prepare for a robotics competition towards the end of the year called First Robotics. It’s one of the biggest competitions where teams build robots and compete against each other and win scholarships. But it doesn’t come cheap and only a small portion of school funds are used with help from the MISD Education Foundation.

“When you have to go to regionals, like Georgia, it’s $12,000 to $15,000,” said Pitkin. “Houston is $5,000. It also depends on how many kids you take. Some of these kids haven’t been out of Midland. I give them the experience and see what the world is doing. Midland isn’t that far out and Midland can compete with anybody.”

The program has become successful thanks to the Midland Independent School District Education Foundation and its sponsors from SM Energy, the J Robert Jones Charitable Trust Foundation and Pioneer.

“They see a value in giving your money to the school for robotics,” said Pitkin. “It’s all being put to good use.”

But these funds are what get the gears turning for these students to become successful and inspire the next generation of engineers.

“It’s beneficial to learn now then get put out in the world and not know what to do,” said Valeriano.

“I want to go to A&M, which has a good engineering program as far as architecture,” said Martinez. “I feel like this will help me get there and achieve it.”

To help and sponsor the program, you can contact Jami Owen with the MISD Education Foundation here.

There will be a Phillip Phillips concert that will benefit the MISD Education Foundation this Saturday, Sept. 9, 8:00 p.m. at the Midland County Horseshoe Amphitheater.

Categories: Robot News, Teaching Technology Tags:

Boston Dynamics Ted Talk

August 13th, 2017 No comments

Just to show that not all Boston Dynamics demos go as badly as Atlas falling off the stage. Here is a Ted Talk showing off the ability of some of their robots:

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Watch ATLAS the Robot Autonomously Fall Off a Stage

August 8th, 2017 No comments

From: Gizmodo

ATLAS is an incredible machine. There’s no way around that. First unveiled in 2013, the humanoid robot can now walk around autonomously, move boxes around, and implicitly threaten to destroy humanity. This level of sophistication is exactly why it’s so damn funny when ATLAS fucks up.

Boston Dynamics, the company that builds this incredible robot, recently gave a presentation at the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders. It was a pretty normal dog-and-pony show for the company. ATLAS walked around the stage autonomously, while a human guided SpotMini the dogbot across the stage with a controller.

Everything was going great until it came time for ATLAS to exit the stage. Even though the robot had successfully pulled off the maneuver in rehearsal, ATLAS really ate it during the actual performance. By the looks of it, ATLAS caught his foot on a stage light and just went ass over elbows through the back curtain.

But again, how can we be mad at ATLAS? This robot is a true feat of human engineering and ingenuity. Armies of them might even fight wars for us one day. Which brings us back to that Terminator reference. We’re probably doomed to die at the feet of ATLAS in the inevitable robot uprising, so we might as well get our yuks in now.

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Salto-1P Is the Most Amazing Jumping Robot We’ve Ever Seen

July 18th, 2017 No comments

From IEEE Spectrum

By Evan Ackerman
Posted 29 Jun 2017 | 13:00 GMT

Last December, Duncan Haldane (whose research on incredibly agile bioinspired robots we’ve featured extensively in the past) ended up on the cover of the inaugural issue of Science Robotics with his jumping robot, Salto. Salto had impressive vertical jumping agility, and was able to jump from the ground onto a vertical surface, and then use that surface to change its direction with a second jump. It was very cool to watch, but the jumping was open-loop and planar, meaning that two jumps in a row was just about all that Salto could manage.

Haldane mentioned to us in December that future work on Salto could include chaining together multiple jumps, and in a paper just accepted to the 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), he and co-author Justin Yim at UC Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, led by Professor Ronald Fearing, show the improvements that they’ve made over the last six months. Thanks to some mechanical fine-tuning and the clever addition of a pair of thrusters, the new Salto-1P is jumping longer, faster, and higher than ever. Prepare to be amazed.

We’ve seen other jumping robots over the years, but Salto-1P takes the cake. Watch this:

Salto is short for “Saltatorial Locomotion on Terrain Obstacles,” a reference to saltatorial animals, which are adapted to locomotion by jumping. Kangaroos and rabbits are a few saltatorial animals that you’re probably familiar with, but Salto was particularly inspired by the galago, or bushbaby, which has a vertical jumping agility that no other animal can match. The galago is able to manage this thanks to a rather clever bit of leg design which uses variable mechanical advantage, leveraging the shape of their leg to amplify the force that their muscles can deliver. For all the details on the jumping ability of the original Salto (and how it’s different from other jumping robots), be sure and read our very in-depth article about it, because this article is focused on the new and upgraded Salto-1P.

The original Salto was able to control its pitch through the use of a rotating inertial tail: By spinning the tail one way, the robot could pitch itself in the other direction. This worked very well, but only in one plane, which made Salto difficult to control. Salto-1P is, according to Haldane, essentially “Salto with half of a mini-quadrotor glued to it.”

Those two little thrusters are able to control Salto-1P’s yaw and roll: When they’re thrusting in different directions, the robot yaws, and when they both thrust in the same direction, the robot rolls. Combined with the tail, that means Salto-1P (which only ways 98 grams) can stabilize and control itself in three dimensions, even in mid-air, which is what allows it to chain together so many jumps. Other hardware modifications include a deeper crouch than the original Salto, which allows more energy to be transferred from the jumping motor into the spring, giving it the highest vertical jumping agility of any battery powered robot at 1.83 m/s.

Haldane says one issue that came when they redesigned the leg mechanism to allow the robot to jump higher is that, as he puts it, “Salto lost its friendly and forgiving nature.” The robot would occasionally “fire pieces of itself across the room when the motor tore the leg-mechanism apart.” They had to do revise the design to keep everything in one piece. The video below is a compilation of Salto-1P’s “little acts of self-destruction”:

The software that Salto-1P is running to make all of this work is an adaptation of Marc Raibert’s hopping controller from 1984. Raibert’s 3D One-Leg Hopper weighed 170 times more than Salto-1P, and can’t jump nearly as high, but fundamentally the algorithm works just as well on Salto as it did on Raibert’s hopper more than 30 years ago. However, controlling Salto-1P involves some unique challenges, because the robot spends so little time on the ground. In fact, 92 percent of the time, the robot is in the air, which means that you really have to control it in the air, which is why the tail and thrusters are necessary (as opposed to control through the leg and foot).

This results in enormous accelerations (on the order of 14 g’s), and to put this in context, Haldane compares Salto-1P to a cheetah: The robot has “a lower duty cycle than a single cheetah limb at top speed,” he says, adding: “Imagine a cheetah running at top speed using only one leg, and then cut the amount of time that leg spends on the ground in half. That’s the duty factor of Salto-1P.”
“Imagine a cheetah running at top speed using only one leg, and then cut the amount of time that leg spends on the ground in half. That’s the duty factor of Salto-1P.” —Duncan Haldane, UC Berkeley

It’s important to note that when you see Salto-1P bouncing around in the video, it’s doing so untethered, but not completely autonomously: There’s a bunch of stuff going on in the background to get it to perform the way it does. The path it follows relies on motion capture, with an offboard computer (though not a particularly powerful one) receiving tracking data and wirelessly sending control commands to the robot.

“Motion capture is an easy way to track the robot that freed us up to work more on the robot mechanics,” co-author Justin Yim explains. “It’s also useful for gathering performance data since we can very closely track Salto-1P throughout its hopping.” It’s also worth noting that Salto-1P isn’t doing a lot of sensing on its own, and it’s still able to handle all those obstacles at the end of the video, which is impressive.

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Watch “Tonight Showbotics: Snakebot, Sophia, eMotion Butterflies” on YouTube

May 30th, 2017 No comments

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Article: This Robot Completes a 2-Hour Brain Surgery Procedure in Just 2.5 Minutes

May 7th, 2017 No comments

This Robot Completes a 2-Hour Brain Surgery Procedure in Just 2.5 Minutes

http://flip.it/–f32R

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National Robotics Week!

April 8th, 2017 No comments

Its National Robotics week! https://www.nationalroboticsweek.org/

Categories: Memphis Robotics, Robot News Tags:

SRI’s Pioneering Mobile Robot Shakey Honored as IEEE Milestone – IEEE Spectrum

February 28th, 2017 No comments
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