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How to keep drones flying when a motor fails

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Robotics researchers at the University of Zurich show how onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably – even without GPS. As anxious passengers are often reassured, commercial aircrafts can easily continue to fly even if one of the engines stops working. But for drones with four propellers – also known as quadcopters – the failure of one motor is a bigger problem. With only three rotors working, the drone loses stability and inevitably crashes unless an emergency control strategy sets in. Researchers at the University of Zurich and the Delft University of Technology have now found a solution to this problem: They show that information from onboard cameras can be used to stabilize the drone and keep it flying autonomously after one rotor suddenly gives out.


IEEE RAS Soft Robotics Podcast with Hod Lipson: Can we design self-aware robots?

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Can they design other robots and self-repair? Why should we evolve robots to do tasks that animals do so well? Why don't we have useful autonomous robots in the real world yet? Find out Hod's answers to these questions and updates on VoxCAD development for designing and simulation of soft robots in this episode of the IEEE RAS Soft Robotics Podcast. What's more, Hod gave his personal advice to roboticists being interviewed for an assistant professorship and to 1st-year robotics PhD students looking for a thesis topic, and he also commented on his approach to the ethical dilemma of military funding scientific research.


Women in Robotics Update: Melonee Wise, Maren Bennewitz, Alicia Casals

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Introducing the seventh post in our new series of Women in Robotics Updates, featuring Melonee Wise, Maren Bennewitz and Alicia Casals and from our first "25 women in robotics you need to know about" list in 2014. These women have pioneered foundational research in robotics, created organizations of impact, and inspired the next generations of robotics researchers, of all ages. There are 180 more stories on our 2013 to 2020 lists. Why not nominate someone for inclusion next year! And we encourage #womeninrobotics and women who'd like to work in robotics to join our professional network at http://womeninrobotics.org


Science Magazine robot videos 2020

Robohub

Did you manage to watch all the holiday robot videos of 2020? If you did but are still hungry for more, I have prepared this compilation of Science Magazine videos featuring robotics research that were released during last year. What if the folding wings of beetles could help robots navigate narrow places by not being affected by crashes? You can read a bit more here, and see the research article here. Researchers developed an iron-based spray that sticks to surfaces like origami paper or cotton thread, and turns objects into tiny robots that could be maneuvered inside our bodies for future biomedical applications.


The Year Of The SPAC And What It Means For Hardware

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CBS MarketWatch declared 2020: The Year of the SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation). A record 219 companies went public through this fundraising vehicle that uses a reverse merger with an existing private business to create a publicly-listed entity. This accounted for more than $73 billion dollars of investment, providing private equity startups a new outlet to raise capital and provide shareholder liquidity. According to Goldman Sachs, the current trends represents a "year-over-year jump of 462% and outpacing traditional IPOs by $6 billion." In response to the interest in SPACs, the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed last week to allow private companies to raise capital through direct listings, providing even more access to the public markets outside of Wall Street's traditional institutional gatekeepers.


Women in Robotics Update: Ecem Tuglan, Tuong Anh Ens, Sravanthi Kanchi, Kajal Gada, Dimitra Gkatzia

Robohub

Welcome to the first of our Women in Robotics Spotlights, where we share stories from women who haven't yet been featured in our Annual Showcase but who are working on all sorts of interesting projects. We hope these stories provide inspiration to everyone to join us working in the field of robotics. And if you're a woman working in robotics, why not contribute your story too! "Making robots communicate with humans in natural language is a fascinating challenge. There is a lot going on during interactions between robots and humans. Humans make gestures, observe or interact with visible objects in the environment, and display emotions. What motivates me is equipping social robots with the ability to interact seamlessly, by recognizing a given situation and talking about it" says Dimitra Gkatzia who specializes in Natural Language Generation for Human-Robot Interaction.


James Bruton focus series #3: Virtual Reality combat with a real robot

Robohub

It's Saturday, it's the turn of another post of the James Bruton focus series, and it's Boxing Day in the UK and most of the Commonwealth countries. Even if this holiday has nothing to do with boxing, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to take it literally and bring you a project in which James teamed up with final year degree students in Computer Games Technology at Portsmouth University to build a robot that fights a human in a Virtual Reality (VR) game. For this project, the students Michael (Coding & VR Hardware), Stephen (Character Design & Animation), George (Environment Art) and Boyan (Character Design & Animation) designed a VR combat game in which you fight another character. James' addition was to design a real robot that fights the player, so that when they get hit in the game, they also get hit in real life by the robot. The robot and the player's costume are tracked using Vive trackers so the VR system knows where to position each of them in the 3D virtual environment.


Holiday robot videos 2020

Robohub

Thanks to all those that sent us their holiday videos. It's been a tough year for everyone. We hope these videos make these holidays a bit more special. Did we miss your video? We wish you the very best for these holidays and the year 2021!


Carlotta Berry's talk – Robotics Education to Robotics Research (with video)

Robohub

A few days ago, Robotics Today hosted an online seminar with Professor Carlotta Berry from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. In her talk, Carlotta presented the multidisciplinary benefits of robotics in engineering education. In is worth highlighting that Carlotta Berry is one of the 30 women in robotics you need to know about in 2020. I will describe how it is used at a primarily undergraduate institution to encourage robotics education and research. There will be a review of how robotics is used in several courses to illustrate engineering design concepts as well as controls, artificial intelligence, human-robot interaction, and software development.


Women in Robotics Update: Ruzena Bajcsy and Radhika Nagpal

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Introducing the sixth post in our new series of Women in Robotics Updates, featuring Ruzena Bajcsy and Radhika Nagpal from our first "25 women in robotics you need to know about" list in 2013 and 2014. These women have pioneered foundational research in robotics, created organizations of impact, and inspired the next generations of robotics researchers, of all ages. "Being an engineer at heart, I really always looked at how technology can help people? That was my model with robots, and in fact, my research in the medical area as well as how can we make things not just empirical, but predictable, " says Ruzena Bajcsy, expressing the motivation that guides her in both medicine and robotics. There are 180 more stories on our 2013 to 2020 lists.